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WestMont: Mixed-Use Development Coming To Montrose


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10 hours ago, kennyc05 said:

Isn't gonna fall within the TOD ordinance?

9 hours ago, j_cuevas713 said:

Yes because Westheimer is a TOD street if I'm not mistaken. 

It's not 😒 Only the future BRT line stations are included, not the 82. Yes I am salty about this. Yes I harangued the city about how silly this was when they were discussing TOD. My gut says if they asked for any sort of variance to implement TOD standards then it would probably be granted, but Livable Places was initially talking about expanding some TOD-style relaxations based on access to BOOST bus lines and some other things, so this will fall into that eventually. Additionally, TOD is still opt-in, so Skanska wouldn't have to adopt it. 

lioOPAo.png

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1 hour ago, wilcal said:

It's not 😒 Only the future BRT line stations are included, not the 82. Yes I am salty about this. Yes I harangued the city about how silly this was when they were discussing TOD. My gut says if they asked for any sort of variance to implement TOD standards then it would probably be granted, but Livable Places was initially talking about expanding some TOD-style relaxations based on access to BOOST bus lines and some other things, so this will fall into that eventually. Additionally, TOD is still opt-in, so Skanska wouldn't have to adopt it. 

lioOPAo.png

What effect, if any, will being part of a TOD have on residential property values in those areas?

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16 hours ago, j_cuevas713 said:

In terms of size and big city vibe, Houston is really on it's own in TX. For all of it's mishaps and mistakes, this city boasts some of the most urban, densest, eclectic neighborhoods in the entire state. The presence of architecture firms this large and well known is something I feel a lot of us are forgetting or taking for granted. It's firms like these that basically put a city on the map at a much greater level in terms of being a "cool, socially accepted city." Whatever get's developed here is going to have a massive impact. 

I agree. Austin and Dallas were always going to get attention first because even though they are in Texas, the ethos of both of those cities is very similar to what exists in any other city. This is where our lack of restrictions will separate us from the pack, and if outside firms start building in Houston, and really explore this that will be very attractive, just it was for the big boys in Modernism, and the early days of Post-Modernism. Houston is a wide, eclectic, and interesting playground with a lot of potential. People just need to understand that Houston is its own animal, and has its own admirable qualities that are unique to that city. Once that happens, that's when things get interesting. If anything my hope is Houston not go the "safe", or "socially accepted" route, because its been doing that for a long time. Instead it needs to once again embrace this mentality that its different, and it does whatever it wants whenever it wants. If Houston can get back in touch with its old cowboy Cavalier attitude, but with a touch of southern sophistication then that's a combination very few will have.

EDIT: When I mean Austin and Dallas being similar in ethos, I should probably clarify what I mean by this. Austin has a very similar ethos to capital cities and smaller cities in the East, while Dallas is very similar in ethos with something like LA. Not like they are the same as their contemporaries, but they are similar in how each city is structured and run.

Edited by Luminare
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@hindesky I was still confused (hence my earlier reply), but think I get it now!

@Luminare OMA is a great architectural firm.  Not every thing they’ve done is a masterwork -which can be said for every architect ever, perhaps except Palladio(!)- but they turn out quality at every stop.

Having not really followed this thread adequately (see above) I’m quite pleased this is the direction things are heading.

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5 hours ago, clutchcity94 said:

What effect, if any, will being part of a TOD have on residential property values in those areas?

I'm no analyst on things like this but better sidewalks and pedestrian access do raise property values. 

Edited by j_cuevas713
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5 hours ago, clutchcity94 said:

What effect, if any, will being part of a TOD have on residential property values in those areas?

I certainly don't think it lowers property values. I think that the additional flexibility makes the land worth more, particularly in a redevelopment situation. Chopping a larger home into a four plex can face difficulties because of the parking requirements and those would be effectively eliminated. 

As j_cuevas713 addresses, there are a large number of people that want to live in communities with amenities that are within walking distance and the TOD ordinance provides for a significantly improved pedestrian experience, so this also increases desirability which increases value. But also, TOD has been in effect for 15 months, and there haven't exactly been a ton of projects that have taken advantage that I've seen. 

In the pic I posted above, all of the streets in Montrose are pink, which is the Secondary TOD standard, which will exist until the BRT station is actually built and activated. The blue Primary TOD streets in the museum district are there because the light rail is of course built and operating. There is a formula that decides where Primary and Secondary designations fall. So right now, TOD is really "half-baked" in Montrose until the BRT stations are done. Secondary designation only allows a business to go down to 50% of the required parking (residential is market-based, so 0% required). 

Here is a link to the User's Guide for Walkable Places and TOD

I have an acquaintance that got a quote to build a decent sized parking garage in the suburbs, and the quote came back at $35,000/spot. This is quite a bit higher than a developer I talked to in Midtown that said that they paid about $20-$25k/spot for their garage in like 2018/9ish. That is some serious cash when you think about how much parking this site needs/is required to have and each 30 parking spots may add $1,000,000 in development costs. 

Sorry, this got long, but I think it's an interesting question and something that more property owners will bring up as these ordinances may continue to be expanded. 

Edit: I think a more interesting question: is what does an ordinance like TOD do for housing affordability? You create a more desirable area, but you unlock more affordable housing by dropping some parking requirements. But that is something to talk about in the TOD thread. 

 

Edited by wilcal
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  • 1 month later...
19 hours ago, hindesky said:

The Montrose Marketplace is getting more and more people and vendors every week. The warmer weather certainly helps.

cCGclxi.png

Would be cool if that entire block was permanently an open air market place. Definitely not possible given that piece of land is so valuable. My hope is someone sees the success of this and replicates it on a nearby block somewhere.

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yes i noticed that as well this weekend @Luminare!!! We went to Velvet Taco on sunday and wow the market was bustling like i have never seen before!!! so awesome and agree on hoping for a new place once this land begins building.

 

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This Montrose marketplace is a joke, reminds me of a flea market in some third world country, the owners of the property didn’t even bother removing that crappy sign from the corner that was left there from the previous shopping center that was torn down, what an eye sore. 
Developers who purchase property should not tear down buildings if they aren’t going to develop something and leave the properties looking like this.

Edited by cityliving
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16 minutes ago, cityliving said:

This Montrose marketplace is a joke, reminds me of a flea market in a third world country, the owners of the property didn’t even bother removing that crappy sign from the corner that was left there from the previous shopping center that was torn down, 

Oh lord... we can't have the rabble with their darn dirty tailgating tents.

Besides, this is merely a temporary installation until something actually happens with the property, so you rest easy at night.

I'm curious about your opinion on open markets elsewhere since you just seem to make an association that this is only something one finds in third world countries. Maybe, I don't know, take a stroll along The Seine, The Spree, The Thames, every local market in the Balkans, every little German town market (Mauer Park in Berlin?), every fishery in little Italian city/town, or tourist trap areas in Rome, Florence....I can keep going but please enlighten us about a more sophisticated solution free of peasants.

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1 hour ago, Luminare said:

Oh lord... we can't have the rabble with their darn dirty tailgating tents.

Besides, this is merely a temporary installation until something actually happens with the property, so you rest easy at night.

I'm curious about your opinion on open markets elsewhere since you just seem to make an association that this is only something one finds in third world countries. Maybe, I don't know, take a stroll along The Seine, The Spree, The Thames, every local market in the Balkans, every little German town market (Mauer Park in Berlin?), every fishery in little Italian city/town, or tourist trap areas in Rome, Florence....I can keep going but please enlighten us about a more sophisticated solution free of peasants.

If you think this looks like something in Europe, that's crazy.

 

This looks like (a bad part) of Lagos or El Alto en La Paz.

 

Even as temporary it looks horrible. I've seen many temporary markets where they at least make nice plywood fronts

 

image.jpeg.54e434c13e1e2aa6fdb6f49e088546b5.jpeg

Christmas Markets are CANCELLED due to the COVID-19 | Prague Photographer

 

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5 minutes ago, iah77 said:

If you think this looks like something in Europe, that's crazy.

 

This looks like (a bad part) of Lagos or El Alto en La Paz.

 

Even as temporary it looks horrible. I've seen many temporary markets where they at least make nice plywood fronts

 

image.jpeg.54e434c13e1e2aa6fdb6f49e088546b5.jpeg

Christmas Markets are CANCELLED due to the COVID-19 | Prague Photographer

 

Your argument consists of stock images of a Weihnachtsmarkt, which is seasonal and actually heavily regulated and not a 1 to 1 comparison, and one particular instance of maybe a food market which could be France, and thats it? You should google "Mauer Park Berlin Flohmarkt". Its a market that pops up in one Berlins biggest parks every now and then and it looks exactly like this popup market in Houston. If you want to actually have an argument then at the very least do your best to exhibit comparisons 1 to 1. Not Apples to Oranges.

Look I'm not saying this market should always be popup tents, it could certainly grow into something better later (The Houston Food Market in the heights is an example of this evolution). Who knows what could happen, but all this sounds pretty elitest. Just let the market be what it wants to be. I can't think of anything more Houston than something random and spontanous happening out of know where and in the face of busy-bodies and control freaks who want to micro manage everything. If they want to make things more permanent then let them. If they want this as something more on the fly or haphazard then let them. You are essentially acting like this is a blight on society. Just let them be.

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26 minutes ago, clutchcity94 said:

This is Montrose. The flea market should be strictly regulated to allow for the resale of used mattresses only.

Now we definitely know what this site is destined to be....a Mattress Firm distribution center haha

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1 minute ago, clutchcity94 said:

Should we start a petition to get the Bedquarters moved? 😂

6074F716-C32E-4D39-8F89-381FA1C402D7.jpeg

"BEDQuarters" is such corporate cringe...that's weird enough to place in Montrose. Make it happen.

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7 hours ago, Luminare said:

Now we definitely know what this site is destined to be....a Mattress Firm distribution center haha

IIRC, there WAS a Mattress Firm here... and across the street, and on the next block.... and a half mile away

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19 hours ago, cityliving said:

This Montrose marketplace is a joke, reminds me of a flea market in some third world country, the owners of the property didn’t even bother removing that crappy sign from the corner that was left there from the previous shopping center that was torn down, what an eye sore. 
Developers who purchase property should not tear down buildings if they aren’t going to develop something and leave the properties looking like this.

No one removes signs when buildings are demolished. Removing the sign makes it almost impossible to replace it later, given the Houston sign ordinance. There are vacant lots all over town with signs still standing.

Do you suppose that a couple of years of pandemic lockdowns might have delayed the proposed development?

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8 hours ago, Tumbleweed_Tx said:

IIRC, there WAS a Mattress Firm here... and across the street, and on the next block.... and a half mile away

Then Hanover built a mattress shaped building down the street, with mattress shaped windows and named it the The Hanover Mattrose, as a permanent reminder.   

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Usually when an empty lot sits undeveloped for more than two years means that the company who purchased the property may be having issues getting financing for their proposed projects.

Edited by cityliving
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42 minutes ago, cityliving said:

Usually when an empty lot sits undeveloped for more than two years means that the company who purchased the property may be having issues getting financing for their proposed projects.

Regent Square sat empty for almost 14 years before they built phase II where the Sterling is. Skanska has plenty of money they are just making plans for the right development for the block. Skanska paid $27 mil to buy the property and the flea market is just temporary until they start construction. I think it's better than just an empty block of concrete and asphalt.

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I've been to open markets with tents just like this in Helsinki and Bergen. If they were to build a long term open market then sure make it nicer but this is what a temporary one looks like. Dallas has one downtown near Deep Ellum that has a roof over it and makes it look a little nicer but that space isn't reserved for a larger build. For now this is fine and fits the area.

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1 hour ago, cityliving said:

Usually when an empty lot sits undeveloped for more than two years means that the company who purchased the property may be having issues getting financing for their proposed projects.

Has it been two years already?

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5 hours ago, cityliving said:

Usually when an empty lot sits undeveloped for more than two years means that the company who purchased the property may be having issues getting financing for their proposed projects.

Fortunately, this will not be the case for site.  Skanska is going to build something amazing here, but with that, comes proper master planning and understanding the best overall use/market size for what will be a transformative project for Montrose.  Then factor in the Kroger site next door and its a lot to consider, all while engaging numerous community stakeholders.  

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19 minutes ago, CREguy13 said:

Fortunately, this will not be the case for site.  Skanska is going to build something amazing here, but with that, comes proper master planning and understanding the best overall use/market size for what will be a transformative project for Montrose.  Then factor in the Kroger site next door and its a lot to consider, all while engaging numerous community stakeholders.  

We might as well raze the ex-Chinese consulate while we’re at it!

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On 4/5/2022 at 8:53 AM, hindesky said:

Regent Square sat empty for almost 14 years before they built phase II where the Sterling is. Skanska has plenty of money they are just making plans for the right development for the block. Skanska paid $27 mil to buy the property and the flea market is just temporary until they start construction. I think it's better than just an empty block of concrete and asphalt.

I can understand how some are getting impatient, but if you are in the game or orbit it, then you understand how long it takes to even get a shovel in the ground. I have yet to work on any highrises (it remains one of the few main project types I have yet to work on), but I have worked on large schools, and the planning/design phases alone is around 6-8 months and those were typically CM@R (Construction Manager @ Risk) and packages could go out in pieces. I'd imagine they would do the same delivery method for a project like this, but with how many uses and floors would be in this I'd hedge a bet that the design phases alone would be 8-12 or even 14 depending on various approvals, and complications. Then add in city review which for Houston isn't that difficult, but even with an expediter I've seen small houses take a couple months. Then if you don't have comments (doubt it) then you can pull permits.

Also as you said in another post, tenants just left mid last year, and they just finished demo.

With all this being said (again this is speculation, but one based on my professional experience) we probably won't see anything happen on this site until 2024. Maybe we see some schematic design renders in the summer.

EDIT: I should probably add that this timeline is only possible if an Architect has been chosen already (No clue if this is the case). If they haven't then either they still need to find one, or solicit RFP/RFQ's which then adds more time onto what I just said. I also didn't factor time to bid because it seems to me that Skanska builds with their forces? Thats also more time as well.

Edited by Luminare
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On 4/5/2022 at 9:06 AM, cityliving said:

Usually when an empty lot sits undeveloped for more than two years means that the company who purchased the property may be having issues getting financing for their proposed projects.

It's almost as if you have no development experience whatsoever haha. I mean no offense, I could see why a layperson would think this but largescale developments take time and that's true in even the most stable of markets which this is most certainly not. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 4/4/2022 at 12:37 PM, Luminare said:

this is merely a temporary installation until something actually happens with the property,

On the surface, this seems ok. But when a property generates "just enough" revenue, there's no incentive to make it into something better. That's why downtown has so many surface parking lots. 
 

If the property didn't make enough money to pay the taxes, the owners would have a reason to develop it, rather than sit on it trying to time the real estate bubble. 

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36 minutes ago, editor said:

On the surface, this seems ok. But when a property generates "just enough" revenue, there's no incentive to make it into something better. That's why downtown has so many surface parking lots. 
 

If the property didn't make enough money to pay the taxes, the owners would have a reason to develop it, rather than sit on it trying to time the real estate bubble. 

There’s no way those food trucks and vendors are covering the entire tax bill for this property. Not even close.

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1 hour ago, clutchcity94 said:

There’s no way those food trucks and vendors are covering the entire tax bill for this property. Not even close.

It doesn't have to cover.  It just has to soften the blow enough to stall development.  Meanwhile, what should be the most thriving corner of Montrose looks like it's been half-abandoned.

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it's a Skanska property. They have a track record of doing what they say they will do. It may take a couple of years like the new BoA tower, but, when they came to town, they built, they sold, they built again.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Quote

it's a Skanska property. They have a track record of doing what they say they will do. It may take a couple of years like the new BoA tower, but, when they came to town, they built, they sold, they built again.

FWIW Skanska has been trying to develop the corner if Hardy and I-45 by Exxon for 7+ years now.... Its planned as a 3 building 850,000SF development that has sat there as a forest waiting for a tenant.  Skanska will only move as fast as the market dictates.  They might not need stellar pre-leasing but they are also not going to sit here and ignore the crazy cost escalation factors the industry is facing coupled with softening demand and a potential for economic collapse.

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1 hour ago, tangledwoods said:

FWIW Skanska has been trying to develop the corner if Hardy and I-45 by Exxon for 7+ years now.... Its planned as a 3 building 850,000SF development that has sat there as a forest waiting for a tenant.  Skanska will only move as fast as the market dictates.  They might not need stellar pre-leasing but they are also not going to sit here and ignore the crazy cost escalation factors the industry is facing coupled with softening demand and a potential for economic collapse.

I understand what you are saying. However, I would not compare a a 850,000SF speculative office building complex in Spring to a mixed-use development in the heart of Montrose at the intersection of Westheimer and Montrose Blvd. 

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On 4/5/2022 at 2:33 PM, CREguy13 said:

Fortunately, this will not be the case for site.  Skanska is going to build something amazing here, but with that, comes proper master planning and understanding the best overall use/market size for what will be a transformative project for Montrose.  Then factor in the Kroger site next door and its a lot to consider, all while engaging numerous community stakeholders.  

Have you seen the design? Is there a park along Westheimer? I may have come across a rendering but there isn’t enough in the background to confirm.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just to clarify things, if you're looking askance at the name of the website on the pen (DONOTBLOW.COM) it's for a lawyer who specializes in DUI cases.

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16 hours ago, dbigtex56 said:

Just to clarify things, if you're looking askance at the name of the website on the pen (DONOTBLOW.COM) it's for a lawyer who specializes in DUI cases.

Ahhh....lawyers....who can forget Eric Dick's campaign sign when he was running against Annise Parker?

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On 5/13/2022 at 8:19 PM, dbigtex56 said:

Just to clarify things, if you're looking askance at the name of the website on the pen (DONOTBLOW.COM) it's for a lawyer who specializes in DUI cases.

Reminds me of how one of the big Chicago architecture firms uses BuildOrDie.com. 

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