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Abraham Watkins Office Expansion At 800 Commerce St.


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1 hour ago, sapo2367 said:

Looks nice! Although that corner has to flood pretty bad, its like the lowest point in downtown.

This is the building Abraham Watkins is in, yes? If so, yes. It floods frequently.

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3 minutes ago, JBTX said:

This is the building Abraham Watkins is in, yes? If so, yes. It floods frequently.

Yes, it is.  This new addition to their building is theirs as well.  It will connect to 800 Commerce at levels 2 and 3.

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  • The title was changed to 802 Commerce St.
  • The title was changed to Abraham Watkins 4-Story Office Expansion 802 Commerce St.

Wow!  Indeed that will be a nightmare for those fine European imports to navigate.  Particularly the first spaces each side of the gate.

This is a nice infill though, and it’s great to see a building get reused even if it is being reused in this manner.

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Posted (edited)
On 6/3/2022 at 1:57 PM, JBTX said:

This is the building Abraham Watkins is in, yes? If so, yes. It floods frequently.

It is a pity that this entire block is pretty much condemned to never having ground floor retail or office uses. In the past you could have just bought more flood insurance and done what you wanted... there are new retail developments all over the U.S. in Flood Zone AE. If you could make it work economically, it was your choice. But the Harris County city law that any new construction must be four two feet above the 500-year floodplain makes that impossible. Even the buildings facing Market Square like La Carafe would be impossible to build (or rebuild) under the new law. The I.M. Pei-designed drive-thru bank would also be impossible, and any future development on that block will have to elevate the site considerably if they want GFR.

https://msc.fema.gov/portal/search?AddressQuery=802 commerce st%2C houston%2C tx#searchresultsanchor

 

Interestingly, the entire French Quarter of New Orleans is in the 500-year floodplain. 

https://msc.fema.gov/portal/search?AddressQuery=802 commerce st%2C houston%2C tx#searchresultsanchor

 

Edited by H-Town Man
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2 hours ago, H-Town Man said:

It is a pity that this entire block is pretty much condemned to never having ground floor retail or office uses. In the past you could have just bought more flood insurance and done what you wanted... there are new retail developments all over the U.S. in Flood Zone AE. If you could make it work economically, it was your choice. But the Harris County law that any new construction must be four feet above the 500-year floodplain makes that impossible. Even the buildings facing Market Square like La Carafe would be impossible to build (or rebuild) under the new law. The I.M. Pei-designed drive-thru bank would also be impossible, and any future development on that block will have to elevate the site considerably if they want GFR.

https://msc.fema.gov/portal/search?AddressQuery=802 commerce st%2C houston%2C tx#searchresultsanchor

 

Interestingly, the entire French Quarter of New Orleans is in the 500-year floodplain. 

https://msc.fema.gov/portal/search?AddressQuery=802 commerce st%2C houston%2C tx#searchresultsanchor

 

I didn't think Harris County regulations applied within city limits.

In any event, can you point me to the Harris County regulation you reference?  Everything I am finding says 24 inches above the 500-year floodplain, not four feet.

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47 minutes ago, Houston19514 said:

I didn't think Harris County regulations applied within city limits.

In any event, can you point me to the Harris County regulation you reference?  Everything I am finding says 24 inches above the 500-year floodplain, not four feet.

You're right, it was two feet, not four feet. And City of Houston enacted a tandem law that matched the county's law regarding the two foot elevation, so although the county law does not apply, the city law has substantially the same regulation. Thanks for digging into the details. Everything I said regarding buildings that couldn't be constructed today still applies.

 

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1 hour ago, H-Town Man said:

You're right, it was two feet, not four feet. And City of Houston enacted a tandem law that matched the county's law regarding the two foot elevation, so although the county law does not apply, the city law has substantially the same regulation. Thanks for digging into the details. Everything I said regarding buildings that couldn't be constructed today still applies.

 

According to the Houston Permitting Center, "The City has addressed property protection by requiring new construction in the high flood risk areas be constructed 1.0 foot above the 1% annual chance floodplain, or Base Flood Elevation (BFE.)"

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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, Houston19514 said:

According to the Houston Permitting Center, "The City has addressed property protection by requiring new construction in the high flood risk areas be constructed 1.0 foot above the 1% annual chance floodplain, or Base Flood Elevation (BFE.)"

I'm pretty sure that was the old requirement, amended in April 2018. I found this at their website:

"The City of Houston standards require all new structures to be at least 2 feet above the 500-year elevation (3 feet above the 500-year elevation if building is considered a critical facility or located in the floodway)."

Edited by H-Town Man
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Posted (edited)
21 minutes ago, H-Town Man said:

I'm pretty sure that was the old requirement, amended in April 2018. I found this at their website:

"The City of Houston standards require all new structures to be at least 2 feet above the 500-year elevation (3 feet above the 500-year elevation if building is considered a critical facility or located in the floodway)."

I am not finding the quoted language at the link you provided.  Can you help me dig it out?

 

Interestingly, other cities seem to have adopted these same requirements, which also seem to be in accordance with the National Flood Insurance Program.

Austin did so in 2019:  Austin's new regulations, "which were approved unanimously by council, also will require structures in flood zones to be built at least 2 feet above the floodplain, instead of the previous 1-foot requirement, to further mitigate flood risk."

 

Edited by Houston19514
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Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, Houston19514 said:

Interestingly, other cities seem to have adopted these same requirements, which also seem to be in accordance with the National Flood Insurance Program.

Austin did so in 2019:  Austin's new regulations, "which were approved unanimously by council, also will require structures in flood zones to be built at least 2 feet above the floodplain, instead of the previous 1-foot requirement, to further mitigate flood risk."

 

That is interesting in Austin's case, since it will affect the whole retail corridor along Barton Springs Drive (which is entirely within a floodplain), the Lamar Street corridor north of 9th Street downtown, about half of Rainey Street (including Banger's for heaven's sake!), and the whole Near South Congress area just across the river from downtown. I'm not sure that this has been adopted by most cities, though, as I've seen many projects built in Flood Zone AE in my work around the U.S. Let us know what you find.

I also think it's a pretty draconian regulation. 500 years isn't that often. Require flood insurance, maybe require disclosure for residences, and let the market determine if it's willing to pay the cost. The entire French Quarter of New Orleans is in the 500-year floodplain. It has proven to be economically feasible despite the flood risk, and wouldn't be the same if all those structures had had to elevate themselves.

 

Edited by H-Town Man
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23 minutes ago, H-Town Man said:

I'm pretty sure that was the old requirement, amended in April 2018. I found this at their website:

"The City of Houston standards require all new structures to be at least 2 feet above the 500-year elevation (3 feet above the 500-year elevation if building is considered a critical facility or located in the floodway)."

I cannot find the quoted language in the link you provided.  Can you help me locate it?

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  • The title was changed to Abraham Watkins Office Expansion At 800 Commerce St.
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