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Downtown Redevelopment Authority plans to launch a Commercial Real Estate Conversion Program


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I wish someone can build out the old Sakowitz garage already.  The property value is probably getting to a point where it probably will be torn down if it does not hold enough space to be profitable.

Edited by 5thGen
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8 hours ago, 5thGen said:

I wish someone can build out the old Sakowitz garage already.  The property value is probably getting to a point where it probably will be torn down if it does not hold enough space to be profitable.

To be clear, that is not the old Sakowitz garage, it is the old Sakowitz store that was converted to a garage after the store closed.

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23 hours ago, 5thGen said:

I wish someone can build out the old Sakowitz garage already.  The property value is probably getting to a point where it probably will be torn down if it does not hold enough space to be profitable.

I think a while back the city was trying to get a major retailer to lease the building, but that was before Downtown started to really come in to it's own. I wonder if they would be more successful this time around. 

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18 hours ago, j_cuevas713 said:

I think a while back the city was trying to get a major retailer to lease the building, but that was before Downtown started to really come in to it's own. I wonder if they would be more successful this time around. 

My guess is no.  It's going to be a long time before large scale retail will work in downtown Houston.  Not forever.  But we need to get the full-time residential numbers up first.

First in will probably be something like a CityTarget, or Neighborhood WalMart.  We can hope for department stores after that.

Right now, the bulk of the people downtown are commuters, and commuters haven't been convinced to shop downtown yet.  They're of the rural mindset, and will do their shopping on the weekend, not after work when there's an hour plus commute ahead of them.  And isn't a consistent enough flow of tourists to take up the slack.

Just stand in front of 1000 Main and watch the doors.  When the number of people using the revolving doors gets closer to the number of people using the swinging doors, you know we're ready.

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14 minutes ago, editor said:

My guess is no.  It's going to be a long time before large scale retail will work in downtown Houston.  Not forever.  But we need to get the full-time residential numbers up first.

First in will probably be something like a CityTarget, or Neighborhood WalMart.  We can hope for department stores after that.

Right now, the bulk of the people downtown are commuters, and commuters haven't been convinced to shop downtown yet.  They're of the rural mindset, and will do their shopping on the weekend, not after work when there's an hour plus commute ahead of them.  And isn't a consistent enough flow of tourists to take up the slack.

Just stand in front of 1000 Main and watch the doors.  When the number of people using the revolving doors gets closer to the number of people using the swinging doors, you know we're ready.

I like the way you think. 

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14 hours ago, editor said:

Just stand in front of 1000 Main and watch the doors.  When the number of people using the revolving doors gets closer to the number of people using the swinging doors, you know we're ready.

This drives me crazy -- my office building has a revolving door and then a small swinging door next to it and everyone always avoids the revolving door.

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On 8/10/2022 at 12:50 AM, hindesky said:

How about 1001 McKinney St. It's for sale according to JLL. Nice Art Deco interior has a Morton's Steakhouse in it but seems to have a lot of tenants so probably not a candidate for conversion.

https://www.us.jll.com/en/investorcenter/office/1001-mckinney-houston-tx-unitedstates

As long as they don't mess with the Shipley's in the basement.  It's the only place to get beignets downtown.  And beignets aren't as easy to find in Houston as they once were.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 8/10/2022 at 8:50 AM, hindesky said:

How about 1001 McKinney St. It's for sale according to JLL. Nice Art Deco interior has a Morton's Steakhouse in it but seems to have a lot of tenants so probably not a candidate for conversion.

https://www.us.jll.com/en/investorcenter/office/1001-mckinney-houston-tx-unitedstates

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The most important thing is to educate him. I recommend teaching him time management, which will come in handy in his future. You can learn more about this here https://edubirdie.com/examples/time-management/ That way it will be easier for your child to organize himself.

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I absolutely agree with you.

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From the August meeting:

Pursuant to the DRA Board’s recommendation, Staff has distributed a letter of request to property owners inside the boundaries of TIRZ3, seeking participation in a feasibility study to go to an RFP later this summer. The study will evaluate approximately five opportunities for conversion of office space into other uses such as residential. The study is intended to inform the development of a financial tool that can be used to more easily facilitate the conversion of obsolete office space.

 

Also this sounds pretty interesting:

Staff has submitted a revised strategic annexation & term extension request to the City Planning Department for Mayoral review later in August. This request will come before the DRA Board in the Fall as a proposed Project Plan and Financial Plan, as has been exercised in the past. The limited annexation holds the promise of assisting the DRA in its mandate to address blight remediation and invigorating Downtown public spaces because the proposed annexation involves a significant redevelopment project that would generate significant incremental tax revenue.

Edited by Texasota
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16 minutes ago, Texasota said:

From the August meeting:

Pursuant to the DRA Board’s recommendation, Staff has distributed a letter of request to property owners inside the boundaries of TIRZ3, seeking participation in a feasibility study to go to an RFP later this summer. The study will evaluate approximately five opportunities for conversion of office space into other uses such as residential. The study is intended to inform the development of a financial tool that can be used to more easily facilitate the conversion of obsolete office space.

 

Also this sounds pretty interesting:

Staff has submitted a revised strategic annexation & term extension request to the City Planning Department for Mayoral review later in August. This request will come before the DRA Board in the Fall as a proposed Project Plan and Financial Plan, as has been exercised in the past. The limited annexation holds the promise of assisting the DRA in its mandate to address blight remediation and invigorating Downtown public spaces because the proposed annexation involves a significant redevelopment project that would generate significant incremental tax revenue.

Well when I hear “blight remediation,” a certain building comes very quickly to mind.

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  • 3 weeks later...
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Is the transformation of commercial office buildings to multifamily residences hype or hard news?

 

So far, it’s been mostly hype, according to Julie Whelan, global head of occupier research at CBRE, who reported at the recent National Association of Real Estate Editorsconference in Atlanta that between 2016 and this year, only 35 properties a year have been converted to apartments or other uses.

But many more conversions are in the offing, the Boston-based Whelan added. And others on the panel with her agreed.

 

https://www.multihousingnews.com/office-to-mf-hype-or-fiction/

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On 8/11/2022 at 11:53 AM, editor said:

As long as they don't mess with the Shipley's in the basement.  It's the only place to get beignets downtown.  And beignets aren't as easy to find in Houston as they once were.

There are now two other spots downtown to get beignets, one on Main St where S&T used to be (bummed they closed) and in the new Lyric Market that just opened today there’s a po’ boy shop that also sells beignets

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On 10/13/2022 at 11:49 PM, jhjones74 said:

There are now two other spots downtown to get beignets, one on Main St where S&T used to be (bummed they closed) and in the new Lyric Market that just opened today there’s a po’ boy shop that also sells beignets

Happy to hear about the Lyric option.  What's the one on Main Street?  That one is probably closer to me.

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1 hour ago, editor said:

Happy to hear about the Lyric option.  What's the one on Main Street?  That one is probably closer to me.

They’re calling it Little New Orleans, under the Binz building. You can see beignets listed on the window - I was too disappointed to find out S&T had closed to give it a try.

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12 hours ago, jhjones74 said:

They’re calling it Little New Orleans, under the Binz building. You can see beignets listed on the window - I was too disappointed to find out S&T had closed to give it a try.

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Excellent.  Thank you!  I've seen that banner before, but thought it was just another random daiquiri bar. 

I'll hobble over there today.

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I'm sorry I have zero clue on how to respond to specific posts (would love some advice).  New here.

1001 McKinney isnt a candidate because its a well-occupied building.  And thank you to whomever posted the renovated pictures.  That renovation was a ton of work.  And yes the building is for sale but best use is currently office.

 

The most ripe conversion deal downtown is 1010 Lamar which now uses the old Sakowiz building as its garage.  Both the building and the garage should be converted, but you have to lease SOME parking or find alternate parking.

 

 

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3 hours ago, urbgal said:

I'm sorry I have zero clue on how to respond to specific posts (would love some advice).  New here.

 

 

 

Use the quote button on the post you want to reference like I did and edit out the portion you don't want to use.

Yeah I posted the 1001 McKinney because it's gorgeous on the inside but as I looked at all the current tenants I realized it had too many businesses renting there and likely wouldn't be a candidate.

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On 10/20/2022 at 12:38 PM, urbgal said:

I'm sorry I have zero clue on how to respond to specific posts (would love some advice).  New here.

1001 McKinney isnt a candidate because its a well-occupied building.  And thank you to whomever posted the renovated pictures.  That renovation was a ton of work.  And yes the building is for sale but best use is currently office.

 

The most ripe conversion deal downtown is 1010 Lamar which now uses the old Sakowiz building as its garage.  Both the building and the garage should be converted, but you have to lease SOME parking or find alternate parking.

 

 

For the love of god somebody buy that building from Younan and do this. 

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You know what would actually be a good candidate for this? 800 Bell, aka the ExxonMobil Building, aka the Humble Building. That building has been practically empty since ExxonMobil moved out, and, if I remember correctly, has no major tenants. Its long touted renovation hasn't happened, probably because of this. Converting the building to residential use, or some form of mixed use, might be the most logical way to move forward at this point, since I doubt a building that old is going to get a marquee tenant anytime soon, no matter how much its renovated.

Edited by Big E
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3 hours ago, Big E said:

You know what would actually be a good candidate for this? 800 Bell, aka the ExxonMobil Building, aka the Humble Building. That building has been has been practically empty since ExxonMobil moved out, and, if I remember correctly, has no major tenants. Its long touted renovation hasn't happened, probably because of this. Converting the building to residential use, or some form of mixed use, might be the most logical way to move forward at this point, since I doubt a building that old is going to get a marquee tenant anytime soon, no matter how much its renovated.

800 Bell is empty. Before it can be marketed as a residential conversion, or pretty much anything else, it needs to be completely gutted and the asbestos remediated. I used to know some network guys that worked there, and any time new wiring was needed, whoever ran it had to put on a Tyvek suit, respirator, and gloves, to minimize asbestos exposure.

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13 hours ago, Ross said:

800 Bell is empty. Before it can be marketed as a residential conversion, or pretty much anything else, it needs to be completely gutted and the asbestos remediated. I used to know some network guys that worked there, and any time new wiring was needed, whoever ran it had to put on a Tyvek suit, respirator, and gloves, to minimize asbestos exposure.

One would think that the required remediation would put it even higher on the list. With city funds allocated to that portion of the rehab, the developer would have a financial incentive to get started.

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On 10/26/2022 at 10:41 AM, phillip_white said:

One would think that the required remediation would put it even higher on the list. With city funds allocated to that portion of the rehab, the developer would have a financial incentive to get started.

Yep I did some lead abatement on the roof back in 2010. That's when I found out about the notorious Petroleum Club at the very top. 

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1 hour ago, j_cuevas713 said:

Yep I did some lead abatement on the roof back in 2010. That's when I found out about the notorious Petroleum Club at the very top. 

I never knew the Petroleum Club was notorious. I went there for a couple of weddings, and it seemed pretty nice, if more than a bit dated.

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17 hours ago, Ross said:

I never knew the Petroleum Club was notorious. I went there for a couple of weddings, and it seemed pretty nice, if more than a bit dated.

Me either. There was a lady bartender there cleaning up who told me that was where all the oil execs would come to drink and socialize. I was only like 23 at the time and was kind of blown away by the era that place is stuck in. It's def dated for sure! 

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3 hours ago, j_cuevas713 said:

Me either. There was a lady bartender there cleaning up who told me that was where all the oil execs would come to drink and socialize. I was only like 23 at the time and was kind of blown away by the era that place is stuck in. It's def dated for sure! 

Well, it moved about 7 years ago, into all new digs.  So, probably not so dated any more...

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https://www.rentcafe.com/blog/rental-market/market-snapshots/adaptive-reuse-apartments/

In the last two years, apartment conversions jumped by 25% compared to two years prior. More precisely, this increasingly popular real estate niche brought a total of 28,000 new rentals in 2020-2021, well above the pre-pandemic years of 2018-2019 when 22,300 apartments were brought to life through adaptive reuse. Amid an ever-growing need for housing, adaptive reuse picked up speed in America’s largest cities, according to the latest data from Yardi Matrix.


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https://kinder.rice.edu/urbanedge/hybrid-work-here-stay-downtown-houston-looking-office-conversion-candidates

"Central Houston and its board, the Downtown Redevelopment Authority, issued a request for proposal on Oct. 13, seeking bids from third-party consultants with expertise in office conversion to adaptive reuse who will conduct a series of feasibility studies. The deadline for proposals is Dec. 1."

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On 12/3/2022 at 6:27 PM, Big E said:

Nobody mentioned this, but the new owners of the Marathon Oil Tower are moving to have most, if not all, of its vacant space (at least 21 stories) converted to residential, as stated in the tower's thread here. Not exactly downtown, but this is the largest residential conversion I see anyone talking about in Houston right now outside the one happening in 1801 Smith.

Because of its location, that one makes the most sense of all.

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Going back to the last wave of the DLI, is there any consensus amongst people in the industry as to which projects have been the most and least successful?

Granted it’s a multi-faceted question, but seems like it would be determined by final product, GFR integration, contribution to the spaces around it, and occupancy, but at an attractive (i.e., not discounted) price point. Are there any properties downtown where it is difficult to “get into,” even if price weren’t an issue?

More germane to this discussion, have there been any historical conversions that have been successful? I mean the Rice is still around and I assume still a nice address, but the GFR has always seemed to struggle and I’m not sure how it compares with the new properties. The Commerce Towers seem to have been a dud. The Star doesn’t seem all that great, either. Are the multiple loft conversions desirable addresses? (The above is not based on anything specific, just my perception, which, admittedly, is probably not worth much on this particular topic.)
 

On 12/5/2022 at 3:25 PM, editor said:

Because of its location, that one makes the most sense of all.

I for one do not understand the idea of living in a high rise when one cannot walk to much around it, but, hey I realize that describes most of the City’s high rises, and it’s not like you can walk to a “real” grocery store downtown from the Brava. At least you have Market Square, the Theater District, MMP, the Toyota Center, and a decent amount of dining options.

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On 12/6/2022 at 8:57 PM, mattyt36 said:

More germane to this discussion, have there been any historical conversions that have been successful?

The Star seems pretty successful.  Successful enough that residential occupancy is always high, and the original owners have sold it on.  The main retail space is mostly the restaurant, which recently expanded.  The other retail space has been used by the city for a couple of pop-ups, but that's about it. 

 

On 12/6/2022 at 8:57 PM, mattyt36 said:

I for one do not understand the idea of living in a high rise when one cannot walk to much around it

I think it depends on what you're interested in walking to.  There are plenty of things to walk to downtown.  I know, because I do it all the time.  But perhaps the things that you are interested in walking to are not the same things that people who choose to live downtown are interested in walking to. 

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On 12/6/2022 at 8:57 PM, mattyt36 said:

it’s not like you can walk to a “real” grocery store downtown

You are correct.  And on the surface, that seems like a legitimate criticism.  But it falls apart very quickly.  Nobody ever says, "I could never live in Sugar Land if I can't walk to a grocery store."  How many people in Houston can walk to a real grocery store?  Maybe 0.001%?   And of those, how many actually do walk to a grocery store?  Nobody's carrying food for a family of four home in their arms.

I have lived in downtowns with real grocery stores, and they're great.  But people who live in downtowns don't do the same things that people in the suburbs do.  They don't load up on a bale of 200 rolls of toilet paper at CostCo, or buy an extra frozen turkey because it's on sale.  They don't have the storage space.  There aren't extra pantries, garages, or other places to store lots of the things that suburban people buy in bulk.  People who live in downtowns "do" a big grocery run either online, or by car every once in a long while, and then get a few items in between at the little shops.  In Houston, that's Phoenicia and District Market primarily.  But I'll also utilize the ghettomart on Main and the one on Fannin.  Milk is milk, no matter where you buy it.

Since Houston is still early in its development of downtown residential buildings, the vast majority of people still have cars, and drive them to the same grocery stores as everyone else.  And then they also get to enjoy the other things about living downtown that appeal to them.  They're not missing out on anything, except maybe paying $50 a week for gas, and losing five hours of their lives each week sitting in traffic. 

I've lived in downtowns, I've lived in suburbs, I've lived in rural areas.  Each has its own benefits and problems.  It's not possible to claim flatly that one is "right" or "better" than another, simply because each person has different needs and different lives.

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1 hour ago, editor said:

You are correct.  And on the surface, that seems like a legitimate criticism.  But it falls apart very quickly.  Nobody ever says, "I could never live in Sugar Land if I can't walk to a grocery store."  How many people in Houston can walk to a real grocery store?  Maybe 0.001%?   And of those, how many actually do walk to a grocery store?  Nobody's carrying food for a family of four home in their arms.

I have lived in downtowns with real grocery stores, and they're great.  But people who live in downtowns don't do the same things that people in the suburbs do.  They don't load up on a bale of 200 rolls of toilet paper at CostCo, or buy an extra frozen turkey because it's on sale.  They don't have the storage space.  There aren't extra pantries, garages, or other places to store lots of the things that suburban people buy in bulk.  People who live in downtowns "do" a big grocery run either online, or by car every once in a long while, and then get a few items in between at the little shops.  In Houston, that's Phoenicia and District Market primarily.  But I'll also utilize the ghettomart on Main and the one on Fannin.  Milk is milk, no matter where you buy it.

Since Houston is still early in its development of downtown residential buildings, the vast majority of people still have cars, and drive them to the same grocery stores as everyone else.  And then they also get to enjoy the other things about living downtown that appeal to them.  They're not missing out on anything, except maybe paying $50 a week for gas, and losing five hours of their lives each week sitting in traffic. 

I've lived in downtowns, I've lived in suburbs, I've lived in rural areas.  Each has its own benefits and problems.  It's not possible to claim flatly that one is "right" or "better" than another, simply because each person has different needs and different lives.

In re the living in a high rise that doesn't have a lot of walking options, I am talking more about the high rises located outside of downtown.  Living in downtown Houston is of course nothing like living in River North, Chicago, but there are objectively a lot of things to walk to--certainly could be better, but one could spend the weekend, no issue, without a need to get into one's vehicle (assuming they grocery shop during the week, but even then there is at least a CVS and a Phoenicia).  But Marathon Tower and other residential high rises (I mean, even the Allen), not anywhere near the same level of options.

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38 minutes ago, mattyt36 said:

But Marathon Tower and other residential high rises (I mean, even the Allen), not anywhere near the same level of options

I think the sprawl of Houston illustrates that not everyone cares about walking to things.  But they may prioritize something else about high-rise living.  A well-staffed, well-run high rise reduces or eliminates a lot of the friction points of life.  Off the top of my head: maintenance, dry cleaning, pet walking/sitting, mail and packages.

When I set fire to a dishwasher in a house I lived in, I ended up having to pay not only for a new dishwasher, but for a plumber to install it because the fittings were non-standard/old.

When I set fire to a dishwasher in an apartment where I lived, I called someone on the phone and they replaced the entire machine in a few hours.

(Yes, I keep setting dishwashers on fire.  But it's only happened a few times.)

If you're someone who travels a lot for work, luxury high-rises are awesome because you'll have people who will collect your mail, clean your place, take care of your dry cleaning, water your plants, and lots of other little things so that you don't have to worry while you're away, and when you get home, everything is perfect even if you didn't leave it that way.

But I think in Houston, the big draw to high-rises for non-walkers is the same as it is for most real estate: Location, location, location.  If you can cut a commute from an hour to ten minutes, that's massive for some people.  Especially people who make a lot of money and charge other people by the hour. 

Back when Houston had a downtown heliport, people weren't commuting from The Woodlands by helicopter to show off.  They were doing it because time is money.

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19 minutes ago, editor said:

I think the sprawl of Houston illustrates that not everyone cares about walking to things.  But they may prioritize something else about high-rise living.  A well-staffed, well-run high rise reduces or eliminates a lot of the friction points of life.  Off the top of my head: maintenance, dry cleaning, pet walking/sitting, mail and packages.

When I set fire to a dishwasher in a house I lived in, I ended up having to pay not only for a new dishwasher, but for a plumber to install it because the fittings were non-standard/old.

When I set fire to a dishwasher in an apartment where I lived, I called someone on the phone and they replaced the entire machine in a few hours.

(Yes, I keep setting dishwashers on fire.  But it's only happened a few times.)

If you're someone who travels a lot for work, luxury high-rises are awesome because you'll have people who will collect your mail, clean your place, take care of your dry cleaning, water your plants, and lots of other little things so that you don't have to worry while you're away, and when you get home, everything is perfect even if you didn't leave it that way.

But I think in Houston, the big draw to high-rises for non-walkers is the same as it is for most real estate: Location, location, location.  If you can cut a commute from an hour to ten minutes, that's massive for some people.  Especially people who make a lot of money and charge other people by the hour. 

Back when Houston had a downtown heliport, people weren't commuting from The Woodlands by helicopter to show off.  They were doing it because time is money.

Well, obviously it is a matter of preference and it's not like the high rises elsewhere are empty.  I just stated I don't know who would want to live in one as a primary residence (especially as a condo, not a rental as the high-rise condos definitely aren't cheap, and I'd think that whoever can afford one of those in a building with the amenities you describe probably doesn't have any problem getting a burning dishwasher repaired in a house) and still have to drive everywhere.  But that's ME and my personal opinion, and I'll be the first to tell you that I fully acknowledge not everyone is like me.  (For instance, I have never set fire to a single dishwasher.)

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17 minutes ago, BEES?! said:

1) I did not know Downtown had a heliport! So they don’t anymore? (That’s the strange part to me, that it’d be gone)

2) How do you set fire to a dishwasher?!?? I am impressed and also a little terrified haha

  1. It used to be where Minute Maid Park is.
  2. Various ways.  The most recent one was when a Tupperware lid got loose and landed on the heating elements at the bottom.  Another time, the motor caught fire.  The first one was because of a combination of lack of maintenance and a crappy overseas landlord (who used to always address me in e-mail as "Fat American" as in "Fat American, you live in desert.  Not rain.  Roof hole no fix.") and a previous tenant who managed to pack the inaccessible parts of the dishwasher with rice, which dried out before I moved in and caught fire, again on the drying cycle.

I just don't use the drying feature anymore.

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1 hour ago, Houston19514 said:

Actually, it used to be where the Marriott Marquis is.  The property on which Minute Maid Park stands used to be railyards.

And here I thought it was where Discovery Green was, in front of the GRB.  OH WELL.

I do know it was run by HAS, or at least was at one time, and was called the Houston CBD Heliport.

Google is of no help!

(Incidentally, was the MMP area still a railyard even in the 1980s?)

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6 minutes ago, mattyt36 said:

And here I thought it was where Discovery Green was, in front of the GRB.  OH WELL.

I do know it was run by HAS, or at least was at one time, and was called the Houston CBD Heliport.

Google is of no help!

(Incidentally, was the MMP area still a railyard even in the 1980s?)

I had actually thought it was on some of the Discovery Green property as well, but I dug in to it recently and it was apparently on the Marriott Marquis property. (Unfortunately, I don't seem to have kept any notes.)

I don't know that the railyard was still active (I kinda doubt it), or if the rails were still there, but if not, it was just abandoned/unused.  Certainly not being used for anything like a heliport.

There are some good views of it starting at 0:35 in this YouTube video.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2o7nU3H6vg&t=9s

 

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19 hours ago, Houston19514 said:

Actually, it used to be where the Marriott Marquis is.  The property on which Minute Maid Park stands used to be railyards.

Thanks for that correction.

I ended up going from my faulty memory because I couldn't find anything in Google about it, since it didn't happen in the last three days and didn't involve Taylor Swift.

(Remember, Google doesn't make money from showing you what you're searching for.  It makes money from keeping you searching and searching.)

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