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Historic and Historical are also different.  My point was - typical in Houston we tear down something when the land that could have been used for said new building was/is available across the street (perhaps for more money) but still available.

 

I won't get into it about how valuable 3400 Montrose was, but it was at least a building with some character and could have been used in interesting ways if the right developer with the right money and idea came along at the right time.  Just unfortunate that so many of our buildings don't end up with the right developer or right time.

There probably isn't a developer around who is willing to risk as much money as the old building would have required to renovate and bring up to code. Sometimes, buildings just don't work any longer.

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Looks like the rehab has started. Scaffolding up. Some brick removed. M2M has a "renovation sale" sign up.

I saw this on Swamplot today. It doesn't seem like it's for sure but I hope that they do something with this building and not tear it down. I hope they keep the retail on the street level too. http

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In what way?

Isn't it already slated for redevelopment but the present leases need to run out?

I don't know, is it? If it is, that's awesome! Any info on this, because any redevelopment to that shopping center will bring life back to that part of Montrose

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To be honest, what would the point be for them to pay the demo crew extra for bringing it down quickly if they wanted to let the rubble sit there for a few years?

I think to defend Jax, its just our Htown mentality... I don't think Jax is being negative in any way... I personally believe construction will start immediately... but we have been let done plenty in this city, that I guess to see so much happening all at once is kind of overwhelming to some degree

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I think to defend Jax, its just our Htown mentality... I don't think Jax is being negative in any way... I personally believe construction will start immediately... but we have been let done plenty in this city, that I guess to see so much happening all at once is kind of overwhelming to some degree

 

Before I found HAIF, I found J-A-X photos of Houston, they actually got me interested in Houston again over about a 2 year period, thanks for all those, they are great!

 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/j-a-x/

Thanks! :) Glad to know you like them!

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I won't get into it about how valuable 3400 Montrose was, but it was at least a building with some character and could have been used in interesting ways if the right developer with the right money and idea came along at the right time.  Just unfortunate that so many of our buildings don't end up with the right developer or right time.

 

Pretty high truth per word ratio in this post. I won't blame the developers (always dangerous on here) as much as the typical buyers, who care mainly that wherever they live is new and trendy, and frown at something old, unusual, or with "insufficient ceiling heights." In a city like Vienna you have older apartment buildings that are really kept up and look good, but you also have a customer base that appreciates something other than just new, new, new.

 

That said, if there were an emerging market of buyers who think outside the box, it may be the case that Houston developers are less likely than those in other cities to see that trend and try to answer it. I'm not sure about that, though.

 

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Pretty high truth per word ratio in this post. I won't blame the developers (always dangerous on here) as much as the typical buyers, who care mainly that wherever they live is new and trendy, and frown at something old, unusual, or with "insufficient ceiling heights." In a city like Vienna you have older apartment buildings that are really kept up and look good, but you also have a customer base that appreciates something other than just new, new, new.

That said, if there were an emerging market of buyers who think outside the box, it may be the case that Houston developers are less likely than those in other cities to see that trend and try to answer it. I'm not sure about that, though.

You just compared Houston to Vienna. Think about that for a second.

FYI this building was on and off the market for almost ten years. It had its chances.

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You just compared Houston to Vienna. Think about that for a second.

FYI this building was on and off the market for almost ten years. It had its chances.

 

I actually contrasted Houston with Vienna. But - is there a reason why people in Houston shouldn't be able to appreciate a building like people in Vienna? We've given the world much more great modern architecture than they have over the past 50 years or so.

 

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I actually contrasted Houston with Vienna. But - is there a reason why people in Houston shouldn't be able to appreciate a building like people in Vienna? We've given the world much more great modern architecture than they have over the past 50 years or so.

I think the difference is the quality and significance of historical buildings in Vienna vs Houston. I know a lot of people in this forum liked the old building at 3400 Montrose, but the reality is that, from an architectural perspective, the building was relatively insignificant. Not to say there aren't significant buildings in Houston that do get demolished - but that's an off topic conversation that I know must be in some more relevant thread.

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I think the difference is the quality and significance of historical buildings in Vienna vs Houston. I know a lot of people in this forum liked the old building at 3400 Montrose, but the reality is that, from an architectural perspective, the building was relatively insignificant. Not to say there aren't significant buildings in Houston that do get demolished - but that's an off topic conversation that I know must be in some more relevant thread.

You are right, Vienna has much more in the realm of historic buildings, but the point I was making was about how older apartment buildings are treated - mid century buildings. And I don't think this building was insignificant. I think it was overlooked because people operate on an old/new dichotomy, and once this building fell into neglect, nobody could see the potential. Also because we've begun to finally see pre-1930 buildings as historic (it took us about thirty years longer than the rest of the world), but we still don't see midcentury buildings this way.

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There is a market for folks wanting to live in something more unique, with charm, with character, with age. The problem is, those places are rapidly disappearing, especially in highly sought after places inside the loop. While I didn't love this building, it, along with the Houston Club, could have made for some interesting apartments in great locations that would have KEPT some much needed character that adds to the overall vitality and gives one a sense of place. 

 

The biggest problem is there are zero incentives for developers to restore and renovate existing buildings whereas we bend over backwards for landing something "new." Heck, City Council is discussing multi-million dollar tax incentives to bring TrendMaker Homes to the Clear Lake area today. It's on the agenda. Seriously.

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There is a market for folks wanting to live in something more unique, with charm, with character, with age. The problem is, those places are rapidly disappearing, especially in highly sought after places inside the loop. While I didn't love this building, it, along with the Houston Club, could have made for some interesting apartments in great locations that would have KEPT some much needed character that adds to the overall vitality and gives one a sense of place. 

 

The biggest problem is there are zero incentives for developers to restore and renovate existing buildings whereas we bend over backwards for landing something "new." Heck, City Council is discussing multi-million dollar tax incentives to bring TrendMaker Homes to the Clear Lake area today. It's on the agenda. Seriously.

 

Existing  buildings are eligible for the downtown living incentives just as much as new buildings.  See, for example, the renovation of the old Texaco building.   And, I think there are some other incentives available for developers to restore and renovate existing buildings.  There are historic site tax exemptions and adjustments to building codes (I believe both Houston and Harris County).  Of course there are the federal historic rehabilitation tax credits.

Edited by Houston19514
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There is a market for folks wanting to live in something more unique, with charm, with character, with age. The problem is, those places are rapidly disappearing, especially in highly sought after places inside the loop. While I didn't love this building, it, along with the Houston Club, could have made for some interesting apartments in great locations that would have KEPT some much needed character that adds to the overall vitality and gives one a sense of place.

The biggest problem is there are zero incentives for developers to restore and renovate existing buildings whereas we bend over backwards for landing something "new." Heck, City Council is discussing multi-million dollar tax incentives to bring TrendMaker Homes to the Clear Lake area today. It's on the agenda. Seriously.

Ask the developers of the Commerce Towers how much demand there turned out to be for those units in a remodeled building...not enough to pay the bills.

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the problem with leasing as per commerce towers, is that management wanted far too much money for them per month.  this of course shall be in lieu of the VERY SMALL SQUARE FOOTAGE being available.  please trust me upon this!

 

Ask the developers of the Commerce Towers how much demand there turned out to be for those units in a remodeled building...not enough to pay the bills.

 


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Ask the developers of the Commerce Towers how much demand there turned out to be for those units in a remodeled building...not enough to pay the bills.

 

The problem was compounded by someone building a brightly lit parking garage across the street.  A tough thing to stomach for any luxury residential building.

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the problem with leasing as per commerce towers, is that management wanted far too much money for them per month. this of course shall be in lieu of the VERY SMALL SQUARE FOOTAGE being available. please trust me upon this!

If they could've asked for less money in order to sell, they would have. They were asking for what they needed to ask in order to make the returns owed to their equity partners and their lenders.

The problem with renovating a building is that there are many unknows, and the likelihood of going over budget and being delayed (which is worse from the financial point of view than being over budget) are greater. If you demo the building, those risks are greatly reduced.

If you have a really unique structure like the Rice hotel or the Texaco building, these risks are balanced with the expected demand of people wanting to live in such unique buildings. But for your average old building, the risks aren't worth it - purely speaking from a financial point of view.

Edited by fernz
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If you have a really unique structure like the Rice hotel or the Texaco building, these risks are balanced with the expected demand of people wanting to live in such unique buildings. But for your average old building, the risks aren't worth it - purely speaking from a financial point of view.

Yet this is done all over the country - except in Houston.  Seems to be the norm to salvage/save old structures rather than demolish them, the exception is Houston.  I think part of that problem comes from incompetance in the design community here (Houston).  Not trying to personally insult, but I've found that firms in Houston are generally clueless on proper historical restoration.  There are a few, but in general those companies are smaller and hence get left out in the cold for larger projects and jobs.  I'm not speaking to any particular project - again just generalizing.

 

And while I won't say I'm an expert, my firm does specialize in Historical Preservation and we're based in Galveston.  Most of the GC's we work with (down here) are experienced with this sort of specialized construction, same with the consulting engineers.

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In other parts of the country, the developers aren't given a choice, they are forced to renovate buildings we would not consider here, because they are not allowed to tear them down. Thus, you get semi-crappy apartments that are expensive.

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In other parts of the country, the developers aren't given a choice, they are forced to renovate buildings we would not consider here, because they are not allowed to tear them down. Thus, you get semi-crappy apartments that are expensive.

 

Plenty of buildings get saved and reused that are not protected landmarks in cities like Dallas, etc.  Some get torn down in those cities as well, but I don't think they're quite as wasteful and unresourceful as Houston is.

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As an example, the Meadows Building in Dallas, which I would say is less attractive than 3400 Montrose was, has been cared for over the years and become something of a cult classic among residents. It's an acquired taste, even for me, but the point of buildings like this is that they can add charm and variety (as well as a sense of history) to the landscape without being an architectural masterpiece.

 

Meadows_003.jpg

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The failings of the Commerce Towers are 100% on the developers. They built those things out to look like a bad HGTV suburban design cliche and then priced them way too high. 

 

I checked several units out when I first moved in and they were all awful. People in Houston aren't going to pay $600,000+ for bad flooring, awkward layouts, cheap cabinetry, electric appliances, and bathrooms that looked like a Home Depot Showroom.

 

It was clear they were either in over their heads or banking on the new "loft craze" to carry over to whatever crazy hybrid they put out. 

 

 

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The failings of the Commerce Towers are 100% on the developers. They built those things out to look like a bad HGTV suburban design cliche and then priced them way too high.

I checked several units out when I first moved in and they were all awful. People in Houston aren't going to pay $600,000+ for bad flooring, awkward layouts, cheap cabinetry, electric appliances, and bathrooms that looked like a Home Depot Showroom.

It was clear they were either in over their heads or banking on the new "loft craze" to carry over to whatever crazy hybrid they put out.

Most of those issues are indeed the developers' fault. However, the awkward layouts (as well as the ridiculous ceiling heights in some areas) are the result of renovating an existing building. Most of those units were being redesigned on the go during construction, because they kept finding odd issues like beams of uneven heights as the demo was progressing.

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The failings of the Commerce Towers are 100% on the developers. They built those things out to look like a bad HGTV suburban design cliche and then priced them way too high.

I checked several units out when I first moved in and they were all awful. People in Houston aren't going to pay $600,000+ for bad flooring, awkward layouts, cheap cabinetry, electric appliances, and bathrooms that looked like a Home Depot Showroom.

It was clear they were either in over their heads or banking on the new "loft craze" to carry over to whatever crazy hybrid they put out.

I know a bunch of people that have looked at Commerce towers (including myself). All of us did not buy or lease and some felt that the developer just missed the mark on the design, finishes, etc. That said, they do have a listing on HAR right now for $1.4m for a condo. It will be interesting to see if it sells at, or around, that price.

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Thus, you get semi-crappy apartments that are expensive.

 

Kind'a like a lot "some" of the 4-8 floor apartments here that are new.  Semi-crappy design, expensive, and will rot/sag/sway etc. with the years (like plenty around town from the last big boom), and then be eyesores without any semblance of character - rather than salvage something that could become a more unique item on the rental market.  And yes, this 30+ floor highrise could be something great, and will no doubt be a landmark for quite some time.  At least they aren't replacing a fairly substantial building with a 2x Wood Stud framed monstrosity.

 

I will admit not every mid-century building should be saved.  My argument about 3400 Montrose was that there was land - probably available in 2 directions to be had that wouldn't have required the demolition of 3400 Montrose.  Moving on...

Edited by arche_757
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If there was land, on the market, for the same value (price/location), I assure you Hanover or any developer would've bought it. However, all major sales transactions I can think of in that area had existing buildings: River Cafe, shopping center at corner of Westheimer and Montrose, 3400 Montrose.

Something tells me there is not as much clear land available as you think.

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Right.  I was being idealistic.

 

However, I have seen many a land owner sell property when they did not have it listed if the right price was there.  Sometimes folks will sell if you ask them.

 

That's all I meant.

 

Plus I really HATE that Walgreens and the ridiculous size of that tract of land on Montrose.  Just patheticI hate it!  So I can get quite passionate about using that land for anything other than a single suburban grade tilt-wall pharmacy.

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I happened to be driving East on Hawthorne yesterday and noticed that the lot is cleared and they left the basement wall that parallels Montrose up to level with grade. This wall has a ten foot hole the length of the old building behind it and steel beams supporting this wall. I'm sure this is to insure that Montrose doesn't start falling away and into this hole. My question is due to the proximity to Montrose Blvd. and hidden behind a hurricane fence with a banner hiding the hole. what is the over and under that a car ends up in the hole before the building gets out of the ground.

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That basement wall will probably be removed once construction starts sometime in August, also that metal fence that surrounds the property will also be replaced with a more better one. I know the owner of the La Colombe D' Or hotel next to the property he told me that he is considering building a 12-story-five star hotel behind his current hotel, considering he gets the financing for his project, he showed me some illustrations and plans of what his hotel would look like, its very nice and fits in well with his current hotel architecturally.

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I live a few blocks away from this and have seen the movement of heavy equipment onto the site for the first time in over 6 weeks. I was getting worried that they may have run out of money or decided against building this.

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  • 3 weeks later...

$67 Million Secured for Hanover Montrose Apartment Tower

 

http://realtynewsreport.com/2014/10/06/67-million-for-hanover-montrose-apartment-tower/

 

HOUSTON – Hanover Co., a Houston-based multifamily developer, has secured a $67 million loan to finance Hanover Montrose, a high-rise rental tower under construction at 3400 Montrose Blvd., just south of Westheimer Road in Houston.

Q10 | Kinghorn, Driver, Hough & Co. Senior Vice President Buddy Hopson secured the construction to permanent loan for the new multi-family high-rise  in the Houston’s popular inner loop. The high-rise apartment building will feature 327 units.

Financing was provided by a KDH correspondent life insurance company for Hanover.

Buddy Hopson commented, “The construction to perm loan structure allowed the borrower to lock in a lower interest rate for the long term which fit perfectly with their long term hold perspective for the property”.

Q10|Kinghorn, Driver, Hough & Co. is a Texas-based full service commercial mortgage banking company.

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