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Seems we now have the *checks notes*, tallest 6 sided building in the world.  

 

This honestly looks great, chase tower always needed some more green around it. Also like the addition of the conference room, and lobby retail. Seems like they're also renovating the sky lobby.  Definitely a great remaster of the big boy. 

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They haven't released the plans yet, but I imagine they are coming soon since construction has been underway for about a month now.  Judging by the scaffolding around the entire building, they're like

I like it a lot in it's simplicity and it's history. So I'll repeat my thoughts anytime someone calls it ugly.   Apart from it's height, you could teleport/swap it to the Shinjuku District i

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We get an upside down Pyramide du Lourve, even more steps with hand rails chopping up the plaza, and monkey grass? It's like the destroyed 5555 San Felipe/Marathon Tower sans the trees. Even they had the sense to get rid of it and it's the most suburban skyscraper we have.

 

I say Boo, Boo on Hines, and Boo on this (initially of course).

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Great news, but...

 

"Finally, the former Sky Lobby on the 60th floor will be redesigned as an exclusive “Sky Lounge” for tenants to enjoy. With comfortable, elegant furnishings and seating vignettes, tenants will be welcome to use this space as a “third place” for meetings and collaboration."

 

Looks like Houston's favorite sky lobby is closed to the public for good. Any hopes that Hines would bring back the civic sense that brought us that lobby in the first place are dashed.

 

Edited by H-Town Man
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5 hours ago, Houston19514 said:

Looks great!  I'm eager to learn who the new new tenant is.  Hopefully a relocation from out of state.

I believe the article mentions that sources say it’s JP Morgan Chase, they’ll leave the offices they have at 1111 Fannin. 

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6 minutes ago, nate4l1f3 said:

I believe the article mentions that sources say it’s JP Morgan Chase, they’ll leave the offices they have at 1111 Fannin. 

 

Huh? The building is no longer called Chase Tower...

 

Wouldn't it be weird if they had no offices in 600 Travis and its called Chase Tower... then the move offices TO Chase tower, but the tower drops their name!?

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12 minutes ago, Avossos said:

 

Huh? The building is no longer called Chase Tower...

 

Wouldn't it be weird if they had no offices in 600 Travis and its called Chase Tower... then the move offices TO Chase tower, but the tower drops their name!?

collection mind blown GIF

 

Haha looks to be the case

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24 minutes ago, nate4l1f3 said:

I believe the article mentions that sources say it’s JP Morgan Chase, they’ll leave the offices they have at 1111 Fannin. 

 

Ahhhh, that tidbit wasn't originally in the article (apparently was added in the 4:31 PM edit.)  Good catch.

 

 

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7 minutes ago, H-Town Man said:

I had a feeling this was going to be a relocation from another downtown building. Will be interesting to see if their footprint is increasing or contracting; my guess would be the latter.

 

 

Yeah, I figured that as well.  And, yes, unfortunately, most relocations (even from out of town) tend to take less space than they formerly had.  Oh well.  Still good news.

 

Bleehhhhh, it looks like they currently lease the entire building at 1111 Fannin (428,000 square feet)

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3 hours ago, Houston19514 said:

 

Yeah, I figured that as well.  And, yes, unfortunately, most relocations (even from out of town) tend to take less space than they formerly had.  Oh well.  Still good news.

 

Bleehhhhh, it looks like they currently lease the entire building at 1111 Fannin (428,000 square feet)

Edit: Nevermind, blame the covid for unclear thinking.

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53 minutes ago, Montrose1100 said:

That's bad news for One City Centre. Fingers crossed we don't get renderings for a new facade like 800 Bell.

 

It's bad news for 1111 Fannin.  Not so much for One City Centre (which is a different building, at 1021 Main).

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3 hours ago, Houston19514 said:

 

Yeah, I figured that as well.  And, yes, unfortunately, most relocations (even from out of town) tend to take less space than they formerly had.  Oh well.  Still good news.

 

Bleehhhhh, it looks like they currently lease the entire building at 1111 Fannin (428,000 square feet)

 

Costar shows them having only 348k SF at 1111 Fannin, expiring September 2021. 

 

The silver lining in 1111 Fannin getting vacated is that it could inspire a renovation, one which would help tie it in to what is going on across the street with GreenStreet.

 

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30 minutes ago, H-Town Man said:

 

Costar shows them having only 348k SF at 1111 Fannin, expiring September 2021. 

 

The silver lining in 1111 Fannin getting vacated is that it could inspire a renovation, one which would help tie it in to what is going on across the street with GreenStreet.

 

 

I was going off of this JLL listing:  https://www.us.jll.com/en/investorcenter/office/1111-fannin-houston-tx-unitedstates

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16 hours ago, H-Town Man said:

 

Costar shows them having only 348k SF at 1111 Fannin, expiring September 2021. 

 

The silver lining in 1111 Fannin getting vacated is that it could inspire a renovation, one which would help tie it in to what is going on across the street with GreenStreet.

 

I agree 1111 Fannin being vacated may be the bigger story. However in my opinion, the real silver lining is that the current owner buys distressed assets and I believe got this on the cheap a few years back after the previous owner defaulted on its loan.  I'd bet this will be put on the market in the not too distant future and be picked up by a major developer *cough Hines *cough.  This is one of the most desirable locations for development in CBD with its proximity to Greenstreet, Red Line station, Houston Center, Discovery Green, and Skanska mixed-use among several others.  To me this has building demo and Hines next masterpiece written all over it.

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1 hour ago, CREguy13 said:

I agree 1111 Fannin being vacated may be the bigger story. However in my opinion, the real silver lining is that the current owner buys distressed assets and I believe got this on the cheap a few years back after the previous owner defaulted on its loan.  I'd bet this will be put on the market in the not too distant future and be picked up by a major developer *cough Hines *cough.  This is one of the most desirable locations for development in CBD with its proximity to Greenstreet, Red Line station, Houston Center, Discovery Green, and Skanska mixed-use among several others.  To me this has building demo and Hines next masterpiece written all over it.

 

The sale price in 2018 was $52 million, although apparently not arm's-length, but likely near the value. That comes to around $875 a foot of land, which is still far away from demolition territory - I think Skanska paid around $300/SF for their blocks. And demo would cost a lot for this building. I also don't think this part of downtown is that hot due to the homeless and lots of Class B buildings. Greenstreet has yet to show real signs of life and the attempted redevelopment of the Sakowitz garage went nowhere. You still have ugly food stores in mummified buildings on Main. This building could be some sort of innovation incubator, but downtown might be getting maxed out on those. Someone is going to have to get creative.

 

I don't understand why JPMorgan would put their back offices in a building like this, then bring them back to the tallest building in the city and demand a renovation. What are they doing? Has the area slipped that much that they can make a quality jump like that?

 

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1 hour ago, H-Town Man said:

 

The sale price in 2018 was $52 million, although apparently not arm's-length, but likely near the value. That comes to around $875 a foot of land, which is still far away from demolition territory - I think Skanska paid around $300/SF for their blocks. And demo would cost a lot for this building. I also don't think this part of downtown is that hot due to the homeless and lots of Class B buildings. Greenstreet has yet to show real signs of life and the attempted redevelopment of the Sakowitz garage went nowhere. You still have ugly food stores in mummified buildings on Main. This building could be some sort of innovation incubator, but downtown might be getting maxed out on those. Someone is going to have to get creative.

 

I don't understand why JPMorgan would put their back offices in a building like this, then bring them back to the tallest building in the city and demand a renovation. What are they doing? Has the area slipped that much that they can make a quality jump like that?

 

I may be thinking this because of my recent post about the storm damaged Chase Tower in reference to the looks of the Arabella, but did they move offices to 1111 Fannin after Hurricane Ike blew out a lot of the windows and ravaged the interiors? The timing seems like it could be about right but I honestly have no clue. Either way it looks like Chase regretted the move from the tallest building in the city to 1111 Fannin (for obvious reasons). My guess is that Hines courted Chase (and probably others) by dangling this renovation in front of them rather than the prospective new tenants demanding it...

Edited by J.A.
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11 minutes ago, J.A. said:

I may be thinking this because of my recent post about the storm damaged Chase Tower in reference to the looks of the Arabella, but did they move offices to 1111 Fannin after Hurricane Ike blew out a lot of the windows and ravaged the interiors? The timing seems like it could be about right but I honestly have no clue. Either way it looks like Chase regretted the move from the tallest building in the city to 1111 Fannin (for obvious reasons). My guess is that Hines courted Chase (and probably others) by dangling this renovation in front of them rather than the prospective new tenants demanding it...

 

I tend to look at leases as, if there is a renovation or significant TI allowance, it was demanded by the tenant. If it was needed to get the deal done, there is no difference between that and a demand. Just like Tesla is right now demanding that Travis County and state government fork over tax credits.

 

Interesting about Hurricane Ike, I did not realize that. Is Locke Liddell & Sapp (or whatever they're called now) still a major tenant there?

 

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1 hour ago, H-Town Man said:

 

I tend to look at leases as, if there is a renovation or significant TI allowance, it was demanded by the tenant. If it was needed to get the deal done, there is no difference between that and a demand. Just like Tesla is right now demanding that Travis County and state government fork over tax credits.

 

Interesting about Hurricane Ike, I did not realize that. Is Locke Liddell & Sapp (or whatever they're called now) still a major tenant there?

 

100% True: High end tenants are demanding better buildings. And I'm glad they are so we get to see all the transformative renovations their demands are leading to all over downtown: Allen Center, Houston Center, and I guess to some extent... 700 Louisiana (disappointed in that one). I wonder if in turn Hines, Brookfield etc. aren't also demanding higher rent, though?

 

Quick google search: Locke Liddell & Sapp now appears to be Locke Lord still in Chase Tower.

 

On another note: I like where this renovation is going overall but I wonder about the little covered area ('expanded canopy' ?) facing the Travis/Capitol intersection. There's no good rendered view of it, yet... But, right now it seems like it could look diminutive and tacked on abutted as it is directly to a building that slams all of its 75 floors from top to bottom directly into the ground without any setbacks. Wouldn't a retail pavilion similar in concept to what they're doing at Texas Tower be better? Or would that compete with the Louvre (but really Pennzoil Place) referencing lobby addition? When I worked in the Pennzoil building several years back, only smokers, cabbies, and the occasional cell phone user were ever in Chase Tower plaza (and only in the shaded area). Hopefully, this goes far enough to change that.

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3 minutes ago, J.A. said:

On another note: I like where this renovation is going overall but I wonder about the little covered area ('expanded canopy' ?) facing the Travis/Capitol intersection. There's no good rendered view of it, yet... But, right now it seems like it could look diminutive and tacked on abutted as it is directly to a building that slams all of its 75 floors from top to bottom directly into the ground without any setbacks. Wouldn't a retail pavilion similar in concept to what they're doing at Texas Tower be better? Or would that compete with the Louvre (but really Pennzoil Place) referencing lobby addition? When I worked in the Pennzoil building several years back, only smokers, cabbies, and the occasional cell phone user were ever in Chase Tower plaza (and only in the shaded area). Hopefully, this goes far enough to change that.

 

It is also the main hangout spot for downtown bike couriers, or was last time I checked. The blue collar use of the plaza might be in danger now that the white collar folks have decided they can handle going outside where there's no air-conditioning, loud street noises, people who don't look like them, etc. But as this and other renovations show, tenants will not emerge from the building unless there is a very nice outdoor plaza with a strong sense of separation between their space and the public space, sort of like the adult version of the old McDonald's playgrounds. It is really the private environment extended outdoors rather than a public environment. But it will look nice, and non-tenants like myself will traipse through.

 

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On 7/14/2020 at 9:10 AM, H-Town Man said:

Great news, but...

 

"Finally, the former Sky Lobby on the 60th floor will be redesigned as an exclusive “Sky Lounge” for tenants to enjoy. With comfortable, elegant furnishings and seating vignettes, tenants will be welcome to use this space as a “third place” for meetings and collaboration."

 

Looks like Houston's favorite sky lobby is closed to the public for good. Any hopes that Hines would bring back the civic sense that brought us that lobby in the first place are dashed.

 

 

As a tenant myself during the peak, and at the time of the closure to the public, it was for the best that it was closed.

 

I wish there were a way to accommodate the public. when I first started working there it was maybe 2 or 3 families would stop for lunch in the tunnels, and visit the sky lobby each day. spring break week it would go up to maybe 10 families a day. as a tenant, it was kind of fun to be around that.

 

then things changed.

 

at the peak (which was when they closed it), every single one of the open air tour buses had it as a stop on their tour. at least once an hour the lobby (main, and sky) were packed with 30 odd tourists, and 3 elevator car rides later, you maybe could pack in to get to your floor. plus all the random people who would just walk in and go up. it went from being fun to being torturous. getting back from lunch was a crap shoot whether I'd be late for a meeting, tourists who felt entitled to the elevator because they paid some tour guide for the experience, and they want to go up as a group so they don't get separated from their family.

 

Hines tried to play nice by first saying "no tour groups" but then the tour groups would go look at the sculpture, then the group leader would set 30 minutes of 'free time' to 'explore'. which made it even worse cause rather than having a semi organized group of people packing into the elevators, you'd have smaller disorganized groups of tourists keeping the elevators completely packed, and again, they were all entitled to that ride because they paid their tour guide for the experience. never mind my company paid tens of thousands per month for the experience of being treated like shit by tourists who were actually getting a free ride to the sky lobby.

 

the tour groups made sure that public access to the sky lobby wasn't a tenable thing. 

 

I mean, you tell me, you're a tenant paying (I'm guessing) $40/sf to be on the 65th floor. if you have a client come to visit for a meeting, they have to wait 5 minutes to get on an elevator, and then they are crammed together with smelly tourists, does that leave a good impression? if you have to cut your lunch short every day just so you can account for the tour groups slowing down your access to your office, what do you do?

 

Hines made the best choice for their tenants, it would have been awesome if the lobby had remained a 'hidden gem' that no one knew about, but once word really started to spread, it was only a matter of time before this really cool thing was shut down.

 

it would have been cool if there were a 10 person limit or whatever, but then hines has to pay someone (probably 2 or 3 people) to do that as their full time job, and it is simpler to just shut down the whole thing.

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33 minutes ago, samagon said:

 

As a tenant myself during the peak, and at the time of the closure to the public, it was for the best that it was closed.

 

I wish there were a way to accommodate the public. when I first started working there it was maybe 2 or 3 families would stop for lunch in the tunnels, and visit the sky lobby each day. spring break week it would go up to maybe 10 families a day. as a tenant, it was kind of fun to be around that.

 

then things changed.

 

at the peak (which was when they closed it), every single one of the open air tour buses had it as a stop on their tour. at least once an hour the lobby (main, and sky) were packed with 30 odd tourists, and 3 elevator car rides later, you maybe could pack in to get to your floor. plus all the random people who would just walk in and go up. it went from being fun to being torturous. getting back from lunch was a crap shoot whether I'd be late for a meeting, tourists who felt entitled to the elevator because they paid some tour guide for the experience, and they want to go up as a group so they don't get separated from their family.

 

Hines tried to play nice by first saying "no tour groups" but then the tour groups would go look at the sculpture, then the group leader would set 30 minutes of 'free time' to 'explore'. which made it even worse cause rather than having a semi organized group of people packing into the elevators, you'd have smaller disorganized groups of tourists keeping the elevators completely packed, and again, they were all entitled to that ride because they paid their tour guide for the experience. never mind my company paid tens of thousands per month for the experience of being treated like shit by tourists who were actually getting a free ride to the sky lobby.

 

the tour groups made sure that public access to the sky lobby wasn't a tenable thing. 

 

I mean, you tell me, you're a tenant paying (I'm guessing) $40/sf to be on the 65th floor. if you have a client come to visit for a meeting, they have to wait 5 minutes to get on an elevator, and then they are crammed together with smelly tourists, does that leave a good impression? if you have to cut your lunch short every day just so you can account for the tour groups slowing down your access to your office, what do you do?

 

Hines made the best choice for their tenants, it would have been awesome if the lobby had remained a 'hidden gem' that no one knew about, but once word really started to spread, it was only a matter of time before this really cool thing was shut down.

 

it would have been cool if there were a 10 person limit or whatever, but then hines has to pay someone (probably 2 or 3 people) to do that as their full time job, and it is simpler to just shut down the whole thing.

 

Thanks for giving us an inside perspective. I have a little trouble believing that those elevators are all crowded. As I recall, there is an entire row of very spacious elevators that go straight from the Lobby to the 60th floor with no stops. Every time I've ever been in there, I usually had my pick of several near-empty elevators. Are there that many open air tour buses in downtown Houston? That is a welcome new development, but I'm having trouble picturing it.

 

Also, your comment about "smelly tourists" raises eyebrows. So some guy in shorts and a polo has such bad b.o. that it actually transfers to a tenant and ruins his presentation? I call b.s. It sounds like more of a class issue. Tenants just can't stand it that people from a different social stratum are walking into their building. They like their country club atmosphere.

 

This, by the way, is the real thing Houston lacks in terms of urbanism. It's not population density. It's public culture. Not having everything so private and exclusive. It's why a city like Austin with much lower population density feels more urban. All the good things to do in Austin are public things, and there's more of them, because people don't live behind gates and then fuss when their work and play environments aren't equally exclusive. Same with Boston or NY. They aren't addled with the Southern exclusive mentality.

 

 

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2 hours ago, H-Town Man said:

 

Thanks for giving us an inside perspective. I have a little trouble believing that those elevators are all crowded. As I recall, there is an entire row of very spacious elevators that go straight from the Lobby to the 60th floor with no stops. Every time I've ever been in there, I usually had my pick of several near-empty elevators. Are there that many open air tour buses in downtown Houston? That is a welcome new development, but I'm having trouble picturing it.

 

Also, your comment about "smelly tourists" raises eyebrows. So some guy in shorts and a polo has such bad b.o. that it actually transfers to a tenant and ruins his presentation? I call b.s. It sounds like more of a class issue. Tenants just can't stand it that people from a different social stratum are walking into their building. They like their country club atmosphere.

 

This, by the way, is the real thing Houston lacks in terms of urbanism. It's not population density. It's public culture. Not having everything so private and exclusive. It's why a city like Austin with much lower population density feels more urban. All the good things to do in Austin are public things, and there's more of them, because people don't live behind gates and then fuss when their work and play environments aren't equally exclusive. Same with Boston or NY. They aren't addled with the Southern exclusive mentality.

 

 

 

I would agree Houston needs to do better in the public realm however I disagree with you using NYC as an example.They are notorious for exclusivity and class segregation. Exclusive buildings, clubs (think Yacht, Yale, etc),  and even have a park that requires a key so only residents surrounding it can access it. The buildings that do have observation decks have dedicated entrances and spaces so tourist do not co mingle with the actual tenants of the building. If you ever try to go to one of the other entrances of said building prepare to meet the wrath of god from a private security officer. I've also never met an NYC resident that though fondly of tourists. I have friends (not rich) that live there that won't go within block of the "tourist" areas. 

 

While I never saw 30 people up there I did notice over time that it was more and more crowded. At my tower downtown when 50%+ of the building is trying to use the elevator (morning, lunch, 5-6pm) elevators become packed and you even have to wait for the 3rd or 4th elevator to finally get down or up. I really wish the sky lobby could be open to the public but the truth of the matter is it was never really intended for that. If it were they would have built dedicated elevators and space so the actual building tenants were not disturbed. 

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1 hour ago, urbanize713 said:

 

I would agree Houston needs to do better in the public realm however I disagree with you using NYC as an example.They are notorious for exclusivity and class segregation. Exclusive buildings, clubs (think Yacht, Yale, etc),  and even have a park that requires a key so only residents surrounding it can access it. The buildings that do have observation decks have dedicated entrances and spaces so tourist do not co mingle with the actual tenants of the building. If you ever try to go to one of the other entrances of said building prepare to meet the wrath of god from a private security officer. I've also never met an NYC resident that though fondly of tourists. I have friends (not rich) that live there that won't go within block of the "tourist" areas. 

 

While I never saw 30 people up there I did notice over time that it was more and more crowded. At my tower downtown when 50%+ of the building is trying to use the elevator (morning, lunch, 5-6pm) elevators become packed and you even have to wait for the 3rd or 4th elevator to finally get down or up. I really wish the sky lobby could be open to the public but the truth of the matter is it was never really intended for that. If it were they would have built dedicated elevators and space so the actual building tenants were not disturbed. 

 

Yes, it was intended to be open to the public. That's why they put the row of elevators going to the 60th floor right up near the entrance. It was also a tradition in Houston for the tallest building to have an observation deck - the Humble building had one, and before that the Gulf building had one.

 

As for New York, the Empire State Building has so many thousands of tourists visiting each day that of course it has a separate entrance for them. You mention the one park that is private (Gramercy) without mentioning the hundreds of public parks, which set the standard for bringing great landscapes to the urban masses back in the 19th century. Houstonians live in their lawns and generally scoff at large park budgets; New Yorkers live in their parks, which are lavishly planned, landscaped, and ornamented with bridges, stone walkways, balustrades, etc. There are few or no skybridges or tunnels between buildings in New York; workers walk on the sidewalk with everyone else. And you can't close sidewalks for construction projects like you can in Houston; the public won't allow it. You can see millionaires on buses in New York in the Upper West and Upper East Sides, whereas most millionaires in Houston would never set foot on a bus. The libraries in New York are built like palaces for the people, as are the train stations, post offices, government buildings, etc. In Houston people screamed for forty years about the "Taj Mahal of Houston" because H.I.S.D. built a nice headquarters for itself; more recently people howled when a $40,000 custom-built front desk was installed in the lobby of City Hall. Of course you can find some anti-tourist and anti-public sentiment in New York but that is the result of the balance already being tilted way further in the public direction than probably any other U.S. city except maybe D.C.

 

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I was not aware of this tradition for the tallest building in Houston? Is there something you can reference?  

 

It is not just the ESB, it is the WTC, Rockefeller, Hudson Yards, Sears/Williams, Hancock and other international towers I have visited. They all have dedicated elevators and spaces. 

 

I will agree there are many other parks but not hundreds. At the same time they were not all built at once. NY has 200+ years on Houston. I am guessing that as time progresses we will also have more green spaces. You call it "bluing" of the city, I would just call it a city changing and people evolving without labeling it anything. That is what happens over time. 

 

I think you underestimate how many millionaires ride buses from the suburbs to downtown similar to how many millionaires ride commuter trains from the suburbs in to NY. This s now veering off the point though along with some of the other comments you made. With that said I digress, I wish it were public but unfortunately it is privately owned so what I think does not much matter. 

 

If there is truly that much interest we should build a groundswell and petition (not demand) Hines continue adding to our city and their reputation by re configuring an observation deck in one of our existing towers. Sell it on them making money over time and it being an additional attraction to the city. I believe I once saw such a plan for 1000 Louisiana. 

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44 minutes ago, urbanize713 said:

I was not aware of this tradition for the tallest building in Houston? Is there something you can reference?  

 

It is not just the ESB, it is the WTC, Rockefeller, Hudson Yards, Sears/Williams, Hancock and other international towers I have visited. They all have dedicated elevators and spaces. 

 

I will agree there are many other parks but not hundreds. At the same time they were not all built at once. NY has 200+ years on Houston. I am guessing that as time progresses we will also have more green spaces. You call it "bluing" of the city, I would just call it a city changing and people evolving without labeling it anything. That is what happens over time. 

 

I think you underestimate how many millionaires ride buses from the suburbs to downtown similar to how many millionaires ride commuter trains from the suburbs in to NY. This s now veering off the point though along with some of the other comments you made. With that said I digress, I wish it were public but unfortunately it is privately owned so what I think does not much matter. 

 

If there is truly that much interest we should build a groundswell and petition (not demand) Hines continue adding to our city and their reputation by re configuring an observation deck in one of our existing towers. Sell it on them making money over time and it being an additional attraction to the city. I believe I once saw such a plan for 1000 Louisiana. 

 

I referenced three buildings that, cumulatively, have held the title of "tallest building in Houston" for the better part of a century. No, there is not a dedicated entrance for visitors to the observation deck, but there is a row of elevators very prominently placed near the entrance. We are not a tourist city with the kind of volumes of visitors of the cities you mentioned, and the building never charged admission, hence no special tourist entrance. 1000 Louisiana and the Humble Building also did not have special tourist entrances or charge admission, although the observation deck at the Humble Building had a cool machine that would flatten a penny and print a picture of the Humble Building on it.

 

This is not a function of the difference in age between New York and Houston, it is a social difference that has to do with New York's European immigrant heritage vs. Houston's heritage of people who largely came off the land in rural Texas as agricultural machinery replaced the rural labor force. Houston has traditionally been run by a benevolent oligarchy of business leaders/prominent citizens with a docile public while New York was more of a social democracy with an activist-led public that made demands and got them. Houston is just starting to develop a strong body politic. I do not say this to favor one system over the other; both have much that can be said both good and bad. New York made a strong commitment to public parks in the 1850's with the construction of Central Park, which was unprecedented in the world as a park for the people.

 

I lied when I said New York had "hundreds" of parks; it actually has 1,700. Houston commissioned a plan in 1913 for a public park system; the Arthur Comey plan recommended turning the bayous into parks. Nothing was done about it. We got Sam Houston Park in the early 1900's and luckily Hermann Park a bit later, but Hermann Park was robbed of roughly a third of its land over time and generally languished until the 1990's when Friends of Hermann Park decided to make it something nice and began to raise private funds. Buffalo Bayou finally started receiving piecemeal improvements in 1986; all of the other bayous, which Comey called Houston's only distinctive geographic feature, were paved. Memorial Park is just now  becoming something more than it has been, which was essentially a forest preserve with some sports fields and a jogging trail. And we have finally discovered that urban block parks can be a useful feature that generates tourism and development rather than a residence for the homeless, although the latter mindset is still alive and well, as one discovers when talking to nearly any baby-boomer.

 

I'll reiterate: New Yorkers have traditionally lived in their parks, while Houstonians have lived in their lawns (really in their homes while looking at their lawns), and it's your fault if you can't afford a nice lawn. This is a difference in public vs. private mentality.

 

Edited by H-Town Man
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I am glad you mentioned both systems are good and bad. However, age is important for one reason, technology. More specifically vehicles. By the time personal cars came around NY had been established for 200 years. The decreased demand for train travel  even led to destruction of one of NY's greatest public spaces, Penn Station. 

 

As for Houston's parks? I agree with you. They are getting better every day and we are getting even more. In fact I live in front of Midtown park and I can say it meticulously  maintained and used by many that live around it! Unfortunately there is also a homeless problem but that is not unique to Houston. 

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1 hour ago, H-Town Man said:

the observation deck at the Humble Building had a cool machine that would flatten a penny and print a picture of the Humble Building on it.

 

I never saw the penny-flattening machine there - the only one I've ever run across was at Coit Tower in San Francisco. But the Humble Building observation deck did have a Mold-A-Rama machine for some time, which would produce an injection-molded plastic replica of the building as you watched. Those replicas are now quite scarce and coveted by Mold-A-Rama collectors. As many of them as that machine cranked out over the years it was in operation, you'd think that they would be far more common than they are.  

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Those buildings in NYC have separate entrances for tourists because they have much-hyped observation decks.  The separate elevators shuttle tourists up there without interfering with tenant operations. They also charge admission.

The one at 600 Travis wasn't a problem until the open air buses started bringing large crowds to the observation deck.

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13 hours ago, mkultra25 said:

 

I never saw the penny-flattening machine there - the only one I've ever run across was at Coit Tower in San Francisco. But the Humble Building observation deck did have a Mold-A-Rama machine for some time, which would produce an injection-molded plastic replica of the building as you watched. Those replicas are now quite scarce and coveted by Mold-A-Rama collectors. As many of them as that machine cranked out over the years it was in operation, you'd think that they would be far more common than they are.  

 

I probably had a couple wires crossed. That's what it was.

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I think Houston does have a very recognizable skyline. sure we don't have a space needle, or a statue of liberty, but we've got a Bank of America building, or whatever it will be called, we have a Heritage Plaza, we have a Continental Building, or Enron Tower, or whatever they are called now.

 

Houston is recognizable.

 

I think post HTX has the opportunity to be something great in the (go high up and look at Houston) type of space for Houston. BBMP for the west of Houston has done really great things for people doing things near downtown. maybe in time the KBR site, plus the BBMP for the east end will have an impact.

 

end of the day, it is the responsibility of Hines to have happy tenants, it was the tenants that asked for the observation deck to be closed to the public.

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On 7/24/2020 at 3:34 PM, urbanize713 said:

I believe I once saw such a plan for 1000 Louisiana. 


Yeah there was a plan floating around probably a decade (or more?) ago for making a rooftop observation deck on Wells Fargo with glass bottom floor that extended out past the edge where the offset/set back walls in the $ are. 
I would love for that to get brought back, but I doubt that’s much of a priority.

I didn’t realize those tour busses made the Chase tower observation deck a stop 😳. No wonder they closed it. I would occasionally take friends or family up there who’d never been/didn’t know about it, and noticed it getting busier each time. Someone high up with Hines that I spoke with on a tour of 609 Main after it topped out confirmed that they shut it down due to too many complaints from tenants about the lobby/elevators getting crowded with visitors.

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10 hours ago, cloud713 said:


Yeah there was a plan floating around probably a decade (or more?) ago for making a rooftop observation deck on Wells Fargo with glass bottom floor that extended out past the edge where the offset/set back walls in the $ are. 
I would love for that to get brought back, but I doubt that’s much of a priority.

I didn’t realize those tour busses made the Chase tower observation deck a stop 😳. No wonder they closed it. I would occasionally take friends or family up there who’d never been/didn’t know about it, and noticed it getting busier each time. Someone high up with Hines that I spoke with on a tour of 609 Main after it topped out confirmed that they shut it down due to too many complaints from tenants about the lobby/elevators getting crowded with visitors.

 

Can someone tell me more about these tour buses? I only get to Houston about once a year these days. Has there been an explosion of local tourism such that we now have lots of tour buses or are these national tours that are stopping in Houston?

 

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https://experience.visithouston.com/checkout/3/visit-houston/8/houston-marketplace/product/4362/houston-city-tour

 

is one.

 

I suspect they are a lot less frequent during current events.

 

but yeah, it's odd to me, but then I've lived in Houston and have lived and worked 1/4 of my life in and around downtown. I'm sure there's things I might learn on this kind of tour, but it just doesn't seem to be that interesting.

 

I have to wonder, if I lived in Paris and worked/lived near the Eiffel tower, would I have the same feelings about tours of Paris? 

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On 7/24/2020 at 11:00 AM, H-Town Man said:

 

Thanks for giving us an inside perspective. I have a little trouble believing that those elevators are all crowded. As I recall, there is an entire row of very spacious elevators that go straight from the Lobby to the 60th floor with no stops. Every time I've ever been in there, I usually had my pick of several near-empty elevators. Are there that many open air tour buses in downtown Houston? That is a welcome new development, but I'm having trouble picturing it.

 

Also, your comment about "smelly tourists" raises eyebrows. So some guy in shorts and a polo has such bad b.o. that it actually transfers to a tenant and ruins his presentation? I call b.s. It sounds like more of a class issue. Tenants just can't stand it that people from a different social stratum are walking into their building. They like their country club atmosphere.

 

This, by the way, is the real thing Houston lacks in terms of urbanism. It's not population density. It's public culture. Not having everything so private and exclusive. It's why a city like Austin with much lower population density feels more urban. All the good things to do in Austin are public things, and there's more of them, because people don't live behind gates and then fuss when their work and play environments aren't equally exclusive. Same with Boston or NY. They aren't addled with the Southern exclusive mentality.

 

 

 

Sorry to take this thread further off course, but I'm curious about this.   What are all the good things in Austin that are public that differentiate it from Houston?

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1 hour ago, Houston19514 said:

 

Sorry to take this thread further off course, but I'm curious about this.   What are all the good things in Austin that are public that differentiate it from Houston?

 

Much higher amount of park space per capita and stronger usage of that space. Venues like Barton Springs, Deep Eddy Pool much more strongly attended, resulting in long lines or even reservations required for admittance (in Houston, public pools are generally "for the poor"). Much greater devotion to public festivals and events like the ABC Kite Fest, Eeyore's Birthday, Trail of Lights, Bat Fest, Pecan Street Festival, etc. It is typical in Austin to hear people talking about something being "an Austin thing" which a newcomer "should do to get to know Austin," whereas there is very little discussion of "Houston things" in Houston, and when you do bring it up, someone usually looks at you strange and says, "So, are you like a big Houston promoter?" Also, many more places in Austin where people can be seen walking on sidewalks and congregating in public. 

 

I'm kind of surprised you didn't pounce on that comment sooner.

 

Edited by H-Town Man
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I'm guessing these are glass mockups for the pyramid canopy?  For reference the top picture was 8 am this morning and the bottom photo was from 6 pm last night.

 

md1gQYa.jpg

 

ETKPRUE.jpg

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22 hours ago, H-Town Man said:

 

Much higher amount of park space per capita and stronger usage of that space.

 

 

I'd like to know where you got your data for the first part of the statement. as most sources are pretty consistent that Houston ranks higher than Austin in park land per capita.

 

Houston:

Green space per capita: 41,514 sq. ft.

 

Austin:

Green space per capita: 2,978 sq. ft.

 

bigger is better. Houston kills Austin. it's not even close.

 

https://www.chron.com/lifestyle/article/Cities-with-the-most-green-space-per-capita-14186518.php#photo-17951832

 

 

for reference to San Antonio and Dallas (the other big cities in Texas):

 

Dallas:

Green space per capita: 9,637 sq. ft.

 

San Antonio:

Green space per capita: 3,172 sq. ft.

 

before you say that you reference, 'park space' but the article references 'green space', we are up in that metric as well.

 

Houston:

27 acres of park land per 1000 residents

 

Austin:

18 acres of park land per 1000 residents

 

so, no. Austin still isn't even close to Houston.

 

http://www.greenhoustontx.gov/greenspace.html#:~:text=Houston%20's%2027.2%20acres%20per,18.8%20acres%20per%201%2C000%20residents.

http://blairfieldrealty.com/2018/03/austin-parks-need-us-more-than-ever/

 

you can't even say that areas just outside of Austin include more public land for use. there's the Sam Houston national forest up in Conroe, there's Brazos Bend, there's so many wildlife refuges along the gulf coast. all of these offer great hiking, and outdoor activities, all are within an hour or so drive of Houston. although I'm not sure there's any way to validate these claims.

 

usage of the space, there's no way you can verify that. I'm sure since Austin has fewer parks the formatting they do have is more magnified than it is for Houston. can you cite any references for the formatting for ALL of Houston's parks vs the formatting for ALL of Austin's parks?

 

a good read:

https://www.texasmonthly.com/the-culture/green-acres-2/

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29 minutes ago, samagon said:

 

I'd like to know where you got your data for the first part of the statement. as most sources are pretty consistent that Houston ranks higher than Austin in park land per capita.

 

Houston:

Green space per capita: 41,514 sq. ft.

 

Austin:

Green space per capita: 2,978 sq. ft.

 

bigger is better. Houston kills Austin. it's not even close.

 

https://www.chron.com/lifestyle/article/Cities-with-the-most-green-space-per-capita-14186518.php#photo-17951832

 

 

for reference to San Antonio and Dallas (the other big cities in Texas):

 

Dallas:

Green space per capita: 9,637 sq. ft.

 

San Antonio:

Green space per capita: 3,172 sq. ft.

 

before you say that you reference, 'park space' but the article references 'green space', we are up in that metric as well.

 

Houston:

27 acres of park land per 1000 residents

 

Austin:

18 acres of park land per 1000 residents

 

so, no. Austin still isn't even close to Houston.

 

http://www.greenhoustontx.gov/greenspace.html#:~:text=Houston%20's%2027.2%20acres%20per,18.8%20acres%20per%201%2C000%20residents.

http://blairfieldrealty.com/2018/03/austin-parks-need-us-more-than-ever/

 

you can't even say that areas just outside of Austin include more public land for use. there's the Sam Houston national forest up in Conroe, there's Brazos Bend, there's so many wildlife refuges along the gulf coast. all of these offer great hiking, and outdoor activities, all are within an hour or so drive of Houston. although I'm not sure there's any way to validate these claims.

 

usage of the space, there's no way you can verify that. I'm sure since Austin has fewer parks the formatting they do have is more magnified than it is for Houston. can you cite any references for the formatting for ALL of Houston's parks vs the formatting for ALL of Austin's parks?

 

I think Houston has caught up in per capita space in recent years after it was identified as a black eye in our image some years back. It is likely that they are doing some creative accounting of land along the bayous as parkland even if not developed with trails. The Trust for Public Land has a ranking system based on multiple factors and we rank significantly lower:

https://www.tpl.org/parkscore

 

I'm not really interested in getting into a huge duel over this; having lived in both cities, I am comfortable enough in my understanding of matters that I don't really care if people disagree. Houston has come a long way in the past twenty years and you might say is "gaining," but parks have nowhere near the same place in the consciousness of the average Houstonian. If you polled people across Houston and asked them which city parks they could name, most respondents could probably identify Hermann Park, Memorial Park, Buffalo Bayou Park, and a park or two near where they live. If you took the same poll in Austin, most people would identify Zilker Park, Emma Long Park, the Lake Ladybird park and trail, the Greenbelt, Mount Bonnell, the parks along Bull Creek, and the parks around Lake Travis, plus parks near where they live. And they would be more likely to have been to these parks in the past year.

 

Edit: It looks like we added 4,700 acres by making Lake Houston Wilderness Park a part of our city park system, even though it's out in New Caney, and also boosted our acreage by counting the two reservoirs in west Houston as parkland. This was clever on our part but makes acreage-to-acreage comparisons unreliable.

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sure. if we were doing a family feud style show, and they asked "what is Houston known for".

 

nasa, driving, human diversity, restaurant diversity. these would probably be the top of the list, and park land probably wouldn't be on the list, but that is a marketing issue.

 

in my escapades across the internet when I was sourcing the data above I found a site that referenced that about $30 annually comes out of each persons taxes for parks. Austin is at $60. in other words, we could stand to spend a bit more in awareness, and amenities. but then, I think a lot of Houston's park money comes from endowments, not taxes. so the parks are designed more in a way to cater towards the vision of those granting the endowments.

 

the Texas Monthly article I posted is actually a good read.

 

you may not want to get into a debate over it, which is fine, you can't really debate facts, I was just pointing out that the information you were swinging around as facts was not actually factual data.

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1 hour ago, samagon said:

sure. if we were doing a family feud style show, and they asked "what is Houston known for".

 

nasa, driving, human diversity, restaurant diversity. these would probably be the top of the list, and park land probably wouldn't be on the list, but that is a marketing issue.

 

in my escapades across the internet when I was sourcing the data above I found a site that referenced that about $30 annually comes out of each persons taxes for parks. Austin is at $60. in other words, we could stand to spend a bit more in awareness, and amenities. but then, I think a lot of Houston's park money comes from endowments, not taxes. so the parks are designed more in a way to cater towards the vision of those granting the endowments.

 

the Texas Monthly article I posted is actually a good read.

 

you may not want to get into a debate over it, which is fine, you can't really debate facts, I was just pointing out that the information you were swinging around as facts was not actually factual data.

 

If Austinites are spending twice as many tax dollars per capita on parks as we are, that's probably a more relevant fact than the acres per capita, which is inflated for Houston as I discussed in my previous post. It is true that we get a lot of park money from private donors like the Kinder family or Houston Endowment, but that is not as indicative of public interest in parks as is taxpayer willingness to spend. 

 

I read the Texas Monthly article when it came out a couple years ago.

 

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