exaggerations both ways.
I love these stories, but where do these reporters live? If you aint helpin, don't stop to trash it.
^ Sounds very one-sided to me too Mbala. However, did anyone happen to notice this OpEd from the DMN a couple of days back? OUCH!
Houston Up, Dallas Down
Approaches and results show contrast
12:10 AM CST on Sunday, December 5, 2004
"We don't need help; we're capable of making dramatic economic strides downtown all by ourselves." That was the message some Dallas City Council members delivered recently to the downtown business leaders who are proposing that a semi-private development corporation help the city execute its downtown strategy. But their actions belied their words. The two-hour discussion was a meandering, unfocused replay of the council's last confab on this subject, way back in June. Team Dallas has moved the ball six inches in six months, and residents are supposed to believe that it's a powerhouse on offense?
Council member Steve Salazar responded to his colleagues' comments by suggesting that the entire council take a field trip to Houston. There they could observe the workings of the Houston Downtown Management District, created by the Texas Legislature in 1995 at the request of the city of Houston to execute planning, capital improvements and economic development in the central business district. One thing's for sure – if they go, they won't have to pack sack lunches. Fifty new restaurants, cafes, coffeehouses, bars and lounges have opened in downtown Houston in the past year, bringing the total to more than 200. And if it's facts that council members want to chew on, here are a few.
From 2000 to 2004, the value of all property in downtown Houston grew 35 percent. Downtown Dallas decreased in value by 13 percent during the same period. If downtown Dallas had done as well as downtown Houston, the city would have collected nearly $12 million more in property taxes this year. Dallas can't necessarily replicate Houston's success – for one thing, the Houston district has powers considerably greater than anything being proposed here. But surely, it's worth a look. Council members did agree to study the issue in more depth over the next 60 days. Part of that process is asking hard questions about the powers the development corporation would wield and the checks that would make sure it operates for the benefit of the entire city, not just a wealthy few. Given Dallas' history of domination by an all-white business establishment, the council cannot overlook the potential risks.
But council members must also look seriously at the potential benefits – which are real. Houston is not the only city that has used public-private corporations to produce results that, on the surface, are impressive. Examine the risks. Examine the benefits. Don't turn a blind eye to Dallas' history. But don't be blinded by that history, either.
“We shape our Cities, thereafter they shape us.”
exaggerations both ways.
I love these stories, but where do these reporters live? If you aint helpin, don't stop to trash it.
If one really wanted to, they could film the financial and energy district in downtown Houston, at night, and find NO ACTIVITY on the streets whatsover. During the day, it is bustling with business types, but at night, it's dead. In fact, in the past, Houston has also been the subject of much biased reporting, just as Dallas has experienced with this FOX report you describe. Nothing new here, just good old fashion misinformation.
I'm sure this has been posted somewhere else, but there's plenty to feast on at this site:
Say what you want about Houston - but comparing it to Dallas is silly. It's a different city with it's own geography and people and money and needs. And no matter how you spin it, Downtown Dallas has a lot of work to do. I've been working in DTD for near four years and have seen tiny baby steps (when what we really need is a major overhaul).
...having said that, the historic distric in north downtown is always packed with partyers and people dining out and such. My last count I confirmed 121 clubs, bars, lounges, and restaurants in the area, besides the ones I havent confirmed (confirmation via beer). The entire district is a block party every Friday and Saturday nightOriginally Posted by 2112
...in fact, I maintain a list of downtown destinations, which doesnt include venues that dont open at night, nor inclludes the 200 or so shops and restaurants underground in the tunnels. I havent updated since October, but here's my latest:Originally Posted by 2112
Clubs, Bars, Pubs, Restaurants
and other destinations
Total Bar/Restaurant Count: 115
NORTH DOWNTOWN HISTORIC DISTRICT:
MARKET SQUARE (14):
La Carafe (Oldest bldg. in Houston)
Cotton Exchange Bar
Les Givrals (French Vietnamese Fusion)
La Tapatia bar and grill
Market Square Bar and Grill (Great patio at back)
Treebeards Restaurant (limited hours)
CharBar (tailor by day, bar by night)
Red Cat Jazz Cafe (restaurant/bar)
Kim Son (Vietnamese)
FRANKLIN AVENUE/COMMERCE AVENUE (14):
Six Degrees Lounge (Formerly Dusk)
New Orleans Cajun Kitchen (formerly Kairo Café, U/C)
Blank Canvas (Coffee Shop/Art Gallery)
Franklin Street Coffee
V (formerly Vision, Spy)
Rehab (formerly Power Tools)
Spaghetti Warehouse (restaurant w/bar)
The Speak Easy Lounge (jukebox includes 80’s rock)
MAIN STREET (44):
(Starting North on Congress going south)
Bank: Jean Georges, Icon Hotel
The Whiskey, Icon Hotel
El Rey (Cuban/Mexican)
St. Pete’s Dancing Marlin
F2 (bar and grill)
Level Lounge (formerly Spill)
Clarks (formerly NoTsuoH)
Mia Bellas (Italian)
Live Sports Cafe
M-Bar (Previously Prague)
Club 410 (enter back of bldg.)
Saba Blue Water Cafe (restaurant and club)
Cabo (MixMexSeafood/night club)
Solero (Tapas/night club)
Jefe Bar (bar and Mexican grill, formerly Crazy Horse)
Kaveh Kanes (coffee shop)
O2 (oxygen bar)
Suade Lounge (previously Brothers Petronella)
A Karaoke Club (U/C, next to Suade)
Slainte Irish Pub (nice balcony)
Mynt (previously Club 511)
Grasshopper (Amsterdam decor)
Shay McElroy's Irish Pub
Java Coast Coffee
Sambuca Jazz Club (enter on Texas Avenue)
State Bar of Texas (enter on Travis Street)
Chipotle (Open till 10:00pm Fridays)
Café Express (limited hours)
Bossa (Cuban Bar)
Flying Saucer Draught Emporium
The Vault (previously Play, Azure)
THEATER DISTRICT/BAYOU PLACE (15):
Artista (Hobby Center)
Hard Rock Cafe (Bayou Place)
Mingalone Italian Bar & Grill (Bayou Place)
Sake Lounge (Japanese) (Bayou Place)
Slick Willies (Bayou Place)
Angelika Café and Bar (Bayou Place)
Marina Matinee Cafe, Downtown Aquarium
The Dive Lounge, Downtown Aquarium
Aquarium Restaurant, Downtown Aquarium
Bai Thong (Thai, formerly Zana)
Zin (French & Italian)
Bistro Lancaster (Lancaster Hotel)
EAST DOWNTOWN (11):
Club Go (59-Elevated@Commerce)
Irma's (limited hours)
B.U.S. (next to Minute Maid Park)
Homeplate (next to Minute Maid Park)
Ballpark Café, Inn at the Ballpark
Vic and Anthony’s Steakhouse (next to Minute Maid Park)
Skyline Grill, Hilton Americas
Spencer’s, Hilton Americas
The Café, Hilton Americas
StripHouse , Houston Center
Riviera (Latin, on Travis Street, previously Bongo)
The Sam Bar (Sam Houston Hotel-Prairie Street)
17 Restaurant (Sam Houston Hotel-Prairie Street)
Whistler’s Walk, Hyatt (American Cuisine)
Spindletop, Hyatt (revolving rooftop restaurant)
Quattro, Four Seasons
Massa’s Seafood Grill (Smith Street)
Firehouse Philly (Prairie@Fannin)
Limelight (small pub, Prairie@Fannin)
Hollywood Specialties (Prairie@Carroline)
B.U.S. (next to Toyota Center)
Dharma Café (Warehouse District)
Last Concert Café (Warehouse District)
Pappas BBQ (Pierce)
Kim Son (Jefferson@Chartress)
Drexler BBQ (2300 Pierce St.)
OTHER DOWNTOWN DESTINATIONS:
Cullen Theater, The Wortham
Brown Theater, The Wortham
Sarofim Hall, Hobby Center
Zilkha Hall, Hobby Center
Neuhaus Stage, Alley Theater
Hubbard Stage, Alley Theater
Verizon Theater, Bayou Place
Angelica Film Center, Bayou Place
Minute Maid Park
Sam Houston Hotel
Inn at the Ballpark
Renaissance Hotel (U/C)
Holiday Inn Express
George R. Brown Convention Center
Theater District and Bayou Place
Financial and Energy District
The Shops at Houston Center (over 65 retailers)
University of Houston Downtown
South Texas College of Law
Central Public Library
The Texas Room, Julia Ideson Library
Chase Tower Sky Lobby
Wells Fargo Tower Sky Lobby
Main Street Square
Hermann Square Plaza
Eleanor Tinsley Park
Sam Houston Park
The Heritage Society
Museum of Houston Heritage
Diverse Works Art Space
Atomic Café (Warehouse District)
Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau
Harris County Courts
U.S. Federal Courts
Downtown Transit Center
Granted, the list includes everything from the smallest hole-in-the-wall deli or pub to the most flambyoantly expensive venue. But you get the idea.
I think 2112 makes a point that should be underlined as it relates to Dallas, Atlanta, Phoenix, even Los Angeles:
Not very many cities actually have a 24-hour downtown from block to block and in every area of its CBD. What the older cities (like Boston, New York, Chicago, Philly) and some of the newer ones (like Tampa, Houston, Denver, Seattle) actually have are areas within their downtowns that are active, an entertainment "zone" or district, if you will. In Houston, it's the Historic and Theater districts. In Denver, it's near the 16th Street Mall area. In Chicago, it's River North. In Philly, it's along the eastern edge around Delaware Avenue and such. I don't think Dallas has THAT much to do where it can't use the West End and its environs and give it more connectivity with future growth along Main, Elm or Commerce. Granted, there won't be any baseball or football stadiums built to help the process like in Denver and Houston, but I don't think you need it either. The West End, IMO, still has lots of potential... lest it be squandered.
At the same time, DT Cleveland has Jacobs Field and the Gund Arena (is it still called that) and development has tapered off quite a bit around those venues, so you need what Dallas has in addition to that for longterm success to be realized, and that's a burgeoning, prosperous population base.
Celebrating the urban greatness of Texas: Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Austin, El Paso and Fort Worth.
Even New York is that way: Times square is bussling till 4:00am, then tapers off. During the week, its somewhat busy, but not like Saturday. When I went to Greenwich Village the last couple of times, it was no where near as packed as the touristy times square, and some areas were down right not busy at all. You almost had to know where to go to find the activity. But of course it was there, it just wasnt everywhere. (we did find some pretty active areas in the village however, after we walked a bit) And, of course there downtown itself, lower manhattan, was almost dead around wall street and such, at night that is.
The study by Powers Brown Architecture took three groupings of downtown land and investigated several models for configuration of high-density housing. The High-Rise, Mixed-Use Development (1) is centered around Main Street. The High-Rise, High-Density Development (2) is just west of the George R. Brown Convention Center. The Low-Rise, High-Density Development (3) is clustered on the south side of the Toyota Center.
The elevations show different schemes for structures
in the High-Rise, High-Density Development adjacent to
the George R. Brown Convention Center.
Envisioning a Livable City
by Stephen Sharpe
The idea of living in downtown Houston is no longer a joke.
In fact, the potential for residential development in the Central Business District has completely altered predictions for downtown over the next 20 years.
This much is clear: the era of newer, taller office towers is over. The new vision for downtown foresees high-density pockets of high-rise and mid-rise housing developments occupied by 20,000 residents by 2025.
The 2000 U.S. Census brought the future into focus. For the first time, as demonstrated by the latest federal statistics, the population inside Loop 610 grew at a higher percentage rate than the population outside the loop during the 1990s. Though surprising to many, those figures verified a trend that Houston's development community already was following. Release of the 2000 Census prompted the Houston Downtown Management District (better known as the Downtown District) to commission a survey in 2003 to update statistics from 1993 and 1998 on how Houstonians perceived the downtown area. The 2003 survey indicated that 16,400 housing units could be sold or leased in downtown and the area just to the south called Midtown. While that represented the potential for a significant upswing from the current population of 2,500 residents, the survey's findings also sent a clear message to stakeholders that the inner city was unprepared for what appeared to be Houston's next chapter.
Despite the many recent improvements and additions to downtown - including the initial 7.5-mile line of a sleek light rail transit system, a $62 million streetscape project, a 40,000-seat baseball stadium, a 1,200-room convention center hotel, and a two-venue performing arts center - much more work remained before Houston's inner city could be truly livable. (Many of those projects, completed in the last two years, grew out of ideas that emerged a decade ago from the "Designing for Change" program that teamed AIA Houston with the Downtown District.) Houston's expected evolution would require infrastructure upgrades to handle high-density residential development, as well as quality-of-life enhancements such as parks, schools, retail, and services. And with the downtown's extremely limited stock of historic buildings already converted for residential use, the need for new residential buildings was obvious.
To begin envisioning how residential development could fit into the existing urban matrix, the development community (under the auspices of Central Houston, a nonprofit coalition of businesses interested in maintaining a thriving downtown) put together six task forces and a steering committee to plot a course for the future. Guy Hagstette, AIA, an executive with Central Houston, coordinated the effort, which included the Urban Form and Urban Design Task Force. One of the members of that task force is Jeffrey Brown, AIA, a principal with Powers Brown Architecture. Brown's firm eventually was hired by Central Houston and three associated groups to undertake a series of studies to determine possible configurations for high-density, multi-structure residential developments in three areas within the CBD. Parameters varied widely for each of the three developments, but all shared some of the same requirements, such as access to public spaces, adequate parking, and proximity to mass transit. Of course, development costs would have to be minimized to ensure that those Houstonians who wanted to live downtown could afford the rent or the mortgage. As Hagstette said recently, "The challenge is getting the right product at the right price."
The study of the nine-block area west of the George R. Brown Convention Center explores different land uses, including how to incorporate an existing, privately owned greenspace located directly in front of the convention center. Brown's firm developed several potential configurations, with each preserving views west toward the center of downtown. This aspect of the project is anticipated to create 3,000 to 5,000 residential units (about 1,100 sf, with two bedrooms) in several high-rise buildings, perhaps some as tall as 40 stories. This segment of downtown is expected to be linked to other parts of downtown , as well as to the rest of the city, by a future light rail line.
Located south of the convention center and the Toyota Center basketball arena, the architects have amassed eight blocks on either side of Pease Street. The biggest challenge to residential developers is the relatively remote site, which is not included in any future plans for light rail. The low-rise structures would be limited a height of 75 feet, allowing for buildings as tall as eight floors. The number of potential residential units is 2,500 (also about 1,100 sf).
The 12-blocks on either side of Main Street at the southern end of downtown is different in that it mixes residential with offices and other types of spaces. The proposed scheme includes three or four high-rise buildings along with other mid-rise structures. The total number of residential units is 3,500. The light rail link already is in place and the neighborhood is served by two existing Metro Light Rail stations.
Rather than calling his firm's project a master plan, Brown prefers the term "a framework of development scenarios" to describe the study of aggregating blocks of private and public land into three distinct areas with specific uses. "For us the real issue became the ability of each pattern to stimulate or accommodate the variability of real market conditions," says Brown, underscoring that the study had less to do with aesthetics than efficient land us and incentives for development. The main consideration, he says, is the long-term economic viability of the future developments and the residual effects on downtown as an interconnected community.
The overarching objective of the work of the six task forces, according to Hagstette, is to plan far enough ahead for Houston - with the fourth largest population in the U.S. - to remain competitive in the international marketplace. "For Houston as a whole it has to have an urban lifestyle to compete globally," Hagstette says. The new paradigm for all U.S. cities is urban residential, he says, and Houston has set its 2050 goal at 20,000 urban residents, which city leaders consider the necessary number to sustain retail and other downtown amenities. The work so far has produced critical results - light rail, a thriving theater district, two sports arenas, the convention center hotel - that allows Houston to take the next step forward. "The vision is more exciting than what we've already done, " Hagstette says. "Now we're creating a city."
Gable Street Landing
Focus on Quality of Life
Creating a livable city involves more than developing residential blocks. The future inhabitants of downtown Houston will desire a quality of life much the same as their neighbors enjoy beyond Loop 610. Recent improvements and plans for more improvements in the near future to enhance to the downtown experience.
A $62 million streetscape project in a 90-block area stretching across the north end of downtown was completed last year that altered sidewalks to make them more pedestrian friendly, as well as adding many new on-street parking spaces. The Cotswold Project, designed by Rey de la Reza Architects, also added numerous landscaping and public art features to the street scheme that extends from Buffalo Bayou to Minute Maid Park. With water as one of the project's themes, artists created 12 fountains--eight along Preston Avenue and four on Congress Street. Sidewalks were widened to make room for the fountains, with the largest measuring 14 feet tall. Another major improvement project is intended to make Buffalo Bayou into an urban amenity. In 2002, the nonprofit Buffalo Bayou Partnership produced a master plan for 10 miles of the neglected urban waterway that is hoped to help achieve that goal.
The master plan envisions a mixed-use neighborhood at downtown's East End. Richardson Place (above) is planned to provide opportunities for varying densities of low-impact residential development flanking a wide, tree-lined pedestrian mall.
Gable Street Landing is planned as a major new entertainment district center and northern terminus to the Crawford Street "Super Boulevard." The project provides an inviting link between Buffalo Bayou's waterfront and the district around the George R. Brown Convention Center.
Another downtown project is the North Canal, which will be designed to accommodate cafés, places for watching new water-based events, and other pedestrian activities.
Wow. Killer plans.
“We shape our Cities, thereafter they shape us.”
Yea, except, will it actually happen? I sure hope so, but I would like to see it during my life span.Originally Posted by gc
There is allready a descrpancy: The sector by the convention center has allready been earmarked for an urban park, with funding and everything. But I guess a park is better than a surface lot.
Dont get me wrong, I like parks, but what we all want, both Dallas and Houston, is more dense urban residential and retail. Without the people, who will use the park?
Sorry for being so pessimistic.
There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)