COMMENT OF THE DAY: IF THE HEIGHTS LIQUOR SALES REFERENDUM GOES DOWN “I understand that data is not the plural of anecdote, but I’m pretty sure Prop F (the relaxation of prohibition in the Heights) will fail to pass. Turnout is going to be very low, especially among the demographic that would favor repealing the dry status. Also, the best argument for lifting the alcohol sales ban, getting a decent grocery store, was rendered moot by the partial repeal last year. If people want to try again, I suggest they wait until the next presidential election year, where turnout would be higher, and consider restricting the local option to food and beverage permit holders only, as a lot of the neighborhood seem to be terrified of bars opening near them.” [Angostura, commenting on EaDo for Offices; Heights Mercantile Near Capacity; Heights Liquor Laws on the Ballot Today] Illustration: Lulu
It is precisely because of the archaic prohibition laws that the dry area of the Heights has so many eclectic, cool bars. Big investors want to park their money in areas without archaic laws making it difficult to maximize profits.
If voters remove the restrictions on bars, the Heights is likely to see big money enter the nightclub scene and compete with the small, funky establishments. I hope they don’t kill the golden goose.
Whiskey River Heights, anyone?
Houston Prop F: Heights Alcohol Sales
100% of precincts reporting
For – 1,479 (60.6%)
Against – 960 (39.4%)
… and it passed by double digit margins.
Looks like I got Pauline Kael’d. Apparently every single person that voted against Prop F posted about it on nextdoor. The majority was pretty silent.
Not sure why a nightclub operator would target the Heights, where land is really expensive and the demographics aren’t really suitable. I would expect a couple of neighborhood bars to open, though. Maybe on 6th, 11th, 19th or Yale. But unless and until parking minimums go away, I don’t expect anything big.
@Ang, have you seen the big mix use apartments, bars restaurants at West Ave in Upper Kirby? That is actually what I expect to see coming in the Heights now that liquor can flow freely. Personally , I think the Heights is good for that kind of density in a big picture utilitarian sort of way. But the home owners will hate this. And I think it will cut into the eclectic bar and restaurant scene, especially if they start buying and tearing down the types of buildings renovated for use by the eclectic scene. This vote has not ended the Heights wars, but opened up new fights yet to come. The Trojan Horse has been sent through the gates and pretty soon (about a decade) the Heights is going to be unrecognizable.
I’ve been living in the Heights about 10 years, and it’s already unrecognizable from what it was then. And back then it was (thankfully) unrecognizable from what is was 10 years before that. Healthy cities evolve, and we shouldn’t assume that whatever is built on a particular piece of land will be the last thing ever built on that piece of land.
I think it’s fine to re-purpose old buildings into bars and restaurants, like 8 Row Flint or Field and Tides have done, but they tend to result in really low-density development, making walkability that much harder to attain. 8 Row only occupies about 1/4 of the land it sits on, as will the new place being built next door.
Something like West Ave would be great on a plot like the Chase bank on 19th. (I don’t think it’ll happen, because multi-family developers tend to avoid doing mixed use when they can, and Alliance already sold off the waterworks site to Braun so they can focus on the multi-family component.) Either way, I think you’re right: barring a change to the parking requirements, most bars and restaurants will be done as part of a multi-tenant development, like Heights Mercantile or the post office development, rather than as stand-alone buildings.
Yeah, when people who want to push for zoning say “Well how would you feel if a cement factory opened next door to you?” I say “Uh, they’re going to assemble multiple acres of land at $100+/sf for a cement factory? Market forces tent to push business (and homes) into areas that make sense. Business will go where there is a demand (i.e, where they’re wanted). And I trust that system more than the people I’ve seen work for CoH making those decisions