The World’s Tallest Watercoaster for Galveston; 1920s Schlumberger Building To Be Shopped Around

Lancaster Hotel and Calpine Center, Louisiana St., Downtown, Houston, 77002

Photo of the Lancaster Hotel and Calpine Center: Fritz Dickmann



18 Comment

  • Inside the Ivy Lofts – Are ductless mini splits common in high-rise buildings? Will each balcony have a condenser?

  • Yeah, Kokatat…one of the negatives of living in a beehive will be the buzzing of air conditioning condensers on each balcony.

  • I see the old schlumberger building almost daily, I hope whoever gets it keeps it and doesn’t raze it. It’s a beautiful piece of building. I wish I had the funds to buy it.

  • Ductless minisplits are common in highrises outside of the United States, probably makes some sense in a condo regime in order to isolate all operating, maintenance, and repair costs between units with dissimilar patterns of use. They don’t have to be very loud if the installations are designed and built correctly. They are often quite ugly though.

  • If you look at the floor plans for the 300sq ft unit they purport to show in that tour, that view is actually of the whole unit. That apartment they way they have it set up has no bed unless that couch folds out. A little bit of disingenuous advertising on their part. I wonder how many people saw their renderings and left curious what the bedroom looked like not knowing there wasn’t one. Especially since they specifically mention moving walls creating new spaces, when that plan has no moving walls. That ~10′ x 30′ space is all you get.

  • At least they are not relying on window units as are common in New York City. It’s not uncommon there to find $2 million apartments with a big noisy window unit. And it can get just as hot as Houston on some days.

  • That should read “League City… Signs on 3 New Restaurants”
    I thought for a second that the restaurants were all news themed…

  • Thanks, Lulu!

  • Seeing comments on the Ivy Lofts is like watching your parents try to use the internet on a smart phone. While I will admit that the vigorous marketing campaign raises suspicions (and the disclosure of visa program investors), this kind of development has been done before and is not a crazy one-off idea. The whole shtick behind the micro units is that they have all these space age Jetsons furniture and built ins that let you have an open floor plan like in the rendering when all the built ins are stowed away. The murphy bed frees up lots of room and most of the built ins eliminate the need for cabinets, dressers, etc. Yes, it is not for everyone, but it is a decent product that has been successful in other markets. Yes, Virginia. There is more to real estate that square footage.

  • @ Old School: Yes they’ve had success in other markets where prices are higher and densities denser. Basically they’ve provided a way for the merely affluent young person, as opposed to a trust fund baby, to buy into an utterly compelling neighborhood when there’s no other way they could afford to. Furthermore, what makes the neighborhood compelling is that there’s so much fun stuff within walking distance or a quick bicycle / transit ride that you don’t have to spend much time in your actual unit. Can Ivy Lofts meet those criteria versus other real estate it will have to compete with? Maybe out-of-state investors will think so…

  • Since I reserved a 300 sf unit at the Ivy, when I walk around my 1400 sf bungalow in the East End, I’m annoyed by all the space now and how long it takes me to get between rooms. I will not use the murphy bed, but rather take advantage of the 12 foot ceilings and loft the bed above the bathroom and kitchen. Also, I will remove the full size fridge and dishwasher to free up space. If I was interested in cooking and dishes, I would just stay in my current place.

  • People need to realize the Ivy Lofts are not intended for locals to buy and reside. These are for investors. The location near UofH allow for students to rent units that are leased by owners.

    Also, international money is fleeing other markets and trying to find safe places to hide for now. Buying a couple of condos in a high-rise that can be rented is common game plan. Buying and leaving them empty also work. Common in New York and Miami. There is evidence that Houston is seeing a lot of this recently.

    Also, mini splits are the modern window units. Very efficient and very quiet if done right. New single family homes could use these to eliminate ducts and save lot of money on cooling.

  • I get the 300sf concept, really I do, and it is compelling. I like the three-dimensionality of floor planning (although I would want to be very well assured as to the quality of the furniture as it would be subject to a lot of wear and tear, especially by tenants if applicable, and would probably be expensive to repair or replace). I like the HVAC being on mini-splits. I would prefer fewer amenities to more but thats just me…I understand why they’re there, their business purpose. If the same product were offered in the core of downtown or within a block or two of the Red Line or a big mixed-use development like River Oaks District or West Ave or the Galleria or a big regional park like Hermann or Memorial or Elanor Tinsley, hell even just along Brays or White Oak bayous or even on Chartres or St. Emanuel Streets at a stretch…anything like that, okay…I would be excited about it even if the timing were bad. But not on this particular site! It makes no goddamned sense at all. Its going to flop and its going to reflect poorly on development potentials in the whole East End, like so many other projects before it that were just a little too far ahead of their geography and their time. This is what Mosaic was, but this ieven more contrived, on an even worse site, and its even more doomed.

    (The student market did not buoy Mosaic even though it was central to UH and TSU and UH-D and Rice and St. Thomas. UH’s own forays into the luxury housing market (on-campus!) did not go well. And at these price points there are plenty of good and flexible options that are available at lower price points.)

  • Niche has the meat of it. It’s not a bad idea. It’s bad execution. The location is simply terrible. I mean seriously, you could rent a 3 bedroom townhouse in EaDo and split it up with your friends in for way cheaper than you could get something at Ivy. Plus, it’s not even that close to UH, not really. Eastwood is considerably closer and a student could fairly easily rent there for cheaper.
    Something like this would make so much more sense actually in downtown, or *maybe* midtown. But not the east end.

  • Also, that’s a real shame about ChaiOne. I still can’t tell if they’re a real company or not though, but it would have been nice for them to populate that building.

  • @Local: This micro condo concept is not confined to super high rent areas like NY, San Fran and Tokyo. There are micro condos going in in Toronto, Montreal, Austin and Vancouver. The one planned for Vancouver is going in Surrey, which is a pretty grimey transitional area that is miles away from the urban core on Vancouver island.
    If the oil glut persists and real estate prices tumble, this will be a bust. Duh. But if the energy markets recover and get back into positive growth by late 2017 to 2018 and real estate prices recover, the micro condo concept will fill a void in the market. Most of the high rise condos in Houston are very high end developments. Many of the new condo buildings going up are marketing units for 1 mil +. Townhomes are now pushing the $350k on the entry level. While you do get lots of square feet, there are no amenities and extra parking can be a challenge. Single family is $500k+ for something move in ready inside the loop and that comes with all the maintenance issues. If you are young and single, why stretch your budget to get into a townhome with a bunch of space you do not need? Why spend $1,000-1,500 a month on an apartment and watch that money just go up in flames? Why not buy a micro condo, get a payment that is well within your budget, have a chance to get some equity back when you sell and get a tax benefit on mortgage interest? I just don’t see why people cannot see that even though this will not be the next hot housing trend in Houston, these Ivy folks do have a decent idea on how to fill a market void in Houston.

  • @MrEction, a friend of mine used to work for ChaiOne, it’s not a real company, it’s a company playing a real company. They pretend they are in silicon alley, go through the motions of a real company but never actually complete any real projects. It seems their bizzare tea cult which pretends to be in the imported tea business is what brings in cash flow (hence Chai One, a strange name for a tech company).

  • I don’t know if this place is gonna work or not but the location isn’t so bad..half mile to the metrorail station on Scott and 5 blocks to EaDo central/St Emanuel st plus the area is filling up quickly with townhouses and retail is coming in . The train goes straight to the college or downtown. They bought early and are hoping to sell enough to get off the ground then watch the area surrounding it continue to develop. The cheap units might sell even faster if the economy completely crashes then they could convert any unsold larger units into smaller ones if they have to.