A Bird’s-Eye View of the ExxonMobil Campus; The Ashby Highrise Effect


Photo of 2929 Weslayan: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool


12 Comment

  • Still say Adickes should move all his sculptures to Dallas.

  • It sounds like that judge is a coward passing the buck and letting the developer build in an area where it will clearly be a traffic nuisance to a residential neighborhood. Take a stand! Don’t be such a coward trying to make everyone happy and pretend like you don’t have enough facts to make decisions.

  • This is referring to judge Randy Wilson in the ashby high rise article.

  • Re Power To Choose: I wrote my own software to find out how much each provider would have charged me for the last two years or so. It seems like the web site ought to do that for consumers. Just enter the number of kWh for typical months and see what each plan costs.
    Or we could just stop the “competition” charade and go back to treating public utilities as if they were public utilities.

  • I used to think the whole “Tower of Traffic” slogan was BS – that greater density will increase walkability and reduce the need for cars. However, the way many highrises are sited in Houston completely eliminates the benefits of a highrise. They basically become vertical culs-de-sac, still car-dependent, because each one is located in pockets of lowest land value either next to freeways or in the middle of SFH neighborhoods.
    IIRC city council or the planning department passed a rule that forces developers to stick to building heights that are close to those of neighboring structures. Is this really the case? I think it’s a great way to better cluster high-density developments and walkabile areas.

  • Re: Power to Choose (PTC) website
    I’m echoing Memebag’s comment that the PTC website is clunky at best and deceptive at worst. I take all of the data presented there with a large grain of salt then compare to the my current provider’s renewal rate, which often is the better deal.
    And, I agree with Memebag that we should stop the whole charade of “competition” and put utilities under the PUC’s direct regulatory review again. Electricity isn’t a sexy industry and shouldn’t try to be: just provide a decent return on capital and be done with it.

  • We’re stuck with deregulation and you guys know it. In hindsight it’s turned out to be a dumb move that could have been clearly foreseen, but this is Texas of course and no elected politician will be able to touch anything relating to the words public utility or regulation until we have two parties that actually understand and care about policy and economics (ie. not in my lifetime) more than vague proclamations of inanity and self endorsement.
    Commenter7, I shouldn’t say anything as Ashby is so played out but you’re talking about an inner city neighborhood that is surrounded by nothing but traffic and gridlock on all sides. We could selfishly impose land use restrictions that benefit nobody but older pre-existing homeowners, but that obviously will have no impact whatsoever on traffic patterns within the neighborhood itself. If your concern is about traffic then you should be asking the city to widen Bissonnet or put the Richmond light rail on it.

  • There are other sites like TrueCost and Energy Ogre that do a much better job of realistic energy costs. I haven’t touched Power to Choose in years.

  • @Joel – I don’t live or even drive by the area with any degree of regularity but your attitude is misguided. Why should the existing neighborhood be forced to lobby for the widening of any roads affected by the high rise? It’s really simple. Neighborhoods were there first and you shouldn’t be able to build things that are a nuisance. There are about ten million acres of land in Houston that will not cause gridlock in an existing neighborhood if you build a tower there.

  • Houston voted down zoning not once but twice in the 90’s. Now we have what the article calls de-facto zoning with Historic Districts, minimum lot use, deed restricted neighborhoods and such. Basically people want what is convenient for them and could care less about other neighborhoods and other parts of the city. If they did care they would have voted for zoning. While I understand where Commenter7 is coming from as likely a longtime resident where things like this were not an issue way back when and the city grew more slowly. New buyers however hove no excuse for not performing their due diligence before buying their homes. So to those who buy a new home doors down from commercial streets, a home near an empty city block, an older home NOT in a deed restricted area, or new condo in a high rise you are SOL in Houston or will need $$$ to try to change things.

  • HouCynic, In the case of Ashby it’s even worse, the property that they are building on is replacing an apartment complex. The residents like to hide that inconvenient truth.
    If it were me that was the developer, I’d have given up the high rise years ago, contacted the government for funding to build affordable housing project that has the exact same number of units as the apartment complex that was removed, run it for as long as I could and filed for bankruptcy, cause I’m spiteful like that. Likely though it wouldn’t have come to that, the citizens in the area would have begged me to build the high rise, cause you know what’s worse than a high rise? Poor people living near you.

  • @toasty, I like the way you think. I’m a spiteful one too and just pissed I didn’t already think of replacing the old apartment building with affordable housing already!