Bayou City Leads in Retail Construction; The Latest Economic Forecast for Houston


Photo of I-45 at US-59: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool


18 Comment

  • Re the tree removal: I am confused how it cost half a million dollars to remove six trees. I once had to take down a diseased tree several years ago and it cost just over a thousand dollars. This was a bigger tree than the one pictured. They ground it up and hauled it off and everything. I’m not understanding the half mil price tag. Someone needs jail time for that.

  • I was going to post something whiny about the removal of mature trees from the Lovett esplanade, and then I saw that they were Chinese tallow trees and crepe myrtles. Yes, Philip Hilder, those are junk trees. Chinese tallow are on the official list of invasive species, and while there is a variety of crepe myrtle that is native to Texas, the one that you see planted everywhere is a Chinese import.
    You can thank the patriarch of the Teas family for the tallow trees planted throughout Montrose.

  • @Commenter7, I believe the costs is for 6 esplanades not 6 trees. I suspect the majority of the costs is associated with the 15ft live oaks being planted, not the removal of the previous trees.

  • I would think that $500K is for the whole esplanade project, not just the tree removal.

  • Houston tops list for retail construction? I think apartment construction in the metro area far surpasses any other construction! :-(

  • i think that price tag is for everything, including the new trees and irrigation system. that said, it still seems expensive.

  • Greater Heights Brewery is the name and it is located in Oak Forest. Are these people geographically challenged? Quit trying to make a buck off branding that does not apply to you. GOOF or plain old Oak Forest should be their name. That is just sad.

  • Please call it a median. Thanks.

  • This guy in the article about the tallows is a know-nothing. After I bought my house I realized there was a chinese tallow in backyard. I had it removed on principal alone.

  • I love that there is more discussion here about trees than about an economic growth forecast that involves 40,000 job losses. Long Live Swamplot.

  • @ El Delbtor: How on earth could justify spending all that money on a median? Surely this kind of wasteful spending justifies the use of “esplanade”.

  • GoogleMaster, if you want to be picky, Crepe Myrtles ( Lagerstroemia indica) are actually a native of India. The “indica” in the nomenclature indicates India. If it were from China it would be “Chinensis” like our Hibiscus.

  • Yeah, they know how to throw up cheap new apartments in Houston. Fixing up and maintaining older apartments, though? Not so much.

  • @feh
    You first….

  • Great more live oaks… utterly boring. God forbid anyone in this city not follow herd mentality. Live oaks’ messy leaf falls clog up the gutters and storm sewers and exacerbate the already horrendous drainage in Montrose. As if the corroded infrastructure wouldn’t be a better focus for improvement. Another stupid waste of taxpayer dollars by the MMD.

  • @ feh: Do you remember a little over a year ago when I was being a Cassandra on oil prices and the local economy, and also warning of structural risk with the global economy? Do you remember my expressing doubt that Houston’s economy was as genuinely diversified as was being touted? Do you remember my expressing concerns that crack spreads could suffer from low global demand and that downstream employment would fall off precipitously as new projects were delivered to the market? I got slammed back then. Some said that my prognostications were not only preposterous but that airing them was downright irresponsible. Yeah, well… Now, as before, people would just rather not dwell on it.
    It could have been a lot worse. If Europe had fallen apart last year or ISIS had been better contained and domestic production was what it was, that would’ve probably cascaded into a global recession and would have been catastrophic for energy demand/prices as well as for the stability of financial institutions. That could still happen, but circumstances don’t line up quite as badly in terms of the perfect storm.
    On the other hand, the emergent longer-term risk appears to be that improved electricity storage efficiency could lead to substitution of demand in the transportation sector from hydrocarbons to electrons, and also that new electricity generation will be dominated by renewables. If this begins to take place in earnest then Texas and Louisiana are very likely the new rust belt.

  • Honestly that economic report doesn’t sound that bad. It really doesn’t. The reference line we’re all working from is the last major oil crunch and I think some people thought we were heading for that again, and it really looks like we’re not. Oil company’s are a lot savvier these days and they understand a few things they didn’t before. This time they’re willing to operate at a loss for a few years to ensure that they are rearing to go when the market turns back around. This means that layoffs and the like will be much smaller than they were back in the day, and you’ll still see capex throughout the whole time. And I think both of these points are being seen played out. Jobs are down but they’re mostly in the small shops and upstream/midstream. I don’t know if anyone downstream has actually had layoffs. And downstream is definitely having massive capex investment right now.
    Anyways, point being, I still don’t buy the doom and gloom. Sure, oil prices are disturbingly low, and they aren’t going anywhere for a while. But I think we can handle another year or two of this. All that said I wouldn’t touch west-side real estate right now.

  • Of course we can handle it no matter what happens, but what’s the long term impact to the cities finances? We’ve taken in a lot of new residents these past few years with little improvement to Houston’s overall balance sheet. We’re now awash in empty office space that will probably take another 5 years, minimum, to soak up, sales tax revenues are probably going down well over 10%, property tax revenue will be flatlining for the coming years and there’s going to be a lot more folks dependent on city services and handouts.
    Yes, we’re not going to see a repeat of the 80’s, but we’re a whole lot bigger with more structural costs and I’d imagine Houston had a much stronger balance sheet back then. Just asking since I really don’t know what the overall impact will be, but if you told me today that the city is going to have to reduce expenditures by 10% i’d assume things are going to be ugly for a while.