Comment of the Day: Who Wants To Stay Downtown?

COMMENT OF THE DAY: WHO WANTS TO STAY DOWNTOWN? “. . . I ride my bike around downtown for pleasure on some evenings (unthinkable 15 years ago) and am always impressed by the level of activity after dark. Restaurants, bars, music venues and Discovery Green are always hopping. Another hotel can substantially increase this level of activity and hopefully sustain it by attracting business travelers, not just convention goers. I am a business traveler, and work for a multi-national based here in Houston. When we have out-of-town guests, they never stay downtown — EVER. Actually, they prefer to stay where they can easily walk to entertainment, dinner, and bars, and quickly catch a cab to anywhere else they need to go. Usually, they go to CityCentre, the Woodlands, and Town Center in Sugar Land. When I ask around the office about this, most of my coworkers (suburbanites who have not been downtown in years, except for an errant Astros game) immediately wrinkle their noses at the idea of sending someone to stay there after dark. Word has not gotten out about the amenities downtown, and this hotel will help.” [Superdave, commenting on A Texas Island on the Next Convention Center Hotel]

23 Comment

  • absolutely no way. no out-of-town business visitor with business in downtown stays in those places you mention, unless they have zero sense (if their meetings are in the energy corridor or woodlands, then it makes sense). maybe they stay in the galleria when they have business downtown (i know some folks like the Houstonian), but staying an hour away from town in the suburbs you mentioned?!? never heard of it.

  • I bet the guy at Midtown Randall’s also was giving the hobo that stabbed him yesterday the benefit of the doubt.

  • I work for a large multinational and our visitors ALWAYS stay downtown. I cant imagine asking a European employee to stay in sugar land and fight rush hour traffic!!!

  • Fellow late night bike rider through down-town for fun and I can confirm the nightlife. Yeah there are hobos, what downtown doesn’t have them? I was attacked by them last time I went to San Francisco; still a nice city. They cant catch you on a bike common’tard

    I live in Montrose area. Anytime I’ve had guests in hotel from out of town staying at Hotels they almost always stay in the Galleria area as well. I’m not even sure they would see a reason to visit CityCentre or Town Center…is there something there that cannot be found inside the loop or Galleria?

  • “From commmonsense:
    I bet the guy at Midtown Randall’s also was giving the hobo that stabbed him yesterday the benefit of the doubt.”

    You beat me to it!

  • I also like to ride downtown. I wish there were more restaurant options after 5pm. This would help downtown liven up a bit

  • I think this hotel, along with the 22-story JW Marriott currently being constructed a few blocks away, along with all the new residential being built (such as the 7-story building over the old Ben Milam and the highrise proposed for the other side of downtown), will go a long way to improving after-5pm options downtown. It’s a bit of a chicken-and-egg problem, but more people staying or living downtown will make more places stay open later, which in turn will make more people want to stay or live downtown, and the cycle repeats.

    Things have cleaned up so much already that I have little fear of biking home from downtown even well after dark, and I think it’s only going to get better.

    Even the proposed tourism museum should help improve the image of downtown. I just wish something could be done about more of the abandoned buildings between George R Brown and the Theater District, but in time that should resolve itself.

  • I used to work downtown (now in the Galleria) and I really miss it. Downtown was easier to get to, had public transit options for the days the car was getting serviced or something like that, had walkable lunch options, and the weekly market at City Hall. Downtown had people walking around and some energy. The Galleria isn’t terrible but it’s choked with traffic and going out to lunch means sitting at a million red lights and then fighting for parking somewhere, vs. clearing your head and getting a little exercise. Downtown Houston certainly doesn’t have what you’ll find in SF or Boston or NYC but it’s underappreciated by Houstonians and a really great place to have your office.

    Interestingly, a coworker (at both jobs) who lives in a far suburb commented that his commute was *much* better to downtown than the Galleria.

  • Downtown was really dead in the early ’90s, the only eating option I can recall after 5 was McDonald’s, and I suppose Benihana’s and Biraporetti’s were open, but not really sure about that.

  • Lot of development going on between Discovery Green and East Downtown side…

    Give it 3 years. This area is getting good!

  • too many homeless for me to go downtown. walk down main street today @ 4 pm. Id bet half the people you see are homeless or strung out on drugs just hanging around. Main @ Mckinney 4 pm

  • Not much has changed. I lived in the woodlands in 1994. I am a life-long Houstonian; they were mostly transplants.

    I frequently went to Party on the Plaza on thursdays. Many of them NEVER went downtown and believed to do so after dark was an invitation to being shot.

    It can’t be unsafe when it’s deserted (80s-90s). That’s the major change that has occurred: people are actually around.

  • benny, Main Street Station is at the intersection… way to pick the one block with the most bums to use as an example for the entirity of downtown.

  • OK then proceed North or South from that intersection along Main and check out the quality of folks

  • Benny, I’ll grant you that Google street view of main just north of McKinney has a guy flipping off the google car in view, but there are also plenty of people dressed in business casual, as well as guys just wandering around in normal attire. I’m thinking though that you’re right, they’re probably all bums, they’re just in disguise and waiting to pounce on the first unsuspecting non-bum to invade their turf.

    regarding the guy flipping the bird, if some guy from Google came into my house and took pictures to put on the web, I’d probably flip the camera a bird as well, so it’s probably justified.

  • OMG, poor people. Run for the hills. Or Katy.

  • I have no problem with a new downtown hotel near the GRB, but if it’s such a great deal, why is taxpayer money needed to fund it?

  • Benny, you do realize that 1) this is a city; 2) if you and all your friends keep avoiding downtown, it will NEVER change? I’m sorry that you live in fear, but honestly, most of these people are completely harmless.

  • @miss_msry – Because this is Texas, and the main function of government is to give handouts to businesses. Be proud – we lead the nation in distorting markets by handing out tax breaks and money to the best-connected corporations with the most effective lobbyists.

  • am i the only one here that actually appreciated the downtown of 15yrs ago much more than it’s current iteration? i suppose nobody like a dump but boy do i miss the good old days of seeing swarms of bikers and skaters turning downtown into a playground at night.

  • People… we all have METRO to thank for that! I waited tables in the RICE lofts after it was remodeled. Texas at main was bump’n; Sambucca, State Bar, Liberty Noodle, Amy’s Ice Cream, Saba, et al.

    I’m all in support of the rail, but when METRO tore up the streets and QualCom buried the electrical and communication lines, they did not coordinate appropriate temp solutions to street maintenance. I remember seeing all the nicely painted ladies bust their bum more than once. It only got worse when the bars let out…

    Main from walker to Preston was THE spot 1998-2002/3. Now its a ghost town and all those great places are gone, except State Bar and

  • Smbucca. Discovery Green and market square are helping to bring people back. We will see f they create staying power, Houstonians are fickle! As for the homeless and destitute. SERIOUSLY Benny? I used to skateboard downtown in mid to late eighties early nineties; you would most definitely have to dodge gunfire back then. It is WAY better now! Thank you mayors’ Brown, Lanier and Parker.

    -kD- A Houstonian!

  • I got YOU Joel…Urban Animals!