Headlines: A Retail Task Force Without Any Retailers; Hidden Cameras To Catch Illegal Dumpers

Photo of the Houston Methodist Training Center at Reliant Park: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool

25 Comment

  • Wait, I thought the evil tower of death (Ashby) was supposed to depress and outright destroy property values?

    I guess Hines should show this to River Oaks residents….

  • “City Putting Up Hidden Cameras To Catch Illegal Dumping”
    That would be awesome. I’m always hauling off trash away from empty lots (both mine, and those I don’t own next to my properties).
    I’ve seen people illegally dump, taken photos, and tried to call the city. I’ve also put up my own cameras to solve the issues on my property. Let’s just say their interest level isn’t (hasn’t been?) high.
    Story time: There was a vacant 4plex between two of mine, and people were ALWAYS dumping on it (we finally bought the place from the out of state owner and cleaned it up — but anyway). Because I didn’t want that crap next to my properties, I’d often have my guys haul it away (I could call 311 about it but that doesn’t make the trash go away). One time my guys took a few loads of trash away but there was still some big stuff they couldn’t fit in the truck. So we moved it all to the back of the building where it wouldn’t be such an eye sore to the neighbors. We figured we’d then drag it BACK to the front when heavy trash day came. Well the people who live behind the building saw me moving the trash back there and thought I was dumping. They called the city. That was the only time I’ve ever seen the city come out for illegally dumping — when they thought we were doing it. Despite the fact we just got done hauling off 2 truck loads of trash from a property that wasn’t even ours. :(

  • “Retail taskforce without retailers”
    That’s the epitome of government meddling in something they know nothing about.

  • Well maybe whatever replaces Foley’s will house residents with families to the extent needed to support downtown retail in the way suggested by the exec in the letter.

  • Parker needs to make sure that the streets are safe, repaired, and free of trash should the well established retail task force (private sector),”..envisions Dallas (or any other) Street serving as the commercial spine of a downtown shopping district.”

  • Somebody needs to tell the old feller that it’s unlikely any new development will include Foley’s, Battelstein’s or Joske’s. What’s next? Bobby Sakowitz weighing in on How To Be a Successful Retailer?

    I remember the days of full-service department stores–they were lovely. But times change.

    What’s wrong with some smaller retailers, serving the needs of the office workers, park visitors, commuters getting on or off rail & off or on buses–the small but growing number of downtown residents?

  • Arguably smaller, more specialized retailers would be right in line with what visitors and conventioners would want to see. I can’t speak for everyone, but I just flew 2,000 miles to attend a convention, I want to see something unique and local over the same giant stores I have back home.

  • In other words, developers need to continue building housing as their main focus and start with boring retailers like Walmart, Target, HEB and dry cleaners.

  • “These cameras, as we put them up, we will have the capability to cite people, and in some cases arrest people,” Davis said.

    Will the cameras have recording that say, “Halt! You’re under arrest!”?

    I’m torn because I think having public cameras to “keep us safe” or other similar reasons get people used to having them and once that happens, they’ll put them everywhere because no one will say no, although it might be a good idea for bandit sign hotspots, like Gulfgate, although I wonder who a pedestrian dumping or sticking a sign in the ground could be identified.

  • On which side of 45 will the Texas City Buc-ee’s be located? Beach-going or -coming?

  • I think retail downtown could work, mainly because the Galleria and Highland Village are so overcrowded and miserable places on the weekends and during the holiday season. Also, there are a ton more people living near downtown than there were ten years ago, making that area more convenient.
    The problem with downtown is that the north end and the historic market square area are seeing some solid development of restaurants and bars and will eventually have a weekend worthy attraction once the old Sunset Coffee Building is restored (supposed to be done in mid 2014). But the plan is to put new retail blocks away from all of this in the hopes that Discovery Green and the convention center would provide needed foot traffic. If only you could squish the two together, you would really have some synergy that could get a retail center off the ground. But as it now stands, it will take a very different downtown to make this happen.

  • I think the cameras to catch people in the act of dumping is the wrong way to do this. There’s heavy trash pickup service for residential areas, so there’s no conceivable reason that someone that lives in a freestanding house would dump, since the service is run by the city every month.
    apartments on the other hand, I don’t know if they offer this service.
    what the city should do is make an ordinance that says apartment complexes have to offer this service too. If it’s just one of those big trash haulers they have to make room for, so be it.

  • You all missed the point completely in reference to the former Foley’s Ex. Everyone knows downtowns that are successful and they all!! have a grand department store. NYC has Lord and Taylor, Bloomingdales et.al, Chicago has Macy’s (The former Marshall Fields), Neimans etc, Philadelphia has Macy’s (The former Wannamakers), even Dallas has Neimans, and Houston…….nothing. THAT was his point.

  • As for as Robert Sakowitz, he had the misfortune of expanding in a deep recession. Sakowitz was a great store, easily equal to Neiman Marcus, he simply was unlucky in his timing. Frankly, is love to hear him comment on anything in relation to retail, he’s a very smart man.

  • Toasty: The city will not pick up heavy trash at apartment buildings that consist of five or more units. What we end up doing sometimes, and I hate to admit this, is we often take the left behind couches and mattresses from our apartment complexes and bring them to our smaller properties the day before heading trash pick up.
    Along with that we still do plenty of dump runs (amd roll off dumpsters – waste connections sends me a christmas card :) but when you are cleaning up a large apartment complex and kicking out crackheads you end up with far more mattresses and couches then you could ever get rid of on your own.

  • I think the point was that it’s tough to do retail when nobody lives there.

    Sports events and conventions weren’t enough to help Macy’s.

  • Jason, the new Buc-ees will be on the Southbound side near the Tanger Outlet stores. Love me some Buc-ees!

  • RE: Ashby. Probably not if your home abuts the highrise property and you can’t get any sun on your pool or your lawn.

  • @Wasp: A bit of a chicken and egg argument. Plus, for all the decades that Foley’s and then Macy’s were downtown, they didn’t do squat to attract more retail. Also, Sakowitz’s expansion during a recession wasn’t misfortune. It was bad management.

  • The point Mr.Meyer was making is that it is foolish to empanel a task force to attract retailers to Downtown with no one representing the retailers point of view. He already said that the economics of paying a staff to cover a basic business day are not there when the surge of business comes at lunch hour. Retail is much more than some “oh let’s go to market and buy pretty stuff and see if we can re-sell it”. It is a low profit margin business that lives and dies on foot traffic, customer service and having the right product. Without some retailers perspective to enlighten a bunch of bean counters and real estate developers as to what it would really take for a store to succeeed, it is somewhat short sighted to
    pins everyone’s hopes on narrowing a street or adding a wider sidewalk and some cute street lamps. I think it is definitely worth pursuing but not without
    “stakeholders” input–a term the City bandies about constantly.

  • @old School. It was the recession and maybe some bad management;). Still Sakowitz is missed, my grandmother doesn’t go a day without bitching how much better Sakowitz was than Neimans.

  • Southampton is arguably the most beautiful neighborhood in Houston, nobody expected prices to fall because of thr Ashby Highrise, (not to mention they’ve barely started building) the argument was about traffic on narrow Bisonnet and they thought of a 20 story building in your backyard, so I really don’t get the point of this article in realation to Ashby opponents arguments, this seems a bit of a Red Herring by the chronicle to keep a dead story alive

  • @ miss_msry: If we’ve narrowed the Ashby discussion to adverse impacts on homes that abut it, then the case against a highrise just got a whole lot weaker. As for the shadow, it moves with the sun; the abutting properties are mostly to the south of the site, so they won’t be impacted.

  • I have to chime in on Sakowitz–when I moved here in 1988 and went in the Post Oak store,
    dowdy is the only word I can think to accurately describe it–at least the physical store and interior itself. And while their store in Dallas was nice when it opened in 1982-3, it in no way could compete with Neiman’s in terms of breadth of assortment or service. That’s not to say it did not have it’s hey day and I’m sure many have fond memories of going there but obviously something was amiss or it would have withstood the economic cycles.

  • Sakowitz was showing wear when you were there yes, it was a great store in it’s prime. I showed my grands the comment and she almost came unglued, it’s like going into the Astrodome now and saying I just don’t see what everyone saw in this place, instead of thinking wow, I’ll bet this place was amazing when it had the great old scoreboard etc, sometimes it’s just best to just let people have their great memories, that’s what my grans world say and she’s always right