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Downtown Blocks: 200ft x 200ft


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#1 renamerusk

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Posted 24 April 2016 - 09:33 PM

For most of the Twentieth Century,  Downtown projects were built in clusters that required on a fraction of a downtown block (Waggonner, TransAmerican, Continental Bank). Then during the fourth quarter of the century(1975-2000) developers required/preferred to build their projects by encompassing the entire 200x200ft block (2X2B) (Continental Plaza. Burnett Tower, Bass Towers, First National Bank)  ---  Now the trend seems to have return to using a fraction of a 2X2B (Jetta/Frost, AC Marriott, Residence Inn).

Is a return to fractional land use because of  the advances in engineering; the cost of land; or the sale negotiations or a combination of all these factors?

As a very interested observer and having no formal engineering or architecture expertise, the fractional use of a block appear to have a couple of desirable outcomes - that the project is likely to rise higher in height so as to maximize return of investment and that such projects tend to produce greater infill/density. Also, I favor the smaller, creative use of space.
 



#2 johnfwd

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Posted 25 April 2016 - 07:28 AM

For most of the Twentieth Century,  Downtown projects were built in clusters that required on a fraction of a downtown block (Waggonner, TransAmerican, Continental Bank). Then during the fourth quarter of the century(1975-2000) developers required/preferred to build their projects by encompassing the entire 200x200ft block (2X2B) (Continental Plaza. Burnett Tower, Bass Towers, First National Bank)  ---  Now the trend seems to have return to using a fraction of a 2X2B (Jetta/Frost, AC Marriott, Residence Inn).

Is a return to fractional land use because of  the advances in engineering; the cost of land; or the sale negotiations or a combination of all these factors?

As a very interested observer and having no formal engineering or architecture expertise, the fractional use of a block appear to have a couple of desirable outcomes - that the project is likely to rise higher in height so as to maximize return of investment and that such projects tend to produce greater infill/density. Also, I favor the smaller, creative use of space.
 

 

An interesting "macro" historical observation of downtown development.  To the factors you list, I would add the increasing scarcity of whole blocks for re-sale as a result of greater infill/density in the heart of downtown.  But that's not so much the case at the periphery.



#3 PeopleAreStrange

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Posted 25 April 2016 - 08:37 PM

The buildings that encompass an entire block are all much larger than the buildings being built on fractions of lots.


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#4 renamerusk

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Posted 26 April 2016 - 09:58 AM

The buildings that encompass an entire block are all much larger than the buildings being built on fractions of lots.

 

Agreed.  Yet, isn't more likely that a project will come to fruition sooner if the developer is not burdened with the need to purchase the entire block when the block is owned proportionately?

 

In the example of FWRI Tower - 8th@Housto St., the project is able to proceed without purchasing Del Frisco Restaurant or any of the immediate buildings.



#5 Mr_Brightside526

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Posted 27 April 2016 - 10:16 AM

I can't help but think of 432 Park Avenue in NYC. This tower is very slim because of land scarcity. I can't help but think that if Fort Worth is to build more large towers, then we need infill projects like Frost Tower and FWRI tower to drive real estate up, literally.



#6 JBB

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Posted 27 April 2016 - 12:53 PM

Another point worth noting is that most (if not all) of the buildings on full 200x200 blocks and super blocks were constructed in a time when architecture was mostly considered disposable and historic buildings were given little regard. The project that inspired this discussion notwithstanding, I think you can say times have changed some.




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