Friday, June 20, 2014

Subsidies in downtown Houston could affect the property market, say experts

The downtown and Midtown are separated by a highway, but in some respects, are worlds apart.

Midtown's population is about 9,000 inhabitants, nearly double what it had in 2000. Much of its growth has occurred in the past decade, when the area became a favorite urban planners neighborhood of apartment buildings and townhouses.

Meanwhile, downtown growth has not been as robust. In 2000, officials projected that the downtown residential population of 3,000 people then, would triple in 2010. Yet only about 3,600 residents living in the area into lots and remodeled homes in the shadow of skyscrapers that are home to a workforce 150,000 workers.

However, planners are again challenging the idea that the downtown can not be a place where more people live. Some are prepared to build thousands of luxury apartment buildings through a grant program recently expanded to $ 15,000 per unit to help offset the high cost of construction in a congested business district.

Although builders are eager to increase the number of homes in the downtown, the demand for the proposed units, which are expensive, are not insured. Even if you bought new buildings, there may not be the number of restaurants, shops and other businesses to provide services.

"In every city where there are numerous retailers live tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people," said Ed Page, UCR signature Houston, dedicated to real estate and specializes in retail.

Growth Midtown

Another reason I have not opened more stores in the downtown is because there are many in the surrounding neighborhoods, according to Page.

For example, Midtown has pharmacies and supermarkets, as well as a lot of restaurants and bars.

Just south of Interstate 45, from the downtown, the old ruined area began a process of redevelopment after the city created in the mid-1990s with an area reinvestment tax increase that tax money funneled into the improving public infrastructure.

That reinvestment zone not offer the same type of residential incentive planners providing downtown.

For years, officials have tried to attract retailers with financial incentives. Although they have had some success, the overall trend is declining.

In the past three decades, the spaces for retail stores downtown have dropped 60 percent, according to a report released last fall by a group report that Mayor Annise Parker appointed following the decision of Macy's to close its store Main Street.

The report includes recommendations on how to attract more businesses and reverse chronic decline in commercial activity in the area. One proposal was to use tax money to develop a shopping district in the center of downtown.

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