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  #1  
Old Posted May 12, 2009, 6:00 AM
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1 Billion Dollar New Ubranism Project, Rhya, Breaks Ground In Windcrest

I meant to post this sooner but kept forgetting. I'm also surprised no ones mentioned or posted this.

Ground was broken last Friday in Windcrest on Rhya. A one billion new urbanism development next to Rackspace.







KSAT Story:
http://www.ksat.com/newsarchive/19408706/detail.html

KSAT Video:
http://www.ksat.com/newsarchive/1940...ail.html#video

Information link:
http://www.dpz.com/project.aspx?Proj...ject_Name=Rhya

Information link:
http://www.ci.windcrest.tx.us/DocumentView.asp?DID=168
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  #2  
Old Posted May 12, 2009, 7:39 AM
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That's pretty awesome for Windcrest. I love this project as most of it is undeveloped frontage road infill.
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  #3  
Old Posted May 12, 2009, 1:06 PM
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  #4  
Old Posted May 12, 2009, 1:31 PM
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The few things I love about this; finally a project that faces away from the freeway! It is not going to be all on the main road either which I assume is Eisenhauer Rd. It connects roads with a grid pattern connection, and it is off-street development; all things they failed to do on a smaller scale with Quarry Village. I also like the idea of finally giving Windcrest a definitive town center. I hope this turns into a model for the other cities in the metro area as most of the town centers are not clearly defined.
One thing I hate..... parking lots.
Quote:
original quote from Rhya project page;
this western parcel will provide a higher density urban center, where “big box” retail will be incorporated into a vibrant main street using innovative building types and new facades.
I was going to say that the 2nd pic, with Rackspace/Windsor Park in the background, looked like the Wal/Flea-mart and the Texas Thrift Store. I sure hope they aren't going to stay as tenants.
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Last edited by miaht82; May 12, 2009 at 2:12 PM.
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  #5  
Old Posted May 12, 2009, 2:12 PM
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Looks great! I bet it ill be adorned with lights during Christmas, making the Windcrest lights more of a attraction.
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San Antonio economy and largest economic sectors. Annual contribution towards GDP.
U.S. Dept of Defense $48.5 billion/Manufacturing $40.5 billion/Healthcare-Biosciences $40 billion/Finance-Insurance $20 billion/Tourism $15 billion/ Technology $10 billion.
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  #6  
Old Posted May 12, 2009, 10:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miaht82 View Post

I was going to say that the 2nd pic, with Rackspace/Windsor Park in the background, looked like the Wal/Flea-mart and the Texas Thrift Store. I sure hope they aren't going to stay as tenants.
Don't worry, they're not.
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  #7  
Old Posted May 12, 2009, 10:25 PM
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Originally Posted by sakyle04 View Post
You don't like?
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  #8  
Old Posted May 12, 2009, 11:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sirkingwilliam View Post
You don't like?
i am hopeful...but eternally skeptical with the recent development trends in this city.

the way things are marketed is often very different from how they turn out. i just have nightmares of Rim-like parking lots.

i don't want to be debbie downer, though. windcrest seems to be serious about this stuff.

here's hoping...
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  #9  
Old Posted May 13, 2009, 3:32 AM
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I completely understand your skepisism. However I think it's unwarrented when it comes to this project.

If you remember, The Rim was first proposed as North Rim Village and was to be much smaller and be a new urbanism type developed. That changed with the Worth family who were behind the development sold it to Thomas Ent. who then bought more land and turned it into the parking lot happy The Rim.

Here you have a city that's behind this and a developer who is focused on this becoming a new urbanism project. They wouldn't have done that charette with DPZ for nothing is they intended to eventually build The Rim v 2.0.
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  #10  
Old Posted May 13, 2009, 5:14 AM
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They also have a bunch less space to work with than the Rim developers did/do.
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  #11  
Old Posted May 13, 2009, 1:22 PM
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Yeah, the fact that the city is involved in this is what gives me hope for something decent.
Quote:
Thus, the plan designates primary streets to create a collection of smaller blocks, forming clusters of small, diverse neighborhoods.
The storefronts being on the street vs. facing the parking lot, and the street actually being a real street and not just a "drive-thru the parking lot" street is hopefully going to be the difference. If they can pull this off, it could be good. They could've gone with a Park North design in that area. While it is more dense than any typical sprawl development, it (PN) surely isn't pedestrian friendly in a "main-street" kind of way.
I'm also glad it doesn't include any more big-box retail. There are three empty boxes now on Walzem so there definitely isn't a need for more; an old Target, Handy-Andy, and Albertsons, and only the Albertsons is going through the YMCA conversion right now.
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  #12  
Old Posted May 13, 2009, 11:42 PM
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Not bad, though there's still a lot of parking. It would be better to have that surface parking be in garages and maybe hidden by foliage or else some other structures. But the inner part of it looks great. The rendering at the top looks amazing. If it really will end up looking like that, then that is freaking awesome. It looks like some little European town where everyone walks or rides their bikes, which is exactly the type of thing that makes me want to live there.
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  #13  
Old Posted May 14, 2009, 2:15 AM
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Originally Posted by KevinFromTexas View Post
Not bad, though there's still a lot of parking. It would be better to have that surface parking be in garages and maybe hidden by foliage or else some other structures. But the inner part of it looks great. The rendering at the top looks amazing. If it really will end up looking like that, then that is freaking awesome. It looks like some little European town where everyone walks or rides their bikes, which is exactly the type of thing that makes me want to live there.
i think that's what gets me. the renderings are deceiving. a lot of surface parking in these frames. they just hide it with mature trees (that don't actually exist in those areas).

i will try to be positive, as much as I want to be a curmudgeon.
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  #14  
Old Posted May 14, 2009, 5:22 AM
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Maybe they're taking population/traffic into account and know that at the beginning traffic won't be too bad but as it does get worse they can easily turn a few of those parking lots into garages.
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Old Posted May 14, 2009, 5:25 AM
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They're gonna need to install some traffic-calming measures if they want to keep suburban drivers from buzzing all over the place in there. If this truly is N.U. then they'll put the emphasis on ease of use for the pedestrian, instead of trying some half-hearted compromise that makes it a miserable place both to drive and walk.
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  #16  
Old Posted May 14, 2009, 2:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sirkingwilliam View Post
Maybe they're taking population/traffic into account and know that at the beginning traffic won't be too bad but as it does get worse they can easily turn a few of those parking lots into garages.
Maybe leaving space for a garage/park&ride in case there is a rail stop across 35 in the future?
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Last edited by miaht82; May 14, 2009 at 3:17 PM.
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  #17  
Old Posted May 14, 2009, 2:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sirkingwilliam View Post
Maybe they're taking population/traffic into account and know that at the beginning traffic won't be too bad but as it does get worse they can easily turn a few of those parking lots into garages.
I guess this is the point that oldmanshirt was sort of making...

If it is truly New Urbanism (and not half-hearted VMU), then there should actually be much less parking, as the community would be designed to be supported by walking residents, not commuters driving in to shop.

Garages would be better than surface....

But I wonder if the Windcrest zoning allows them to "underbuild" parking or if there are a minimum number of spaces per sq ft as per usual municipal rules?

Sometimes, our regulations undermine our hopes for density. Most places require "sufficient" parking for new retail so that the resulting parking/traffic doesn't become a mess (and become the city's problem to deal with).

If regulations force minimum parking (which I would suspect), then a garage would be a must to promote needed density. Otherwise, this will just end up being typical suburban development that does a better job at hiding parking lots.

Curmedgeonly Hopeful.
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  #18  
Old Posted May 14, 2009, 4:06 PM
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I think to call it New Urbanism might be a bit of a stretch, but if they got inspiration of the neighborhood structure from La Villita, then perhaps they got their inspiration for "urbanism" from our DT and all of its parking lots.

But I do really like that the blocks are going to be smaller and grid-like. Time will tell if density will ever demand the parking lots go away for more deveopment on the site and I'd rather have the small blocks in place to ensure something goes up rather than spread out.
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  #19  
Old Posted May 14, 2009, 5:32 PM
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It has hints of N.U., with the straight streets and everything (theoretically) within walking distance, after you drive there and park your car of course

As infill 15 miles from a downtown area, though, its about as good as you'd expect, especially if residential and office are major components. That's what really keeps it from being more than another "town center" outdoor shopping mall overrun with bored high schoolers and folks who drive there because they like the novelty of feeling "urban" in a fake downtown without having to actually go downtown. This place needs to be defined by people who live and work there, not by weekend warriors taking their in-laws to "that new shopping center off I-35".
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  #20  
Old Posted May 14, 2009, 7:54 PM
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Looks great!
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