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Small But Mighty: Museum District Heats Up With More Infill Development

Houston’s vibrant Museum District, home to several of Houston’s museums and parks and nestled between Midtown and the Texas Medical Center, is now the target of major infill development.

Museo Plaza Medical Office building, a 10-story mixed-use MOB, will break ground next month, weeks after H-E-B opened its latest Houston store in the area and a planned 32-story multifamily high-rise was announced nearby. 

Hermann Park, Museum District

A mix of luxury homes, high-end apartment towers, museums and medical office buildings, Houston’s Museum District is one of the best-located submarkets in the city. Bordered by Midtown to its north, the Third Ward to the east, the Texas Medical Center to the south and Rice University to the west, the relatively tiny pocket is attracting major developments aiming to be new Houston landmarks.  

Testa Rossa Properties will break ground on a sleek 364K SF modern mixed-use project designed by PJMD Architects principal Marko Dasigenis, taking aesthetic cues from cubism. 

“I had this opportunity a long time ago to buy this land,” Paul Michael Mann said. “I thought it was a great place to put a clinic. I got here and realized the Museum District is growing and it's a pleasant place to be. I dreamed of building something that would be of interest to the district.” 

Museo Medical Office Building

Mann, founder of the Mann Eye Institute, and his son, Paul Mann, are behind the new mixed-use medical office building: their new clinic will anchor the project, occupying 37K SF with an additional 10K SF surgery center. The building will feature five parking garage levels above the ground-floor lobby, which will include 16K SF of event space. 

“We’re trying to be even better than the surrounding area. We're building something meaningful architecturally and meaningful in its use,” Paul Michael Mann said. “We want to build something that’s an asset to the district and the city. I love art, I love architecture. To be able to create something meaningful and timeless in this area would be a wonderful thing.”

Medical and multifamily developments aren’t the only active projects in the area. Less than a half-mile away, H-E-B opened its latest Houston-area location, a 90K SF store on the Museum District's border with the Third Ward. The new store, dubbed MacGregor Market, was planned in tandem with the Houston City Council, which orchestrated a deal for the grocer to sublease the 9-acre site.

Two Hermann Place

Roughly a half-mile away, Nitya Capital and Tema Development will break ground on their own project, dubbed Two Hermann Place, offering up 295 luxury condos overlooking Hermann Park. Tema has owned the land since 1978. 

Served by four METROrail stops, the area is one of the most walkable and bikeable neighborhoods in Houston. High-rise condominiums like The Circle at Hermann Park, The Mosaic, The Parklane, The Plaza and The Warwick have helped firmly establish the area as a residential neighborhood. Recent estimates put the small area’s population at around 7,000 residents. 

The Nancy and Rich Kinder Building, a 243K SF expansion of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, finally has an opening date. After breaking ground in 2017, the new wing of the museum will open to the public Nov. 1. The completion of the Kinder Building finishes years of work redeveloping the MFAH’s campus.  

“In five years you won’t recognize the Museum District. What is coming for this corridor is transformative, we want to be a part of that and help lead the way,” Mann said. “Houston is changing more than people realize, it’s becoming more global. First-class architecture needs to be in Houston.”