Meet The Developers Most Bullish On The 290 Corridor
For decades, Highway 290 has been thought of as the worst highway in Houston, and that's kept residents and commercial development at bay. With the completion of TxDOT’s improvements imminent, major developers are incredibly confident in the area. Could 290 be the next West U?
No one is more bullish on 290 than Fidelis. CEO Alan Hassenflu (speaking above at our 290 Corridor event yesterday) says his firm will buy and develop as many properties in the area as possible. It's already begun; Fidelis purchased Exxon Mobil’s former Brookhollow home and will turn the campus into a retail center. Alan says the strength of the submarket is tied to the housing and school districts around it. The 290 corridor benefits from the Heights more than any submarket. Alan thinks the 290 corridor is positioned in the same way West U, Southside and Old Braeswood were 20 to 30 years ago.
Lincoln Property SVP Kevin Wyatt (above with Parmenter's Josh Hedderich) has known traffic problems on 290 nearly his entire life. He grew up in Spring and remembers riding his bike as a kid on the old rights-of-way when 290 was last being renovated. Kevin says as soon as that round of construction was complete, the problem amplified and traffic was just as bad. He’s confident the same issue won’t be repeated. This time, TxDOT is getting it right.
Renovations of the 38-mile stretch of 290 from 610 to 2920 are expected to be completed by late 2017. (A few pieces are already finished, and others are expected to complete sooner.) The entire project has been a monumental effort from TxDOT: three times the amount of concrete in the Hoover Dam will be used for 290 development.
Location and (newly upgraded) mobility are the biggest draws to the area, according to Gemini-Rosemont managing director Michele Ellis-Felder (with Gregg Raymond of Commercial Dynamics). For businesses with a lot of travel, particularly service-based businesses, the area has no equal. Every submarket and every major highway are within reach, and with Texas Central rail planning its Houston terminal in the area, it’s only getting better.
When you factor in the price of the area, office space in the 290 corridor is one of the best buys for your dollar. Michele says business are starting to see the opportunity. She calls it a “flight to economics.”