The Grand Parkway Promotes Residential, Commercial Growth In Northeast Houston
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As the new thoroughfare has inched along, the Grand Parkway has spurred residential and commercial growth throughout the outermost areas of Houston. The Northeast corridor is no exception.
While it appears to be plenty of farmland, much of the undeveloped land along the Grand Parkway is already in play, Land Advisors Organization‐Houston Designated Broker Kirk Laguarta said. Developers are in a waiting period of at least two years to break ground as they seek drainage approvals and other permitting.
"When I see the cows, I certainly see it as the interim use of the land," Colliers International principal Todd Edmonds said during Bisnow's The Future of Springwoods Village and the Grand Parkway event in Spring. "It is a little bit deceiving the amount of land that is available. The land that you see is not in production because of the gestation process of permitting."
Several master-planned communities can be found in the corridor along the Grand Parkway between Highway 249 and Interstate 45. More single-family communities are being developed near Springwoods Village with a growing need for more multifamily units, Bisnow previously reported.
Following the trend of rooftops has been the expansion of retail, churches and a new high school, Edmonds said. He experts residential and commercial development to continue to push eastward down the Grand Parkway to I-59. A need for distribution space is rising in response to the "Amazon effect" — retailers continue to want to be closer to households.
"This is what we saw along the Beltway  nearly 20 years ago," Edmonds said.
The final piece of the Grand Parkway puzzle is extending the thoroughfare from I-59 to I-10, according to TxDOT Area Engineer Adam Galland.
The plan is to construct two lanes in each direction to the Liberty County line, which is about the halfway point between the two intersections, and then one lane in each direction with passing lanes to I-10. The design-build project is expected to start in the first quarter of 2022, he said.
TxDOT and Harris County are looking for ways to address the traffic congestion on the Grand Parkway and west of I-45. One solution is to build direct connectors between Grand Parkway and Highway 249, Galland said. TxDOT plans to move forward on that project, but no timeline was outlined at the event.
North Houston Association Executive Director Marlisa Briggs, who said North Houston has been advocating for the Grand Parkway since the early 1990s, also calls for completion of the remaining direct connectors between the Grand Parkway and I-45.
In September, TxDOT plans to introduce recommendations for I-45 redevelopment from FM 1960 to I-610 South, Galland said. A major part of the planning is considering how I-45 will look in 30 years.
The initial research component is complete. Phase 2 will include holding public meetings, outlining the recommendations and gathering feedback from residents to narrow the scope of the project. After a solution is identified, TxDOT will begin the design, conduct environmental studies and finalize funding.
"TxDOT has a huge job," Briggs said. "They have to balance the dollars with community demand and traffic patterns."
The Grand Parkway expansion is part of a citywide mobility plan to construct a third loop around the Greater Houston region. Parts of the east and southern section are incomplete.
"That is the balance for TxDOT," Galland said. "We have to get the entire Grand Parkway built and address congestion in areas that already completed. That is something we are continuously evaluating."