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Public-Private Partnerships Help Houston Go Green

Houston Land

Known as the most air conditioned city in the world, Houston has taken steps to up its sustainability cred, and a new blend of public and private investment is helping make it a reality, according to a report by CBRE.

Building on the success of Downtown’s Discovery Green, which showed proof of concept, Bayou Greenways 2020 has initiated an ambitious project that will create 150 miles of hike and bike trails, transforming 3,000 acres of bayou-fronting land into publicly accessible green space. When the project is complete, 60% of all Houstonians will live within 1.5 miles of Bayou Greenway. It's a public-private partnership between the Houston Parks Board, the City of Houston Parks and Recreation Department, and the Harris County Flood Control District. The Houston Parks Board is leading the private fundraising and managing the acquisition, design and construction of the Bayou Greenways 2020 Project over the next five years.

The recently opened $58M Buffalo Bayou Park is replete with extensive bike/running trails, public artwork, LED lighting, a dog park and pavilions in the shadow of the Bayou City’s skyline. The Buffalo Bayou Park renovation was funded largely by private donations, including one from the Kinder Foundation. This newfound focus on urban green space in Houston has gone a long way in retaining the influx of recent transplants to the Bayou City, most of whom are Millennials, quickly making Houston one of the youngest major metros in the US.


These urban waterways are feeding a stream of commercial development capital. 981 multifamily units are under construction within walking distance of Buffalo Bayou. Park Place at Buffalo Bayou, a 250k SF office building developed by Houston-based Pinto Partners, is proposed and will feature first floor lockers and a fitness center to serve tenants after a humid jog along the bayou.