The Energy Corridor's Next Step
According to Energy Corridor District prez/Wolff Cos EVP David Hightower, the Energy Corridor is at a transition point, from booming suburb to urban mixed-use paradise. That’s why we're excited to present our Future of the Energy Corridor event, starting at 7am on Oct. 31.
As land prices and demand driving the Energy Corridor to urban development, that’ll definitely include multifamily development filling in throughout. He thinks the next wave of residential projects will be executive high-density housing, like what Gables has done in the Galleria. The demand for multifamily is certainly there—the Energy Corridor has already delivered 2.2M SF of office space this year, and has 4.6M SF in the dirt. That will house 27,000 jobs, which equals 5,500 units of multifamily demand, and that doesn’t even consider the 5.5M SF of office planned.
To stitch everything together, the Energy Corridor District is bringing on Sasaki Associates. District GM Clark Martinson says the goal is to be a Millennial-friendly place where people can live near work and enjoy the outdoors. He says the Sasaki team (who will be at our event, looking for your input) will develop their plan this winter. Within six months, the Corridor should have a program agreed to with a 20-year service plan. Pictured: Clark and his wife Lisa tested Stavanger, Norway’s new GoBike electric assist bike-share system while attending the Offshore Northern Seas Conference this August.
Clark has four main hopes for the vision:
• More pedestrian bridges over Buffalo Bayou and the Corridor’s various creeks. Pictured, the Carruth Bridge spanning Buffalo Bayou near Downtown.
• Reconstruction of Memorial Drive to decrease delays at intersections, and a separation of bikes and cars. He would like to see Memorial, Eldridge, and Park Row become pedestrian-friendly.
• Terry Hershey Park’s transformation into a waterfront park that connects all the development along it (including Skanska, Grayco, and PMRG).
• Addicks Park and Ride becomes a transit center and adds a circulator through the Corridor. The District is doing a station-area market study to look at all the new development, and might do a transit-oriented development on the park and ride lot.
David feels the Addicks Park and Ride could be a real game-changer—he envisions it becoming a major regional transit center that allows people to bus in from other areas of town (especially Katy—40% of BP’s employees live within Cinco Ranch) and then use the circulator to get around—to the office, over to the hospitals, and maybe to some shopping before heading home. Speaking of those mixed uses, the Energy Corridor District and West Houston Association are working to get more higher ed in the area, including discussions with UH and HCC. The TMC-West is growing; Methodist just finished its second MOB and is planning an expansion of its hospital now.
David gave us a Wolff update—Central Park is finishing infrastructure, and the 15.3-acre tract on the freeway is now shovel-ready. He’s talking to users there for high-density residential, office, or (his favorite) hotel with convention center (he’s talking to the top three flags). Worthing will deliver multifamily units in spring. Over at Ten Oaks, two hotels just broke ground, and Hunington is hoping to be in the dirt in the next 45 days. That leaves the 3.3-acre retail site and a six-acre parcel that’s gotten offers for multifamily and office/medical. Both David and Clark will be presenting at our Future of the Energy Corridor event on Oct. 31—sign up now!