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Houston’s Buffalo Bayou Is Getting Another Large Mixed-Use Development: Autry Park

A rendering of Autry Park, a 14-acre mixed-use development along Buffalo Bayou in Houston.

Hanover Co. and Lionstone Investments are joining the ranks of developers seeking to capitalize on Buffalo Bayou, one of Houston’s most prized outdoor amenities.

The two companies have partnered on Autry Park, a 14-acre mixed-use development at the corner of Allen Parkway and Shepherd Drive. The project is slated to be constructed in three phases that would encompass five towers, 1,450 residential units, 350K SF of Class-A office space and 100K SF of retail, all situated around a central green space.

Phase 1 broke ground in late 2019. That phase includes two luxury multifamily and retail buildings by Hanover Co. totaling 750 residential units. The apartments will connect to 50K SF of curated retail and restaurants. Phase 1 is expected to deliver in the fall of 2021.

Hanover Co. Texas development partner David Ott told Bisnow that the company started assembling the three properties that would eventually comprise the 14 acres in late 2018. One property was previously owned by The Center for Pursuit, while another was owned by Lighthouse for the Blind of Houston. The third property was jointly owned by the city of Houston and Harris County and once housed a juvenile detention center.

The development is named after the heritage park that borders the site, also at the corner of Allen Parkway and Shepherd Drive.

“We've tried to pull the natural landscape from Buffalo Bayou Park into our development with how we've sort of crafted the landscape … we think it's going to be a very unique outdoor retail experience,” Ott said.

An aerial rendering of Autry Park, which will sit alongside Buffalo Bayou a few miles from Downtown Houston.

Hanover Co. and Lionstone worked with the city of Houston and Memorial Heights TIRZ 5 to make infrastructure improvements to the streets and public spaces surrounding the project. Those improvements will include a new lighted intersection on Allen Parkway as the primary entrance to the development, turning onto a new street called Buffalo Park Drive.

Enhanced pedestrian crosswalks and traffic signals will be added at the intersection of Allen Parkway and Shepherd Drive, which has long been a notoriously dangerous juncture for pedestrians. A dedicated bike lane will also be added along West Dallas, to help provide safe pedestrian and bike access into and around Buffalo Bayou Park.

Autry Park is the latest in a list of new developments that are rising close to Buffalo Bayou. DC Partners is working on The Allen, a mixed-use development featuring a luxury hotel, condominiums and a lifestyle pavilion. GID Development Group is working on the second phase of its Regent Square master-planned development, which will have 600 multifamily units and 50K SF of retail. And Weingarten Realty recently completed The Driscoll at River Oaks, a 30-story high-rise with 300 residential units.

“Most of these have been in the works for many years. And it's somewhat coincidental that a lot of it's happening all at the same time,” Ott said. “But I think it's a really good thing [for] creating a critical mass of urban density that will be able to support the vibrant retail and office environment that we're trying to create here.”

Ott said Phase 2 of the project will include boutique office and hospitality, and it could be delivered in 2022. The timeline for the build-out of all three phases remains uncertain, as it will depend on a number of variables, including lease-up activity and Houston’s broader economy.

Project designers and consultants include Ziegler-Cooper Architects, W Partnership, Design Collective Inc., FÖDA and walkability expert Jeff Speck. Austin-based Michael Hsu Office of Architecture was enlisted to oversee Autry Park’s retail spaces and architectural features of its central public park. The landscape architect is OJB.

Retail merchants haven't been announced yet, but Hanover Co. and Lionstone have partnered with Rebees to engage local restaurateurs and independent retailers. National brands will also be included, with the assistance of RUE.

Hanover Co.’s Bryce Jones, Rebees’ Wally Davis and Matt Ragan, and RUE’s Jeremy Zidell and Amanda Aaron are handling retail leasing for Autry Park.