Houston's Next Hotspot?
EaDo. Just saying the name makes you seem a tiny bit more hip. Once forgotten and downtrodden, the area east of Downtown is now at the forefront of a renaissance in post-industrial development. A few years into its revival, EaDo is maturing into an area of choice, not just opportunity.
The East Downtown District executive director Anton Sinkewich says EaDo’s authenticity is one of its major draws. Houston’s track record of historic preservation is short. Developers in EaDo have been smart to capitalize on the area’s unique buildings.
The most important development to the area’s continued revival is the ambitious mixed-use project East Village. The Ancorian project will create 60k SF of retail and office space just a few blocks from the Dynamo’s stadium. The project is an adaptive reuse that will maintain the original industrial architecture with brick and metal siding.
The two structures at East Village will eventually house 10 to 15 retailers with office space above. Ancorian says it's already 65% pre-leased with tenants like a vodka distillery and an architecture firm.
Meanwhile, co-working companies are drawn to EaDo's industrial vibe.
Anton pointed out that as the area matures, industrial is taking a back seat. Light industrial tenants are slowly moving out as property values continue to climb. The area doesn’t have the infrastructure to accommodate their growing business either. The railyards were decommissioned ages ago.
Major infrastructure projects are in the works though, like the complete revamp of the streetscape south of McKinney between Chartres and Dowling, adjacent to East Village. The project being executed by the EaDo Management District and TIRZ 15 will begin construction late this year.
Hospitality and entertainment are the future of EaDo. The push for development around GRBCC, Minute Maid and BBVA Compass inevitably spills over, and land values and construction cost of projects Downtown have driven developers to take a second look at EaDo. Multifamily is starting to take root in the area with projects like the Circuit Lofts, a ground-up that’s leasing up quickly. The former Waddell Furniture warehouse is being converted to residential units as well. The 103-year-old property consists of two structures totaling about 120k SF. Once converted, it'll have 94 units averaging 700 SF at about $1k/month. The community is expected to be completed Q1 2017.
Anton claims EaDo has hit a critical mass of people for grocers to take note. It’s not a matter of if, but when, he tells us. As the grocery wars rage on across the Houston area, every side is looking for its next opportunity. EaDo is a very complicated play for grocers, though. Land prices have been skyrocketing around the stadium and convention center. Many are finding deals in the outlying suburbs to be the better opportunity.
EaDo is transitioning from a place that people end up in to one that people want to be in. Every weekend, more Houstonians are giving EaDo a shot and loving what they find.