Three Ways to Save Greenspoint
Greenspoint has been hit with some blows recently, namely the departure of many big companies, which sent vacancy to 3M SF. Experts at Bisnow’s Future of Greenspoint event this week discussed three things that could get it on the right track.
1) Mall Redevelopment
Greenspoint District VP Bart Baker (right, with District president Greg Simpson and Page’s Wendy Heger) says Greenspoint Mall is the greatest redevelopment opportunity in Houston. It’s 125 acres at an amazing intersection that turns it into the focal point of the submarket. It could be a significant mixed-use project and jewel of the district, but meanwhile it’s hurting the area. The only thing holding it back is the owners’ refusal to sell. (Different parts of the tract are owned by different groups.)
Will that change soon? The majority owner recently sold a couple of retail properties, including the San Jacinto Mall, which could indicate it’ll consider selling Greenspoint Mall. People seem to have KDC pegged as the perfect developer (perhaps because of its large corporate/mixed-use developments around Dallas)— VP William Peeples says his firm has been getting calls saying the mall owner is considering selling, and they want KDC to look at the opportunity. William (here between Old Republic Title’s Anne Louise Conway and Friendswood Development senior acquisitions manager Michael Johnson) believes the site is ripe for a vibrant mixed-use project, but says it couldn’t be done spec. That brings us to our next point…
2) Giant Corporate User
William says 3M SF of vacancy won’t be filled again without a catalytic event like a HQ coming into the area and demanding amenities nearby. CBRE EVP Lucian Bukowski (pictured with FMG’s Alyson Wilson) agrees; he says the best bet is to find an out-of-state company drawn to Texas’ business-friendly environment and the airport. He’s also ID’d a great option right here in Houston: United. It’s looking to move out of Downtown, and he says if you can’t attract a massive airline to office near the airport, you might have a problem.
3) Nightlife and/or Entertainment Change its Reputation
Lucian’s got another idea for revitalization: create fun after-hours experiences. Building a sports facility or fine dining would keep employees in Greenspoint or draw them to the submarket after work. The Greenspoint District is focusing on a marketing campaign that’s partially aimed to combat people’s conception that Greenspoint is unsafe (all the panelists agreed that crime is not an issue; data shows it’s equal to or less than other Houston business centers). But Lucian says you can’t advertise away a reputation. The only thing that will truly convince people it’s a safe place is if they have a positive experience there. Here’s our moderator, Transwestern EVP Michelle Wogan, with Colvill’s Damon Thames, Villa Serena’s Steve Moore, CBRE’s Wyatt McCulloch and Brookfield’s Jon Dutton.