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  1. It's a pretty long article: Houston's Buffalo Bayou Transformation Offers Flood-Plan Lessons to Other Cities How to Turn a Drainage Ditch Into a Regional Amenity in Era of Climate Change The growing climate change challenge facing commercial developers came into sharp focus as Hurricane Harvey dumped 27 trillion gallons of rain onto Houston two years ago, wreaking $125 billion in damage and displacing almost 30,000 people. Floodwaters rose 38 feet, destroying sections of a recently renovated public park. Urban planners and onlookers watched in astonishment as new lawns, picnic tables and shelters in Buffalo Bayou Park were swept into the flood that at one point made staircases, street signs and lamps barely visible. Mountains of sand and debris littered the park's western end. Yet within a week, joggers returned to the trails and the restaurant at the park resumed serving avocado toast to customers to raise money for flood relief funds. While it took a full year for the park to be fully restored, its basic functions were intact thanks to the $58 million revitalization that shored up the bayou’s historical role as a flood control mechanism for the city. Completed in 2015, it transformed what was basically a drainage ditch into a regional outdoor amenity with features that also serve as flood storage, according to an Urban Land Institute study. The relatively fast reopening signals how urban planning mitigated the damage of one of the costliest floods in U.S. history. And planners say it now holds broader lessons as the growing challenge to plan for the effects of climate change becomes a larger part of commercial development. “This is an issue that's facing cities across America in different ways," said Anne-Marie Lubenau, a Boston architect and director of the board behind the Rudy Bruner Award, a national urban planning accolade given to the Buffalo Bayou Partnership for its work along the bayou. "In Boston you've got coastal erosion and big snow storms; we’ve got fires in California; water is a challenge in [Houston] and this project addresses it in a bold way, but also in a way that, while it is unique and distinctive to the bayou, it also incorporates a number of design moves that can be adapted to other cities.” Houston, a city with no zoning codes that's not often held up as a bastion of urban planning, gained national attention from planners by showing how urban systems projects can create green spaces while planning for floods. The work included 2.3 miles of waterfront land along Buffalo Bayou, roughly the length of New York's Central Park, and it added 10 miles of walking and biking trails with four pedestrian bridges. The project spurred significant real estate building in the area. Since 2012, within a 1-mile radius of the project, nearly 6 million square feet of new multifamily and retail space was constructed, according to CoStar’s analysis. In total, about 50 new commercial properties were developed that, if sold today, could be worth about $1.4 billion, according to CoStar’s modeling. That's a significant return on investment for a project sparked by a partnership between the nonprofit Buffalo Bayou Partnership, the city and flood control district. It was kicked off by a $30 million gift from the Kinder Foundation, the nonprofit backed by Houston billionaire and oil baron Rich Kinder. Now, the Buffalo Bayou Partnership, the nonprofit behind that revitalization, is setting its sights on the east end of the bayou, which is much wider and less flood-prone, and it has long been an industrial area. The east end of the bayou turns into the Houston Ship Channel, home to 330 public and private terminals that are owned by more than 150 companies, and it empties into the Gulf of Mexico. Plans for the east end are much larger and more ambitious than what was done successfully on the bayou's west side. Buffalo Bayou East is a 20-year master plan expected to cost $200 million to transform four miles of waterfront land on the bayou and create 263 acres of parks and 40 miles of trails and paths with seven pedestrian bridges. Some land use experts are calling the plan one of the most complex waterfront redevelopment projects in the country. It comes as real estate investors are increasingly concerned about how climate change would affect real estate markets and urban planners from New York to San Francisco are looking for more ways to creatively manage water in growing population centers. “For those of us not from Houston, we don't think of the city as being associated with a strong ethic of planning. This really shifts the paradigm," said Lubenau. Former Industrial Sites In Houston, the bayou is not known for its pristine beauty – the brown, opaque waters of the river are home to bass, catfish, alligator gars, a fish native to Texas with razor sharp teeth, and alligator snapping turtles, as well as the occasional alligator. The bayou often has high levels of bacteria that make it unsafe for swimming and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality recommends not to eat any fish caught in the bayou. Nevertheless, the Buffalo Bayou Partnership aims to transform a patchwork of public and private land, including several abandoned industrial sites, into an area focused on the water with seven boat landings. It aims to connect the African American and Hispanic communities of the Fifth Ward and Great East neighborhoods to one another and give the historically working class neighborhoods new access to nature and 200 acres of open space. “In some ways, what’s different about it is the scale and complexity of it all,” said Cary Hirschstein, a partner at HR&A Advisors, a real estate, economic development and public policy firm. It co-led the master planning process of the proposed east project along with landscape architecture firm Michael Van Valkenburg Associates. The project represents a unique infusion of investment into historically working class communities that typically don’t see investments of this scale, Hirschtein said in an interview. The restored industrial structures harken to other similar projects across the country, from Concrete Plant Park in the Bronx in New York City, Gas Works Park in Seattle or Steel Stacks Park near Philadelphia in Pennsylvania, which all turned industrial properties into nationally recognized community spaces. But this project would affect a much larger area than those parks in terms of acreage. “There are really incredible industrial elements that we want to celebrate. It’s going to be unlike any other place in Houston, if not the country,” Hirschtein said. The revitalization efforts focus first on 70 acres of land, including 50 acres owned by the Buffalo Bayou Partnership, running along a four-mile stretch of the river. But the plan envisions a much wider area of influence and aims to give developers and investors design guidelines and a vision for renovating the eastern side of downtown. The project is expected to be a game changer for commercial real estate in the area. “The Buffalo Bayou East revitalization plans are almost certain to lead to a rise in property values, which could drive a new vision for reimagining best-and-highest-use along the eastern portion of the bayou,” said Justin Boyar, director of market analytics in Houston for CoStar, in an email. Boyar notes two Houston neighborhoods, the Second and Fifth Ward, bordering the Buffalo Bayou East project are located in opportunity zones with tax incentives likely to attract investors. “If done smartly and inclusively, this could also be an opportunity to serve and unite historically neglected working class communities,” he added. Redevelopment Interest On the east side of the bayou, private developers are already making massive changes that could further speed growth and gentrification in the hip, former industrial district called EaDo, short for East Downtown, which is similar to Deep Ellum in Dallas or East Austin, Texas, which were both noted as "Cool Streets" on Cushman & Wakefield's 2019 report on hipness. “It’s definitely growing very quickly, we have quite a few developers looking into the district trying to see which properties are available and how they can start to redevelop,” said Jessica Bacorn, executive of the East Downtown Management District, the local economic development group for the area, in an interview. Bacorn said the district has seen an “influx of development” in recent years from new restaurants to coworking spaces. “The vibe that’s in EaDo, with all the arts and culture that’s already there, I think we’re seeing a lot of developers coming in who aren’t looking to change the culture, which is one thing I love about the district and the area. They’re looking at what’s already there,” Bacorn said. Midway, the developer behind the CityCentre mixed-use project in west Houston, is preparing to break ground on a 150-acre project along the eastern end of the bayou spanning 60 city blocks in Houston’s Fifth Ward neighborhood, which also is located in an opportunity zone. The project, called East River, is being touted as walkable where urban-meets-nature oasis that “celebrates local cultures, cuisines, arts and history” with 8.9 million square feet of office, 1,440 apartments, 500,000 square feet of retail space and 390 hotel rooms, according to Midway's website. Midway’s East River site, which was pitched as a potential location to Amazon during its second headquarters search, is one of the largest contiguous blocks of land in the nation located within a mile of several major employment centers: downtown, the Houston Ship Channel, and the Texas Medical Center, said Boyar, the CoStar analyst. “Given the Buffalo Bayou East and East River plans, combined with its opportunity zone status, the area is solidly located in the path of growth for urban infill development,” Boyar said. The plans are creating some jitters about gentrification and concerns about pushing low-income communities out. At a public panel to reveal the master plan in October, three protesters disrupted the meeting shouting anti-gentrification slogans for 10 tense minutes before an audience member convinced them to leave after police were called. The protesters, who were not arrested but refused to speak to media or provide their names, argued that east end development would raise land values and price out working class communities. Anne Olson, president of the Buffalo Bayou Partnership, told CoStar News it was the first time the nonprofit had heard vocal opposition to their plans in more than two years of community engagement discussions. Reclaiming Waterfront Proponents of the plan say it was drawn up in a way that aims to maintain the character and people of the community. A handful of other low-income residents at the meeting expressed support for the proposal. The issue of equity was important to the nonprofit’s master planning as the consultants for Buffalo Bayou Partnership engaged in conversations with more than a 1,000 people, said Hirschtein, the partner with HR&A who has worked on the project for four years. “There’s been a tremendous amount of investment in open space across the city and it’s tended to skew toward affluent places. This allows communities to reclaim their waterfront. These are communities that have been disconnected from their water space,” Hirschtein said in an Oct. 28 panel discussion about the partnership’s master plan. Concern about pricing residents out drove the nonprofit to think more broadly than just planning a beautiful park, he noted. “The plan has a real focus on inclusive economic development. There are elements that you don't see in a normal park master plan like providing affordable housing on-site as part of this project,” Hirschtein said. As part of the proposal, Buffalo Bayou Partnership wants to build a mixed-income residential community called Lockwood South, which would provide a combination of multifamily, single-family homes and workforce housing near Lockwood Drive. It would be next to other mixed-income communities proposed by other nonprofits with the help of disaster relief funding, said Olson, president of Buffalo Bayou Partnership, in an interview. The nonprofit is also redeveloping a 50,000-square-foot former barge terminal, warehouse and wastewater treatment facility along Navigation Boulevard into a community event center and possible incubator space for neighborhood businesses and food service at a site called Turkey Bend. Olson added that the partnership would aim to work with local entrepreneurs and small businesses with ties to the neighborhood in finding any retail tenants or assisting with event programming. “We could sell that property in a minute to some developer who could turn it into a shi-shi bar, but it is something that but we want to make into an community space for the neighborhood,” Olson said. Awaiting 500-Year Floods Beyond economic and cultural resiliency, the proposal also aims to bolster the environmental strength of the eastern side of Buffalo Bayou. Parts of the bayou are still recovering from Hurricane Harvey, when the region was devastated by flooding over four days in August 2017. That’s sparked an effort to this day to determine how to make Houston’s waterfront more resilient. And planners with the Buffalo Bayou Partnership are trying to take lessons from the historic flood. To combat the impact of possible flooding, the nonprofit’s plan calls for stabilizing eroding banks, designing structures that can withstand 500-year floods and creating spaces that are easier to clean after major flooding. Those types of storms are an increasing concern, with executives naming climate change the top risk to organizational growth this year, according to KPMG’s 2019 Global CEO Outlook report. And the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change urges elected leaders to make sweeping changes to combat climate change and sea level rise, such as creating dikes or seawalls, maintaining mangroves or coral reefs and raising buildings along shorelines. Scott McCready, principal of SWA Group, a key planner in the western end of the Buffalo Bayou Park, agrees that preparing for flooding is an increasingly good investment. "While we never anticipated a Hurricane Harvey scale, we did anticipate [flooding]. We had serious discussions about where to place trails, how to design docks, all that kind of thing. So we had an incredibly responsive plan and responsible design to help minimize issues," he said in the panel discussion. But the park also owes its resiliency to the public-private partnerships the Buffalo Bayou has formed with the city, the Downtown Development Authority and the Harris County Flood Control District, he said. “We have this partnership in place and that is how I define resilience,” McCready said.
  2. https://www.virtualbx.com/construction-preview/houston-housing-authority-partners-with-california-developer-on-two-multifamily-projects/
  3. This thread was originally created April 2016. I'm reposting this because this post and other content from me are no longer available on the forum. The original thread is archived here: page 1, page 2. 2403 Caroline Street in Midtown, Houston.
  4. State board approves demolition of senior living facility at 2100 Memorial https://communityimpact.com/houston/heights-river-oaks-montrose/city-county/2019/09/05/2100-memorial-demolition/
  5. I saw this out the bus window when leaving Wheeler Station. Does anybody know anything about it?
  6. The NHP Foundation received a $1.5M annual allocation of 9% credits from the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs to construct 149 units of permanent affordable housing in Houston’s Midtown neighborhood. Additionally, the city of Houston Department of Housing and Community Development has allocated $15M through its Harvey Multifamily Program. The project is also being considered for funding by the Harris County Community Services Department. Magnificat Houses Inc. is providing the land and is NHPF's partner in the development. The property, located at 3300 Caroline St., will contain 149 rental units, recreational amenities and space for the supportive services. In addition, 20% of 3300 Caroline's units will be set aside for formerly homeless people who have gone through transitional housing programs such as Magnificat's and are willing to become the equivalent of college resident advisers.
  7. 85-unit affordable housing complex to sit behind Hanover Hermann Park https://www.houstontx.gov/council/committees/housing/20190917/housingdept.pdf
  8. Possibly a thread about this already? I recognize the developer. Change Happens in Third Ward. https://www.changehappenstx.org/
  9. New plat proposed for something called Emancipation Eado by Allied Orion Group.
  10. https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Coming-to-Greenspoint-A-77-million-325-unit-16314845.php The city on Wednesday approved a $15 million loan to help finance a 325-unit affordable housing complex near the Greenspoint Mall, by far the largest project in the city’s Harvey recovery program and one officials hope will help revitalize the area.
  11. "On a statewide level, the TDHCA awarded $81.6 million in tax credits to a total of 71 affordable housing developments, including 10 in Houston. Another proposed project in the area that submitted an application to the TDHCA – a 180-unit complex called The Ella planned for 1718 W. 26th St. – was not awarded a tax credit." https://theleadernews.com/topfeature/dian-street-villas-project-awarded-housing-tax-credit/
  12. Saw this while in Galveston for a day trip. Looks to be a major catalyst for this side of the island. http://blockcompanies.com/projects/the-oleanders-at-broadway https://cw39.com/news/texas/new-photos-more-affordable-housing-coming-to-galveston-in-2023/
  13. St. Elizabeth's Place Phase II (Building is located at 4514 Lyons Avenue, Houston, Texas. The site area is 1.09 acres, adjacent to St. Elizabeth's Place Phase I (Building A - Historic). St. Elizabeth's Place consists of new construction of a 5 story structure of approximately 133,000 SF for 94 affordable rental dwelling units; level 4 amenity/pool deck, courtyard and 129 onsite parking spaces in an attached/embedded 3 level parking structure. • Garage: 54,797 SF • Gross Residential: 78,204 SF OWNER: Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corporation
  14. Sits outside the TMC W. Leland Anderson Campus and Levit Green on Dixie road. https://houstontx.gov/housing/publiclegal/notices/2020/07/PGM-MULTIFAMILY_DEVELOPMENTS_JULY_2020_CDBG_DR-E-071720.pdf Loopnet listing: https://www.loopnet.com/Listing/3232-Dixie-Dr-Houston-TX/8356546/
  15. http://blog.constructionjournal.com/manson-place-offers-affordable-housing-to-parent-scholars-in-houston?utm_campaign=Project Articles&utm_content=196168547&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook&hss_channel=fbp-168918956457941
  16. 5.50 acres at 4828 N Shepherd Dr. https://www.loopnet.com/Listing/4828-N-Shepherd-Dr-Houston-TX/7361727/ https://www.dakotaprop.com/coming-soon Demolition permit issued for one of the industrial buildings.
  17. 114 unit affordable senior living complex https://www.houstontx.gov/council/committees/housing/20190917/housingdept.pdf
  18. Project Name: Torrey Chase Apartments Location Address: 1800 St. James Place Start Date: 1/15/2022 Completion Date: 11/1/2023 Estimated Cost: $25,000,000 Scope of Work: New construction of a Four-story Apartment Project with One story Community Building Square Footage: 270,264 ft 2
  19. Noticed they demolished the warehouse at 5601 Canal the other week. They've made good progress in clearing the space. It's the future site of mixed-income housing called the Canal Lofts. 150 units and a senior (?) community (http://www.blazerbuilding.com/portfolio/construction/) Their website says spring 2021, but I'm sure that's been pushed back since they haven't even fully cleared the land yet. Some more info from CoH about funding: https://houstontx.gov/housing/communication/2020/plain/0622.html Will try to snap some photos next time we walk past. 5601canal.pdf
  20. http://www.laidesigngroup.com/single-post_coleman_center.html
  21. Located at 5612 S. Rice near Glenmont. https://thebrownstonegroup.net/developments/ Developments listed below are either complete or under construction. They are listed based on their completion date (or placed in service date) or the date that they are planned for completion.
  22. https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/c48a167c25b34b91aab2aedd56636624?cover=false
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