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New Real Estate Hotspots

Houston's next real estate hotspots: Off-the-radar locales — former hooker haven included — are rising

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Campanile South office building on Richmond Avenue
The six-story Campanile South office building is a new Class A office building on Richmond Avenue. Photo by Ralph Bivins
Somerset Green Hines residential development for Old Katy Road rendering October 2013
The Hines company recently bought 46 acres on Old Katy Road for a high-end residential community, Somerset Green, which will have 500 townhomes priced as high as $1 million. Rendering courtesy of Preston Wood & Associates and Hines
View of South Main street to Texas Medical Center
It's a straight shot down South Main street to the Texas Medical Center Photo by Ralph Bivins
News, Shelby, Houston Design Center, August 2014
The low-density Houston Design Center, with furniture and home décor showrooms, sits on 12 wooded acres with so much potential that it makes developers drool. Courtesy of Houston Design Center
Dinerstein apartments under construction on South Main near Kirby
Construction on South Main includes luxury apartments by Dinnerstein developers. Photo by Ralph Bivins
Houston Energy Corridor traffic Interstate 10
Real estate promoters made the Katy Freeway into the Energy Corridor and now scores of energy companies have offices there and dozens of new office projects are under development. Energy Corridor District/Facebook
News_Washington Avenue, night,
As developers have proved, if you’ve got the moxie and the money, you can create momentum to transform Washington Avenue into an entertainment strip.  Photo by Julie Soefer/Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau
Campanile South office building on Richmond Avenue
Somerset Green Hines residential development for Old Katy Road rendering October 2013
View of South Main street to Texas Medical Center
News, Shelby, Houston Design Center, August 2014
Dinerstein apartments under construction on South Main near Kirby
Houston Energy Corridor traffic Interstate 10
News_Washington Avenue, night,
News_NEW HEAD SHOT_Ralph Bivins

Without zoning, Houston entrepreneurs can create corridors of commerce in a heartbeat. If you’ve got the moxie and the money, you can create momentum to transform Washington Avenue into an entertainment strip. In the 1960s, Mid Lane became Sin Alley, a cool place for apartments for singles.

Real estate promoters made the Katy Freeway into the Energy Corridor and now scores of energy companies have offices there and dozens of new office projects are under development. Real estate momentum is contagious.

Looking ahead, here are five Houston places that could become hot in the not-so-distant future:

1. South Main Street

A stretch of Main, north of Loop 610, could be a lot more. There’s some vacant land, old motels and low-end retail that could be torn down to make way for new projects. It’s almost walking distance to the Texas Medical Center.

 The hookers are gone and South Main is about to rise to its potential. 

Some new things are starting to sprout up, including a nearby apartment complex by long-time Houston multifamily developer Dinerstein Cos. Savvy local homebuilder David Weekley has acquired a small land position. The hookers are gone and South Main is about to rise to its potential.

2. Richmond Avenue

Around Montrose Boulevard, there are plenty of rundown properties that could be the site of new development.  The six-story Campanile South office building is a new Class A office building, that’s an extension of the Campanile development where the Black Labrador is located on Montrose. The U.S. Post Office at 1319 Richmond has been designated for closure, yielding land that will be sold and redeveloped. Midway Cos. is making a big Richmond play at Levy Park, near Kirby Drive.

Look for Richmond east of Kirby all the way down to the site of the old Delman theater to be on the upswing big-time.

3.  Old Katy Road

Located just north of Memorial Park and just east of Loop 610, this area offers a quick commute to downtown or a reverse commute to the Energy Corridor. The low-density Houston Design Center, with furniture and home decor showrooms, sits on 12 wooded acres with so much potential that it makes developers drool.

This area carries the endorsement of master developer Gerald D. Hines, who knows a thing or two about Houston real estate. The Hines company recently bought 46 acres on Old Katy Road for a high-end residential community, Somerset Green, which will have 500 townhomes priced as high as $1 million.

4. South Beltway 8

We’re talking about a bumper crop of vacant land within a 10-minute drive from the Texas Medical Center. Beijing-based Modern Green Development has 48 acres tied up at Beltway 8 and Highway 288 in Pearland for a $300 million mixed-use project. But mostly we’re talking about acres and acres of future light industrial and warehouses all the way from the Southwest Freeway to the Gulf Freeway. A lot has been built in last three or four years, but there’s a lot more to come.

Northwest Houston, which has been the warehouse zone of choice forever, is about built out, so a rotation is coming. Rumors have been circulating that Hines has been kicking tires on the south side. 

5. Grand Parkway

We’re talking about the new stretch of the Grand Parkway a.k.a  Highway 99 that connects the Katy Freeway with Highway 290. This 15-mile portion of the Grand Parkway opened last Christmas. Everybody knows that new roads cutting through the prairie open up a lot of opportunities for creating new subdivisions and master planned communities. But what’s amazing is the new commercial real estate plays on the Grand Parkway.

Earlier this week, plans were announced for Grandway West, a 780,000-square-foot office park, located just north the Katy Freeway. Grandway West seems to be expanding the boundaries of the Energy Corridor.

Ralph Bivins, editor of Realty News Report, is a past president of the National Association of Real Estate Editors.

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