As well-traveled locals know, great cities (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, London) boast strong, waterfront urban presences. Now, Houston is set to join that mix with an ambitious, years-long development along the East End.
Dubbed East River, this new, 150-acre mixed-use project promises to transform Houston’s waterfront — east of downtown — into a new economic center. East River (as the name implies) will be nestled in the East End, less than a mile from downtown, and bounded by Hirsch Road to the east, Jensen Drive to the west, Clinton Drive to the north, and Buffalo Bayou to the south.
By the numbers, East River will encompass 1,000,000 square feet of new construction extending 60 city blocks. The development, which will break ground this year with a full build-out plan spanning 20 years, comes courtesy of Midway; architects include Page, Munoz + Albin, Mayfield and Ragni Studio (MaRS), and OJB.
To launch the development, a mixed-use project is planned on some 26 acres at the intersection of Jensen Drive and Clinton Drive. A five-story, modern-industrial multifamily community of 360 apartment homes called The Laura will serve new residents.
Approximately 250,000 square feet of office space is designed to fit a wide variety of business needs, according to press materials. An additional 110,000 square feet of retail at the ground floor of the office buildings, garage, and freestanding plaza, and bayou pavilions will feature hospitality, retail, medical, and entertainment.
Outdoors, visitors can expect more than 13,000 square feet of plaza green space — with a full calendar of activations including events and live music. Hikers and bikers will enjoy the Buffalo Bayou hike and bike trails and the nearly 500 miles of bike lanes nearby.
Speaking of green spaces, Midway saved almost 300 trees from the redevelopment of Post Oak Boulevard and other sites around Houston and replanted them in a nursery on the northern boundary of East River. The company also installed two beehives on the East River site in collaboration with Alvéole, a social beekeeping company, in effort to help visitors connect with nature and the environment.
Midway has also unveiled a new 60-by-20-foot Houston-themed mural on the corner of Jensen Drive and Clinton Drive by local artist David Maldonado. The piece was spray-painted on-site over a two-week period, using six shipping containers as the canvas.
Expect more announcements and public events and activations as the project breaks ground.