June 01, 2004
Urban redevelopment update

Great news for my neighborhood: an old industrial area just north of I-10 will be redeveloped as commercial property.

A major shopping center is being planned for a long-overlooked industrial site just west of downtown.

Property Commerce, a local retail developer, will build the project on land that was once home to a tool manufacturer.

Situated at the junction of Interstate 10 and Taylor, the center will feature Target as its first big tenant. The discount shopping giant also will be the first so-called big-box retailer to move into the area in years.

Industry watchers say the move indicates a significant demographic change.

"We're developing a more mature inner city, and the retailers are recognizing the demographics," said Lawrence Plotsky of the Plotsky group, a retail brokerage firm.

Tiffany will be thrilled to have a Target this close to home. We're talking about a mile away, right next door to the Adickes studio and the giant Presidential heads.

Developers from the company recently met with area residents and District H City Councilman Adrian Garcia to notify them of the project.

They were greeted with open arms.

"Almost everyone sees it as an improvement," said Marcia Perry, president of the First Ward Civic Council.

Indeed, the surrounding neighborhoods, including the Heights, the near north side, the Sixth Ward, downtown and the First Ward, have seen their residential population increase, while retail development has been minimal.

That's primarily because of the complexity of amassing large tracts of close-in land, developers said.

Most of the retail development in the area has been small strip centers.

According to the developer, Target is the only retailer signed up for the new center. But that will likely change.

If Property Commerce can secure all of the 30 acres, the final product could rival other Houston shopping centers like Meyerland Plaza.

"This will be a godsend in terms of making it less necessary to drive out to Memorial City, the Galleria or Greens-point," Perry said. "We have good feelings about it."

If we're going to have big-box retailers around, I'd much rather see them reuse old developments rather than dig up green spaces. This project is a perfect example of that, and I hope it's the start of a trend. There is one thing I'd like to know, though. Taylor Street, which will be the route to this shopping center from I-10, is a narrow, potholed mess. It also passes over two sets of train tracks, one of which is like the worst speed bump you've ever encountered. Will there be any improvements to this road in conjunction with the overall construction? If so - and I can't imagine this coming to fruition otherwise - will the city do it, or will they give some huge tax incentives to the developer to do it for them? I'm not nitpicking here (yet), but I do want to know the answers to those questions.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on June 01, 2004 to Elsewhere in Houston | TrackBack

Yippee! I usually go to the "River Oaks" Target. This will cut my distance in half. And let me avoid the perpetually jammed traffic on 610.

Posted by: erica on June 5, 2004 4:31 PM

I'm a property owner close by the proposed development. Is there any way that neighborhood groups can approach the development company about acrhitectural integrity and light control issues with the new center? I'd hate to lose an opportunity to start this thing off right. Any suggestions?

Posted by: Mark Green on June 27, 2004 11:04 PM