June 20, 2006
US290, meet I-10

Those of you who live, work, and/or commute along the US290 corridor, I hope you've been paying attention to the Katy Freeway construction, because you'll be experiencing it soon.

Proposed improvements to U.S. 290 and Hempstead Road will affect a long swath of properties along the roadways, according to a study by Mark Sikes, a principal with Lewis Realty Advisors.

The real estate appraiser and consultant said the proposal will affect some 700 parcels, as the Texas Department of Transportation acquires additional right of way to expand the roads.

"It's going to be just like I-10," said Sikes, referring to the businesses and landowners that were displaced because of the expansion.

Sikes, who helps owners negotiate fair values for their properties, said the expansion primarily will affect commercial parcels.

The Houston District of the Transportation Department, along with the Federal Highway Administration and the Harris County Toll Road Authority, are moving forward with a long-range plan to reconstruct the U.S. 290 corridor from the 610 Loop to FM 2920. Property along Hempstead Road will also be affected, as a tollway or HOV lane is planned.

Still, the reconstruction project is many years off.

The department said the land acquisition won't begin until around 2008, according to the latest newsletter posted on its Web site.

The thing is, much of what is currently on 290 is new. When I worked out at 290 and Hollister in the early 90s, there really wasn't much in the way of development along that freeway. Once you got past 34th Street, there was a lot of empty space. Really made for slim pickings at lunch, let me tell you. With all the new development that's there now, I have to wonder just how expensive that land acquisition is going to get.

Now, if Hempstead is more or less as it was 15 years ago, and the bulk of the construction is there, then it won't be as bad. There was even less on Hempstead, and I don't think that's changed as drastically. Can't say for sure, as it's been awhile since I've taken that road, but if that's the main target then maybe this project won't cost a godawful amount. We'll see.

On a side note, let me offer my congratulations to Chron writer Nancy Sarnoff on her new job. I too will miss her Sunday real estate column - I got quite a bit of blog fodder out of it. And thanks to Houstonist for the link.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on June 20, 2006 to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles | TrackBack

Heard Judge Eckels speak yesterday, and he said they want HOT lanes (like Westpark) down Hempstead and move Metro over there, so they can remove the HOV on 290 and rebuild in its existing footprint/RoW - so they won't have to take land around 290.

Posted by: Tory on June 22, 2006 7:54 AM