Construction near where I work

Via Swamplot, I learn about two big construction projects going on near where I work. First, at OST and Kirby, a short walk from my office:

On Old Spanish Trail at Kirby, where Target and Garden Ridge used to be, Simmons Vedder is ready to go with this exciting version of a retail-and-residences mix. They company is leasing the land back from the Texas General Land Office.

Yes, that’s three stories of apartments above a brand new strip center facing O.S.T. No need for fake towers at the corners on this one!

I’ve complained quite a bit about the lack of good lunch options in the immediate vicinity of my workplace. Hopefully, that strip center will include someplace worthwhile to eat.

Swamplot also links to this Houston Business Journal story, which answers a question I’ve had about another large project farther east on OST.

[Simmons Vedder] broke ground in the first quarter of 2007 on Equinox, an 8.4-acre, upscale apartment complex at Old Spanish Trail at Almeda, also near the Medical Center. The project’s 304-unit first phase will be ready by mid-year 2008. Phase 2, with about 300 units, will likely start in summer 2008.

The total development cost for Equinox is about $67 million, [Simmons Vedder partner Rick] Craig says.

Simmons Vedder wanted to build near the Texas Medical Center because the considerable amount of commercial construction under way in the area is expected to generate a substantial number of additional jobs.

“It’s just a huge amount of activity, just massive,” Craig says. “We think we’ll have a lot of people associated with the medical profession who will want to live there to be close to work.”

Both of these projects (the one at Kirby is also a SV property) are within walking distance of the Smithlands light rail stop, too. A longish walk from Almeda, I admit – a bit less than a mile – but a doable one. Some friends of mine who lived in the apartments on OST on the other side of Almeda and who were Texans season ticket holders used to walk to the games at Reliant from there. Given the massive amounts of traffic at the stadium on Sundays, it was about a wash, timewise. Obviously, walking to the train will be a more appealing option to the folks at Kirby, but it will be an option for the folks at Almeda, too. Point is, having that kind of access to the Medical Center will make these locations more attractive to folks who work there and are looking to live in town.

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