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Inducing demand: Not just for misguided highway projects in the exurbs

This article about the construction of the North Line demonstrates that development follows transit projects, too.

One of the biggest real estate projects in the area is the former FedEx site on Irvington.

It was conceived in 2002 to address recommendations made in the city’s Northside Village Economic Revitalization Plan.

The city’s plan called for the redevelopment of industrial and semi-industrial properties into single-family residential, as well as the development of multifamily housing on commercial corridors.

Next year, the site will be home to the new apartment complex called Avenue Terrace, the first of multiple development phases that will include a subdivision of 95 homes, a neighborhood park and walking trail.

It’s a project of the Avenue Community Development Corp., a nonprofit affordable housing developer that owns another former commercial site across from Moody Park where it’s developing a senior housing project.

“There was really the desire to see some of these larger commercial sites in the neighborhood redeveloped as housing and resident-friendly commercial,” said Mary Lawler, Avenue CDC’s executive director.

Imagine that, new housing and retail being built close to downtown to accommodate a light rail line. What used to be an industrial/warehouse zone will soon be residential. We know that highway projects, including and especially dumb ones like the Grand Parkway (which has cousins in other parts of the country), will induce demand, but we don’t often talk about transit doing the same. Doesn’t it make a lot more sense to do that close to the center of the city, where people will have the option of not driving to work, than way out in the middle of nowhere? Isn’t it better to do brownfield redevelopment than paving over farmlands and floodplains? Certainly, as a city of Houston resident, I like seeing the tax base expand here, rather than see it move out to places like Hockley or wherever. I just wish we did more of this.

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