Programs : Planning and Development
Central Houston leads or assists in comprehensive planning advocacy, working closely with the Houston Downtown Management District, City of Houston, METRO, Harris County and area development associations. The following are planned or anticipated downtown or downtown-adjacent projects.
- Master Planning - Southern Downtown / CBD Market Assessment to assess the market potential of the southern portion of downtown Houston.
- Development – Regional Tourism Center | Reconfigure Avenida de las Americas. Support role to the City of Houston for a reconfigured block between GRB Convention Center and Minute Maid Park, to house the Nau Center for Texas Cultural Heritage, including relocation of the two historic houses. North- & southbound lanes to be reduced from four- to two-lanes at 600 block of AdlA, with 700 block used for lane transitions.
- Development – 806 Main Street Hotel. Collaborating with developer, City and METRO to review proposed hotel and LRT operations at Rusk and Main. Investigating street design options to assist with hotel traffic.
- Downtown High School. Participate with HISD Trustees, Administration and Friends of HSPVA to develop plans for downtown high school facilities for HISD's magnet school, the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts.
- Development – Convention Hotel and International Zone. Support role to private development for hotel and mixed-use development east of GRB Convention Center and SH-59 at Polk and Chartres streets.
- Development – Convention Center Hotel | Block 99. Support role for development of second convention center hotel, to be named Marriot Marquis.
- Residential & Mixed-Use Planning – Warehouse District, Northeast Quadrant and Southeast Quadrant. Prepare “neighborhood sketch plans” to initiate activity and inform comprehensive downtown master planning or guidelines for a refreshed framework, integrating the projects with related projects such as the H-GAC Livable Centers study.
- Master Planning - UH Downtown. Support the University’s planning efforts in their development of master plan; collaborate with University’s planning team to provide information for future expansion.
- Master Planning – Mixed-use Retail Core Area.
- Bayou Improvements – Buffalo Bayou North Channelization. Participating as a stakeholder in the Buffalo Bayou Partnership’s Master Plan and working with the Harris County Flood Control District, long term planning for channeling the bayou including street, bridge and bayou path improvements. Short-term coordination with HCFCD and downtown businesses to assist with cost benefit analysis of channelization.
- Bayou Improvements – International Coffee Building. Serving as the funding recipient for TXDOT providing match grant to Buffalo Bayou Partnership for historic renovation to the ICB.
- Tranquility Park. Provide ongoing stakeholder involvement for future redevelopment of Tranquility Park. Collaborate as a leading stakeholder with Parks & Recreation in all phases of future work.
- Jones Plaza. Provide ongoing stakeholder involvement for future re-development of Jones Plaza, based on 2010 Visioning Meeting as led by Gensler for Convention & Entertainment Facilities.
- Lighting Improvements – LED Street Lighting Pilot. After testing fixture performance and evaluating economics during a pilot phase, make a recommendation to Board for phased upgrading to street lights on certain thoroughfares.
- Lighting Improvements – Main Street OCS Pole Lighting Pilot. Based on past performance and low-level lighting output of “sail” fixtures along Main Street, south of Texas, select with CenterPoint new street lights to be mounted to METRO OCS poles.
- Lamar Street Pedestrian Lighting Pilot. As a test pattern, install 10-12 light fixtures on south side of Lamar from Crawford to Austin. Based on fixture performance, develop plans for pedestrian lighting particularly within the “Z-Corridor” linking Convention Center, hotels, retail, Main Street and Historic District.
- Sidewalk Improvements – Travis to Fannin from Clay to Jefferson. Support and overview of current project design and construction with the TIRZ.
- Sidewalk Improvements – Southeast Quadrant. Support and overview a project to design and construct sidewalk and related amenities (landscape, lighting) per downtown guidelines. Coordinate improvements with property owners. Leverage right-of-way design for future developments.
- METRO | LRT – Capitol & Rusk Streets (plus Hamilton, Texas and Buffalo Bayou). Ongoing stakeholder leadership on the downtown segments of Southeast Line, including tree mitigation coordination, station and transfer station design, garage access, owner representation, and construction coordination.
- Street Improvements – Dallas from Crawford to Caroline. Streetscape modifications including wider sidewalk at south side of Dallas, new landscaping, new pedestrian lighting, new street lighting, underground electrical utilities from current overhead; continuation of previous street improvements from Bagby to Caroline linking hotels with Convention Center.
- Bike Share Program.
- Neighborhood Connections – Elysian Viaduct New Bridge and Roadway. Continue design studies related to Elysian Viaduct and connections between downtown and near northside.
- Neighborhood Connections – Hike & Bike Trails / East Downtown to Buffalo Bayou. Collaborate with adjacent management districts and Buffalo Bayou Partnership to improve recreational and modality connections through downtown; integrate with bike share program.
- Wayfinding Improvements. At street level, comprehensive upgrade to primary, secondary and street-level kiosks signage, including lighting and painting maintenance. Planning for an additional kiosks to supplement current kiosks. Coordinate wayfinding improvements with adjacent districts. At tunnel level, as-needed updates to tunnel signage to incorporate new developments and tunnel connections.
HOUSTON DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT FRAMEWORK
A new framework for future development guidelines is being developed using similar processes, scope of work and stakeholder / community involvement as utilized in 2003-2004 Framework. The result will be a 25-year master planning document as a vision resource for downtown Houston through 2036. The anticipated completion of the document is 2013, and the working title is The Bicentennial Plan.
For reference, the 2004 Downtown Development Framework is provided here.