EaDo develops “East Blocks” to repurpose Houston warehouse cluster – Houston Public Media
Two Houston-based real estate companies are teaming up to transform a series of warehouses east of downtown into a 10-building, walkable mixed-use development featuring restaurants, shops, offices and green space.
Construction of the first phase of East Blocks, a joint venture between Pagewood and Wile Interests, is expected to begin during the second quarter of 2024, according to a press release from the companies on Monday. The prospective project is located a few blocks southeast of Minute Maid Park and the George R. Brown Convention Center and just southwest of Shell Energy Stadium, home of Houston’s professional soccer teams, and will include the eight existing teams.y Wonder Brewery and Pitch 25 beer garden.
“We know that EaDo deserves a dynamic destination with a unique mix of the best shopping, dining and office space the city has to offer,” Paul Coonrod, founder and managing director of Pagewood, said in the press release. “A project under construction for 50 years, the East Blocks will be a pedestrian-friendly center filled with chef-driven restaurants, unique retail shops, creative office space, and parks containing artwork for the local community and those visiting downtown and downtown. Nearby Playgrounds To gather.”
East Blocks is the latest major development announced for the East End as The Plant in Second Ward, a mixed-use project from Concept Neighborhood that aims to create a walkable corridor between the METRO light rail lines at Harrisburg Boulevard and the Buffalo Bayou tracks to the North. It took shape earlier this year. Earlier this month, the Houston Astros unveiled their plan to build a hotel and entertainment district on a two-acre plot of land adjacent to their stadium, which is located on the eastern edge of downtown.
A representative of Pagewood and Wile Interests declined to reveal the cost of the East Blocks project, but said it was a 50-50 project between the two companies. They purchased the land containing the eight warehouses that will be converted from HBS Warehouse, a New York-based trust, according to the representative.
Most of the warehouses are located along Hutchins Street between Polk and Walker Streets, with three at the intersection of Hutchins Street and McKinney Street. Two of them are located a few blocks to the southeast along Live Oak Avenue, with one abutting the Columbia Tap Trail, which runs through EaDo and runs southwest through the Third Ward.
Access and amenities for pedestrians and cyclists are a key component of the East Blocks, which will benefit from the existing hiking and bike loop on the Bastrop Promenade, which will be transformed into a multi-block green space between McKinney and Polk that can be used for events such as picnics, farmers markets, children’s gatherings and fitness classes. The developers say they are planning an “open-air alley concept” to connect some of the buildings, which will feature glass windows and outdoor patios and will be accompanied by “oversized walkways, shade canopies, mature trees, street lighting and a range of seating areas.”
“Our teams are working hard to infuse the diversity and character found throughout Houston into the East Blocks, while also making it a walkable and bikeable destination the city has not yet seen,” Coonrod said.
Houston-based Gensler is the architectural firm charged with repurposing the warehouse complex, while SWA is the landscape architect and urban designer.
The first phase of the multi-phase redevelopment is expected to be completed within three years, according to a representative for Pagewood and Wile Interests. Once complete, this phase will include approximately 513,000 square feet of mixed-use space, including 196,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space, 112,000 square feet of office space and 205,000 square feet of parking space.
“By almost every measure, it would be easier to demolish and redevelop these blocks from a clean state,” said Randolph Weill, president of Weill Internets. “Instead, we, along with our architects, engineers and land planners, chose to embrace the charm and authenticity of EaDo, adapting the 80-year-old warehouse to meet code requirements and desired uses.”