A Houston homebuilder and real estate company are teaming up to celebrate luxury living
A potentially game-changing new plan aims to transform a largely forgotten East End industrial park into a bustling, dynamic, mixed-use hub in one of Houston’s most up-and-coming neighborhoods.
Dubbed East blocks, this new mixed-use project – jointly designed by two local real estate firms – will transform a slew of mid-20th-century warehouses into a district filled with restaurants, shops, offices and walkable green spaces. The walkable development, planned and launched through a partnership between Pagewood and Wile Interests, will begin at McKinney Avenue and Hutchins Street and extend to 10 city blocks.
EaDo residents and regular tenants will recognize the first two retail tenants: the popular 8th Wonder Brewery, an East Downtown brewery, and urban beer garden favorite Pitch 25. Construction is scheduled to begin in the second quarter of 2024.
“We know that EaDo deserves a dynamic destination with a unique combination of the best shopping, dining and office space the city has to offer,” Pagewood founder and managing director Paul Coonrod said in a statement. “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.”
State-of-the-art dining, retail and entertainment will serve as a multi-use hub.Provided courtesy of Pagewood and Wile Interests
By the numbers, the East Buildings will include approximately 513,000 square feet of mixed-use space, including 196,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, and 112,000 square feet of office space. And since parking is always a concern, East Blocks promises 205,000 square feet of parking space with approximately 650 parking spaces, according to press materials.
To meet Houstonians’ demand for urban nature, the project will blossom with more than four full city-connected blocks of green space, community parks and active events, which will grow out of the former industrial railway.
Thematically, the design of the East Blocks will be in keeping with its industrial center and railway roots. Renowned architectural design firm Gensler incorporated existing warehouses of steel, brick, concrete, glass and plaster. Modern office space with sweeping views of downtown is housed in a supernumerary building, while an open-air alley concept connects three of the buildings along Hutchins Street and McKinney Street.
The ground-floor retail and restaurant facades are designed with new glass facades and natural lighting to illuminate the street scene, as well as outdoor courtyards, which are also intended to promote an “all-day café culture,” according to press materials.
Picnic and cycle
The pedestrian-minded approach fueled the design of a dedicated walking and biking loop, connecting the area to downtown and EaDo’s Columbia Tap hiking and biking trails. Cyclists can count on abundant bike parking.
The design of East Blocks, led by world-renowned landscape architect and urban designer, SWA, creates an urban experience with oversized walkways, shade canopies, abundant trees, street lighting, and diverse seating areas. Pathways lined with native plants combined with Bastrop’s existing promenade will create a lush green space for picnics, farmers markets, fitness classes, children’s events and more.
Reuse versus scraping
A study in adaptive reuse, East Blocks reflects the developers’ vision of upcycling rather than bulldozing. “By almost every measure, it would be easier to demolish and redevelop these blocks from a clean slate,” Randolph Wile, president of Wile Interests, noted in a statement. “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.”
Once the project is complete, the “East Blocks” will likely redefine part of the downtown area sideways and represent the first real move into the area. “Our teams are working hard to infuse the diversity and character found throughout Houston into the East Blocks, while also making it a true walking and biking destination that the city has yet to see,” Coonrod added.