Houston Development Aims to Create Hyper-Walkable, Micro-Living Neighborhood

The 17-acre Second Ward project has spurred both optimism for a more walkable city and concerns about displacement and gentrification.

Read Time: 2 minutes

November 21, 2022, 9:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Musician playing guitar in front of outdoor seating and sidewalk vendors in Houston, Texas

Concept Neighborhood / Second Ward, Houston

A proposed Houston development could achieve some ambitious firsts for the historically sprawling city: “a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood of adaptive reuse buildings where low- and middle-income residents can live affordably, and where owning a car would be optional.”

As Marissa Luck explains in the Houston Chronicle, “Houston real estate firm Concept Neighborhood — a group of entrepreneurs that include some of founders of the Axelrad beer garden — previously unveiled plans to convert the former W-K-M warehouse complex in the East End into a mixed-use destination with hyperlocal businesses and walkable streets.” The 17-acre project will have up to 1,000 mixed-income housing units and 250,000 square feet of retail and office space, as well as a rails-to-trails conversion.

While the developers promise to “devise strategies for assisting small business tenants,” current tenants worry that rent increases will push them out of the area. Concept Neighborhood also plans to keep apartments affordable by opting out of high-end amenities and designing ‘micro units’ at around 400 square feet.

The project is still a long way from reality as Concept seeks financing and retail partners, as well as cooperation from adjacent property owners, whose own designs will influence the walkability of the area. “Walkability also will be influenced by what entities, such as the city of Houston and East End District, can accomplish in upgrading streets to make the pedestrian experience safer.”

Friday, November 18, 2022 in Houston Chronicle


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