A Museum District Construction Tour

Ah, Friday: Why not take a stroll down Binz St. in the Museum District and have a look at what’s going on? Let’s head east from here: the corner of La Branch and Binz, near the Children’s Museum.

Our guide, Swamplot reader David Hollas, provides the photos and the observations:


The Museum Point Professional Building at 1401 Binz is expected to be a 23,500-sq.-ft. office with some retail; it’s catty-corner from the Children’s Museum:

This one is coming along quickly. This one broke ground back in October, and looks like wil be completed by summer at this pace. I didn’t hear any controversy about this one, like I did about Parc Binz, even though it’s just a few blocks away.

Built in 1999, the Plaza Museum District is a 12-building, 4-story apartment complex at 1615 Hermann Drive; the photo’s taken from Binz between Crawford and Jackson:

About 6 months ago, crews showed up and began peeling back the stucco exterior, exposing significant wood rot in the structure, which doesn’t look all that old (maybe 10 years?). Today, I noticed they are nearly complete with the re-stucco of the building — crews were putting finishing touches on upper floors.  They even changed the paint colors from the original dull gray to a darker multi-colored scheme with maroon trim.

Hermann Park Manor was originally built in 1963; it’s a 43,000-sq.-ft. senior-living facility at the corner of Binz at 5600 Chenevert:

This formerly dilapidated “old-folks home” was recently gutted, but not demolished. Crews appear to be adding one wing to the building, but otherwise, it remains largely unchanged cosmetically.

The construction site for the 6-story, 75,000-sq.-ft. Parc Binz takes up half the block between Chenevert and Chartres; the first part of the project is expected to be a medical building; an event center, retail, and a bar are planned to come second, according to the Parc Binz website:

The group dedicated to stopping Parc Binz has apparently failed to stop Parc Binz. Today, crews were hard at work laying the foundation for what appears to be a large-scale building. Signs on the fencing also proudly proclaimed the name of the project, with no attempt at secrecy. Across the street, a few of the ‘Stop Parc Binz’ signs remain, but looked windblown and tattered, and were noticeably fewer in number – have they given up?

This was a surprise to me — apparently whoever owns the Parc Binz site also either owns or is currently renting the vacant lot across the street, where construction trailers have been installed. I witnessed frequent foot traffic by construction workers between the construction site and these trailers. It would be interesting to see the plans for this lot, and how it might tie in to the grand scheme. The website mentions ‘Parc Binz Two: Coming Soon!’ . . .

A 10,750-sq.-ft. vacant lot at 2004 Binz sits near the intersection with Chartres; it was most recently purchased in August, according to city records:

This lot has sat vacant, and for sale, for the past few years following demolition of whatever was there (concrete slab remains). Today, the For Sale sign says SOLD. I also noticed the unmistakable signs of construction to come — yellow and orange flags popping up like mushrooms, as well as spray paint marking utility lines.

And, finally, the under-construction Proguard Self-Storage site at 2128 Binz at the corner of Alameda:

This smallish storage company has a handful of other locations around Houston. Fortunately, the ones I’ve seen appear neatly kept and well lit at night, which should help to discourage bad things from happening here. Strangely, the construction site stops about 40 feet away from the TX 288 access road — seems like that would be valuable territory, including freeway frontage. Perhaps that thin parcel is owned by someone else?

Another interesting thing about this one — the sign announcing that Proguard is ‘Coming Soon’ had been up for at least 2 years before they finally broke ground a couple months ago.

Photos: David Hollas

11 Comment

  • This little area north of Hermann Park will be something else when the Centennial Gardens on that side of the park are completed. It needs coffee really bad tho.

  • Coffee is coming…

  • Note to everyone, this area is called Museum Park, not the Museum District.

  • We need coffee!!!

  • Almeda should be lined with residential high rises

  • Sean, just because our neighborhood association is called Museum park as well as the super neighborhood, doesn’t mean we’ll give up on calling it the Museum District. I still don’t understand why we had to settle on Museum Park.

    As for the ProGuard…I’m disappointed that we couldn’t get something more interesting than a storage unit. I’m up for retail, food, shops, but not storage. Yes, you can quote me on NIMBY when it comes to storage locations.

  • I would guess the owner of that 40 foot strip next to the 288 feeder is TxDOT. It appears that nothing has been on that spot since before they finished constructing 288.

  • @Sean – I think that’s actually debatable. Realtors and others take many liberties with naming and renaming neighborhoods (great example – all the versions of “XXX Heights” that aren’t really in the Heights, and used to be called Wards).

    As for the “Museum District,” it is generally considered to be the neighborhoods encompassing and immediately surrounding the actual museums, which are spread over a large area, but the largest and most significant of which are concentrated near Binz and Main, the stretch mentioned in this post.

    For reference, the group called “Houston Museum District Association” provides this map of the district:

    Wikipedia calls it “…the area located within a 1.5-mile radius of the Mecom Fountain in Hermann Park.”

    The City of Houston website also says, “The Houston Museum District is one of the largest museum campuses in the country. It includes 18 institutions within walking distance of one another.”

  • Museum park-Museum district

    at least no one is calling it MuPa or MuDi.

  • As a resident and young worker, I am continually amazed at how little retail, food and drink options exist around the physical museums. Most of the new restaurants open further up Montrose, and for the many that both work and frequent Houston museums, any retailer coming into the area with coffee, food and drink venues would capture a ton of the market, including residents, tourists, museum workers and students. Can’t wait for all the development and opportunities to come!!

  • I agree. I don’t understand why this area does not have more restaurants, cafes, shopping centers, grocery stores, etc. It seems to be behind in commercial development even though this area is a great place for real estate. Can someone please explain, or start investing?