City Selling Off Land, Streets, and a Park on Allen Parkway

Map of Site at 1701 Allen Pkwy., HoustonHaving completed demolitions of facilities it owned on the property, including its fleet maintenance facility at 801 Gillette St., a couple of public works buildings at 812 Gillette, and a former HPD SWAT substation at 1500 W. Dallas, the city has now listed for sale the 10-1/2-acre swath of land along Allen Pkwy between the Federal Reserve building and Allen Parkway Village. The land includes San Felipe Park at 1717 Allen Pkwy., which fronts Houston’s premiere waterfront roadway opposite Buffalo Bayou Park. Also included, apparently: Land underneath 3 streets that extend into the property: Hopson St., Bailey St., and Golf Link Pl. The listing from Cushman & Wakefield says bids are due March 14th.


This is not the first time (PDF) the city has offered the land for sale. But the buildings are all gone now; a note on a recent property flyer (PDF) claims a sewer-line relocation and environmental remediation will be completed by next January. And there’s this note: “The city has indicated that a restructuring of Allen Parkway is under consideration which could provide for a signalized intersection at Gillette and the Allen Parkway service road.”

Image: Cushman & Wakefield

San Felipe Park and All

41 Comment

  • What are the odds a Highrise Residental tower WON’T be built here?!

  • i would say not likely unless the section 8 housing next door is removed…

  • Ugh, really? I’m all for selling the land that’s not a park, but come on Houston don’t sell park land for a quick buck. Who ok’d this? Seems kinda stupid and a poor PR move in this day and age. All that money spent on Buffalo Bayou Park and the city turns and sells a small pocket park across the street, where but Houston would this happen?

  • @baba yaga, gde tvoya izba?
    That section 8 housing is sitting on land that is way too valuable for section 8. Time for the city to sell it too and entirely get rid of Sec.8 or at least move it to more cost effective area close to the ship channel.

  • DO NOT SELL THE PARK! Houston ranks low on parks per capita. If the city sellst he park then the money should be used to acquire additional parkland somewhere inside the loop.

  • Isn’t that property of the Houston Housing Authority, therefore NOT Section 8? Or is Section 8 now (incorrect) shorthand for all multifamily that houses low-income people?

  • Are we looking at the final nail in the coffin for Historic Freedman’s Town? Yes. Proof that it takes about 15 yrs to destroy what took over a hundred to build. Release the locust. peace

  • I’m all for saving parkland, but what good is a small pocket park that has had no investment (ever?) when you have a brand new, signature $30 MM one across the street? It would be one thing if the city actually presented this patch of grass as a park, but they don’t. If I remember correctly, the only thing there is a rusty old swing set that out of a Steven King book.
    If anything, we should lobby the city council to use proceeds from the sale to go to buying land in another area of the city that’s far more undeserved by parks than this. Action >> whining.
    I too feel as if the Section 8 housing is out of place. I’m not saying that there shouldn’t be section 8 housing there, however. I just believe a suburban style apartment complex concept is grossly out of sync with the area.
    The city should partner with a developer to provide the same service in a denser development w/ GFR and housing, etc. Yes you’ll have to provide tax and monetary incentives b/c people’s natural reaction would be to resist something like this. However, having a mix of all income levels in this area is important, but there is no denying that this complex falls well short of its true potential. Once you reap the full potential out of this property, the city will see it pay back in dividends when the property taxes of surrounding parcels increase.

  • I agree with commonsense. Can we please move all the poor people somewhere far away so that I don’t have to see them. It’s obnoxious that they should be able to live close to their work cleaning my office toilet whilst I have to schlepp my Mercedes all the way from Katy.

  • Greg, if only that were true…

    With 50,632 acres of total park space, with 22.6 acres per 1,000 residents, Houston rates FIRST among the nation’s 10 most populous cities in total acreage of parkland and third behind only San Diego and Dallas in park acreage per capita, according to a study by The Trust for Public Land.

  • Have you guys been there recently? That’s a park in name only. I’m pretty sure it’s not even open to the public – there’s been a decrepit chain-link fence around it for at least a few years. Not to mention the only equipment in it is a set of tetanus-y swingsets.

  • I actually agree on sell this little plot of parkland IF it is used in purchasing new parkland in another area … preferably of equal size. This park is across the street from Buffalo Bayou Park and is little used. TSelling the remaining city land would be more difficult without this plum.

    As for what might be built …. I imagine a combination of mid rise office structure facing Buffalo Bayou and one of the oh-too-common-and-boring mid rise apartment boxes on most of rest. Eventually the Allen Parkway Village will disappear, but it may still take another 30 years

  • Lets get a big ass building there!! Stat!!

  • Allen Parkway Village will razed the same day Shelia Jackson Lee loses her congressional seat…not anytime soon.

  • Jimbo, I’ve been on a few police ride a longs and employment is not something that’s understood over there.

  • @Jimbo, I know you’re being sarchastic, but let’s look at the fairness point of it… Why should the taxpayers pay for someone’s housing in an area that they cannot afford to live? In addition to spending collected taxes, the city is losing potential property taxes that they would get if the property was developed on the open market. Also, the process discriminates against people who made wiser choices in life by getting education and holding down gainful employment. Why must such people pay $2,500 a month for rent only couple of blocks away from people who pay $300 a month? It is unfair and promotes the wrong incentives.

  • @elseed,

  • @DNA Guy

    Tend to agree with DNA guy. A park across from a park with Allen Parkway is of little value. Petition to have another park near you in exchange for this one being sold. They might say no but they might say yes. Pick a place that isn’t outrageously expensive yet. Maybe like EaDo. Not only is it lacking in parks, but it has very little tree canopy at all.

    Much of that is in larger parks. Houston also is a very large city geographically, so I hope that it would have a lot of park acreage. What it seems to lack is pocket parks, and there are some large swaths with no parks.

  • that little park is a blatant waste of money. we’ve spent over $150MM to make a world class park just a 100 yards away. do you people really think the city should hold onto every greenspace irregardless of however worthless or despite an appalling lack of amenities that they provide to the surrounding areas? the land for this one worthless park could provide numerous parks with better amentiies in other parts of town. am i the only that sees this as a pure greedy/selfish motive? i’ll still never forgive the city for taking away the swimming pool at dunlavy park. apparently we’re too poor to afford a pool with lifeguards during the summer, yet nearly every house within 1/2 a mile of the park has their own private pool. gotta love the yuppies.

    and i don’t think the section 8 housing is going anywhere either. don’t these places usually have requirements to be situated in areas with some sort of access to infrastructure and public transportation? that entails only a very small part of houston that these could actually be located in. i’m fine and all with shipping them out to the port of houston, but with the amentiites provided out there you’re guaranteeing every single one of them will be living off the federal dime forever. government housing may sound bad, but i assure you it’s much better than paying for a permanent uneducated and immobile population group.

  • Could the city include a condition in the contract that includes the option, should they want to exercise it in the future, to build a launching point for a pedestrian bridge of some kind over Allen Parkway? The bayou bends in that particular section so it’s all land in the space between Allen Parkway and Memorial Drive. I believe that section of Buffalo Bayou Park is also where a huge hill was built up so there’s your landing point.

    Gillette St. would then be the preferred access point to Buffalo Bayou Park rather than folks having to use the busier and congested Taft St. (that doesn’t even provide safe passage across traffic on the northern lanes of Allen Parkway).

  • Houston’s park stats are over inflated because of the 7000 acre drainage land called Cullen Barker Park or Addicks Reservoir, both are huge and really not park land per say but are included in the parks stats–Dallas is the worst, they include 22000 acres or Trinity River Greenbelt NOBODY would dare use into their stats–anyone whose ever been to Dallas knows that with the exception of White Rock, Dallas has a compiler lack of major parks–when one thinks of cities with great park systems, NYC, Chicago, Boston, and Philadelphia come to mind –never Houston and certainly NOT Dallas–oh and zero chance of moving Allen Parkway Village, so move on, people.

  • Why has no one else complained about adding another stop light onto Allen Parkway? Screw the park, thats the travesty in all of this

  • I would think Jimbo was being sarcastic but knowing some of the people on here, he could very well be totally serious. Might even get comment of the day.

  • The City probably doesn’t want a park there because it makes it too convenient for citizens to protest the Federal Racket across the street. Agree that relocating profits for a new park somewhere that it’s needed, like EaDo and east. Does the City have anyone who analyzes park space/density patterns to determine where need lies? And as for Historic Freedman’ s Town..come on, that area was abandoned years ago. I couldn’t drive through it without having crack pitched to me outside my window. Development didn’t exactly kill a vibrant community , although a few of those crack dealers might disagree.

  • Greg, Houston is actually pretty good with respect to parks per captia. It is one of the best in the nation. Section 8 is first and foremost a vote-planning tool. I thought it was in TX-18, Sheila Jackson Lee’s district, but I might be wrong, I’d have to check the maps. Look at how crooked the district borders are, and how crooked the districting process is and then think, wouldn’t it be easier just to place reliable voters in an area than have to draw the map like a spirograph and ram it through the courts? The same thing goes for every district from congress to local city council, everyone jockeys the section 8 for their gain. As for this park I remember driving by it two months ago and didn’t even realize it was supposed to be a park. I thought it was just an empty lot owned by, I presumed the fed reserve next door or the sect. 8 apts to the other side.

  • @DNAguy–I’m in total agreement with you on the park side of the equation though, for me, the Housing Project is what it is. It doesn’t matter where it is, someone will have a beef about it.
    @ Shannon. As usual, type first and look up the facts later. Whether or not the Trinity Floodway is included or not (3650 acres not 22,000), Dallas is hardly lacking in parks. In addition to the small neighborhood parks, almost every major quadrant of the city has a large 40+ acre park (Moss Park, Kiest Park, Bachman Lake, White Rock Lake, Mountain Creek Lake, Tenison /Samuell Park, Reverchon Park, the Turtle Creek greenbelt to name a few), in addition to an extensive series of bike and hike trails . Plus many of the suburban style subdivisions in North, Northeast Dallas and Oak Cliff have public greenbelts along the creeks. They’ve even managed to develop a 5 mile bike hike trail in a transmission line swath (which we cannot seem to get off the ground here). Would you please employ a fact checker before you rattle off to Siri?

  • I wish some how that the city could appropriate this parcel to Buffalo Bayou Park so that maybe they could eliminate all those new car parking spaces that the park planners have been announcing along with all the improvements. A pedestrian bridge across Allen Parkway could get people across and maybe ALL of the car parking spaces could go away from the precious little “actual” green space that exists now (and even less that will exist once these improvements are completed.) But . . . . this is Houston and we all know that too many people get their recreation by getting in their car and driving 30 minutes so that they can get out (with their pets in tow) 40 feet from the dedicated dog park or take a 20 minute run around the park and then get back in their cars for another 30 minute trip home. Has anyone else noticed that all these new improvements are coming with MORE car parking spaces???????

  • You are completely wrong about Dallas, I lived there 4 years, right by the Turtle Creek Greenbelt, the entire Greenbelt is maybe 150 acres, including 22 at Reverchon and the tiny Lee Park–nobody uses Keist Park! and Tennison is really nothing but a golf Course–where is Dallas Hermann Park???????? maybe White Rock is Memorial, but Dallas has no great city beautiful Park and except for the cool parks in the Park Cities (not in Dallas) Dallas’ affluent Norhern Neighborhoods have very little parks–everyone in Dallas bitches about the lack of parks–

  • joenormal – great idea. Although the opportunity cost of not selling that land may be too high.

  • Oh Shannon, Shannon, Shannon,
    Well I lived there for 33 years so it is remotely possible that I know what I’m talking about. Tiny Lee Park(home of the wildly popular Symphony Easter in the Park and a sought after wedding reception locale) is 15 acres and Reverchon is 40. Tenison Golf Course/Samuel Grand is about the size of Hermann . And nobody goes to Kiest Park? I guess if you aren’t a white upwardly mobile snob, then “those people” don’t count. Newsflash:, even so called minorities can use the parks in the Park Cities as can any Dallas resident. North
    Dallas doesn’t really have a lot of big parks but then again, why would an area that is 80% single family homes on average lots of 1/3 of an acre and up need any more green space? Even the apartment complexes are set on acreage–it ‘isn’t like living in an asphalt jungle. Ironically, one of City Beautiful’s ardent planners, George Kessler, was the very person who suggested those ugly Trinity River Levees. The Dallas Arboretum is really like a park regardless of the admission fee—a lot of folks don’t mind paying for all of the amenities it offers. And lastly, no one I know in Dallas bitches about the lack of parks–they may bitch about the lack of flowers or fountains, etc…. Come to think of it, one of those cool parks in the Park Cities was named after my great Grandfather. Maybe I am not completely wrong bud.

  • This would be a great site to relocate the crack shack shanties from west gray. Since people won’t think with even an ounce of reason and want to preserve these rotting cardboard boxes, let’s display them on one of the busiest roads into the city. Perhaps then people with better sense will prevail over the midtown tirz.

  • Whatever- are you serious? You think SJL is dominating district 18 because of a small patch of section 8 housing? You also think SJL (or any dem) is responsible for gerrymandering in Texas? What else do you think? This is rich.

  • It is a no-brainer to sell off this dead land next to our new crown jewel of a park, and use the proceeds for some other public benefit. How about that central pound/shelter/rehoming complex or a serious effort at mobile spay/neuter to help deal with the huge stray population in this city?

  • All right, people…I bitched before, to no effect, and now comes the full-on lecture. Allen Parkway Village is NOT SECTION 8 HOUSING. It is a public housing project (yes, “the projects” as the term is usually used in other cities) owned by the Houston Housing Authority. Section 8 housing is privately owned market-rate housing where the landlord accepts housing vouchers from low-income tenants who otherwise couldn’t afford to pay that rent (or at least they claim to not be able to pay). The vouchers are provided by the Houston Housing Authority (or other agencies such as the Harris County equivalent), but they do not own the Section 8 property.

    I am not defending either public housing or the Section 8 program. Just please use the terms correctly, otherwise you come off like ranting fools.

  • @Local Planner, although you are correct, it’s a distinction without a difference, the net effect is that’s it a theft of earnings from one group to give to the other. What makes it even worse, it’s not like it’s food or basic medical care that an argument can be made for even by staunchest of conservatives, but it’s a luxury showered upon an “alternatively privileged group” for no rhyme or reason.

  • While some of the above might be true, the real failure here is that no one has come up with a great joke about how this parcel of land looks like an upside down 1.

  • JT, the admission fee for the Dallas Arboretum is like $14 iirc, which is not a park in my book. And George Kessler or no George Kessler, those Trinity River levees have nothing to do with the City Beautiful movement. True, Dallas lacks a City Beautiful Park, but I think White Rock Lake makes up for it as an amenity.

    The fear of the poor on here is bizarre, especially in a predominantly Christian city.

  • While no doubt many fear the poor, there’s enough that don’t that whatever development goes there will have a strong chance of success, just because of its general location in the city. Townhome developers have been successful in many perceived-as-dicey neighborhoods in the urban core exploiting this fact.

    @ commonsense: As I said, I was not defending either program; the government doesn’t have any business providing housing to people except for disabled vets and maybe a few other very special classes; nor is it justified to subsidize or give preference to homeowners through the mortgage interest deduction and Fannie/Freddie etc. I’m probably in a very small minority by taking these positions, but so be it…

  • You’re comparing Tennison to Hermann??? No way is it 550 acres and last I looked there isn’t a zoo nor museums on it’s edge. It futile to agree with you, but I’d you think Dallas has a good park system you need to travel –nobody but you thinks Dallas has adequate parks, Houston isn’t great in that regard but far superior to Dallas. San Antonio has the best park system in the state and it’s rarely even mentioned. It doesn’t matter the stats on park land all that matters in the perception and if if you live in Dallas, you feel it lacks parks, they’re trying to improve, but they have a long ways to go.

  • According to Robert Bullard’s landmark study of Houston landfills in the late 1970s, that site was home to a dump. I suspect that’s why there’s mention of environmental remediation. It’s hard to imagine the city putting a landfill and incinerator there now. At the time, though, it was a Negro neighborhood.

  • The lot was sold. What’s is going there is a mixed use development; hotel/condo tower, office tower, and retail space with a pavilion on the corner with a fitness anchor tenant, and potential walkway over Allen Parkway to the bayou greenway. This will be a nice addition to the area.