HBDi Seeking Makeover Help for Palm Center at the End of the Purple Line

Palm Center Redevelopment Conceptual Plans

Like the looks of the conceptual drawing above, showing one of the possible ways to dress up HBDi’s Palm Center on Griggs Rd.? Or think you’ve got a better idea, and the real estate connections to pull it off? Adolfo Pesquera notes a current call for proposals from developers interested in redoing the site — you’ve got until early October to submit your own plan.

The changes wouldn’t happen all at once: HBDi’s documents show that it hopes to split up the work into a few different phases, dependent on how the economy looks. The first order of business would be to pretty up the old buildings on the site; the next phase would include adding a plaza and some office space, followed by the addition of whatever mix of office, retail, residential, and medical space is eventually selected.  Though most of the images included with the proposal guidelines are speculative, HBDi’s conceptual drawings do show some of the more concrete plans for the site, which is the last stop on Metro’s Purple Line:


Palm Center Redevelopment Conceptual Plans

To get you started, HBDi’s proposal documents include 3 different sample maps of how to divvy up the center (all shown with Griggs Rd. flipped around to the bottom of the image, and the looping pathways of the Park at Palm Center on the far left). All 3 seems to show the majority of the existing strip center footprint intact (labeled as parcels 2 and 5, respectively); all 3 also include a green corridor, and a plaza space along Griggs. And 2 of the conceptual maps tag part of the Harris County Precinct 7 offices and courtrooms as an events space and workforce development hub (highlighted in purple). Orange footprints show hypothetical residential developments, blue shows office space, and dark green shows medical tenant space:

Palm Center Conceptual Parcel Maps

Palm Center Conceptual Parcel Maps

Palm Center Conceptual Parcel Maps

Here’s an aerial of the center as is, marked up with some of its new and future neighbors, including the Alice McKean Young Neighborhood Library (which will move out of its current home within the shopping center and jump across the intersection to the under-construction new facility catty-corner to the Houston Texans YMCA):

Palm Center Redevelopment Conceptual Plans

The collection of 1950s buildings (which architect Keiji Asakura called “the first of its kind that we know today as a shopping center”) was bought by the city in the 1980s; city nonprofit HBDi took over the center’s redevelopment after an early-90s partnership with a different city business development agency resulted in law suits and questions about appropriate use of funds.

Images: HBDi

Rearranging The First Shopping Center

11 Comment

  • Interesting concept, but it lacks parking for “park and ride” rail users. The Palm Center station will always be the last station and thus a “park and ride” station. The parking lot is unusual; amble parking within a short distance of a stop. I can park and walk fifty feet to the station. A free parking area (lot or garage) is essential on encouraging ridership on the light rail lines. I wouldn’t mind having to walk a block to the station. I did this often in Atlanta on their Metro rail. The Lindberg Station should be a role model for transit stops; mixed-use development and free parking.

  • Blake, providing parking is a very expensive way to get people aboard transit. The proposed development would provide far more ridership than a parking lot every would.

  • The actual Palm Center parking lot is practically begging to be used for “park and ride” riders. I parked in that lot and hopped on the Purple Line (on their inaugural weekend). I can only hope that some businesses will open in the vicinity and draw more riders to that area since it has an air of desolation to it.

  • @Blake – The Palm Center station may not always be the last stop on the light rail. Hobby Airport isn’t much further beyond it, which Carrin Patman, Metro’s new board chair, pointed out during a discussion with Houston transit bloggers recently. http://urbanedge.blogs.rice.edu/2016/07/18/three-big-ideas-houston-metro-for-its-future/#.V5E12vmANBc

  • There are plans afoot to provide some METRO parking on a nearby site.

  • I would add a really big police station.

  • Do these plans incorporate the new Texas Children’s Hospital Pediatrics clinic?


  • @lhd: Constable Walker’s office is already there.

  • No one really cares what kind of remake happens here. This area is economically depressed and is a generation or two away from gentrification. And once gentrification hits it will be remade again. Barring tax money/subsidies to artificially kick start something, this area will remain the last stop on an empty train to nowhere.

  • General parking or not, it’s great to see a large mixed- use development proposed here. A great opportunity for rail. Regardless if the Palm Center is a terminal station, parking for commuters is essential for METRO rail. Ridership is lower than expected, free parking lots lure commuter drivers to ride the rail. If there wasn’t parking here or at the other stations, I would never drive from Pearland to ride the rail.

    Granted, no one commits space and money to build free parking. But, it’s the same scenario for public transit; it’s built to support the common good not to generate profit.

  • @Joe Dirt…No way is that area a generation away from gentrification. That area has already started gentrifying. If you ride through the neighborhood next to the new Library you can already see it. Home prices have now jumped over 100% in that area in the last three years and you can now see hipsters popping up. There are also townhomes being built in that area. UH has also begun expanding in that direction which will help with smaller commercial properties. I knew it about to take off when I saw some hipster guys plotting a coffee shop across the street from Palm Center.