Ronald McDonald House Doubles Down on the South Bank of Brays Bayou

Construction began in June, but the new administration of Houston’s Ronald McDonald House chose this past Tuesday — 2 and a half weeks after water spilling over the banks of adjacent Brays Bayou made Holcombe Ave. in front of the property difficult to pass — to hold an official groundbreaking ceremony for its new 3-phase expansion and renovation project. The facility at 1907 Holcombe Blvd., which sits across the Texas Medical Center’s official southern border between Holcombe and the bayou just west of Cambridge St., serves as a temporary home for families with children receiving treatment for serious illnesses.

Now going up: a new 2-story bedroom wing directly to the west of the main building. A complete renovation of the 50-bedroom existing building — dubbed Holcombe House — will follow. The photo immediately above, taken from the third floor of that building, shows the construction site as it looked earlier this week.

The official rendering below is still being used to raise the $22.5 million needed for the project; it shows the new bedroom wing on the left and the existing building on the right:


But some artfully placed trees (and the building’s large brick feet at its front) disguise what may one day prove to be the expansion’s smartest feature if Brays Bayou continues to get uppity: It’s a 2-story building raised 1 story up. Under 2 floors containing a total of 20 new bedrooms for guests is a ground-level parking area — a reworking of the existing parking lot the new wing will straddle. A pair of skybridges on the upper 2 floors will connect the new wing to the existing building.

When Harvey hit on the night of August 26th, water from the surrounding streets and the bayou directly behind the property rushed into the construction site — but receded “almost immediately,” according to a spokesperson. Construction resumed on the 30th. There was water in the front parking lot, but the existing building did not flood.

The plan below is oriented with north up; the site is bounded by Holcombe Blvd. to the south, Cambridge St. to the east, and Brays Bayou directly to the north:

Images: Ronald McDonald House (top photo, rendering, and site plan); Alexander’s Fine Portrait Design (construction photo)

Bedrooms Above