DRIVING BELTWAY 8, IN ORDER TO READ HOUSTON IN THE ORIGINAL “To get a full sense of the place,” writes Cort McMurray, every Houstonian should travel Beltway 8’s full 83-mile circuit. Until you can find the time, though, his tour narrative may have to suffice: “Keep going. You’re not even halfway around. There are more factories, and more office buildings, more new construction, more traffic. There’s a steak house, built to look like Sam Houston’s Huntsville home, evidence that if you give a Houstonian a little time and a little encouragement and the right financing, a Houstonian will create something ridiculous, and the horse track, where nothing ever appears to be happening. Near Bush Intercontinental, you’ll endure Roadwork Purgatory: orange cones and narrowed lanes and blinking signs, and no evidence of any work being done. It’s been that way for 19 years.
East of the airport, the Beltway crosses vast swaths of tract homes and the strip centers and megachurches that inevitably follow them, funneling you toward the Jesse Jones Bridge, standing like the skeleton of some humongous sauropod, head forever bent to the Ship Channel, nosing about for some seaweed.” [OffCite] Photo of Steamboat House Steakhouse: Tomball Sesquicentennial Promenaders
MORE LAKEFRONT OFFICE BUILDINGS ON THE BELTWAY Construction got going this week, Houston Business Journal reports, on 2 Gensler-designed 9-story spec buildings at Beltway Lakes, the 46-acre office park at the intersection of Beltway 8 and the Tomball Parkway. These 2, and their accompanying lake, will stand right beside the 6-story buildings — and their lake — that made up the park’s first phase; a master plan from developer Radler Enterprises shows 2 more buildings — and 1 more lake. [Houston Business Journal; Beltway Lakes] Rendering: Gensler
This flag-flying 12-story tower planned for the under-development Block 10 West Office Park might end up hiding the renovations underway on the former Great Indoors, which you can see peeking out in the distance in the rendering above. Real Estate Bisnow’s Catie Dixon reports that Hicks Ventures is building out the out-of-business big box into a 2-story, 245,000-sq.-ft. spec office building. Plans include the construction of a 5-level parking garage behind the new building and a 6-level garage between it and this proposed I-10-facing tower.
Here’s an aerial view of the park and its neighbors:
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COMMENT OF THE DAY: BRING YOUR MUD BOOTS “There are too many high-speed arterials, especially outside the Loop, with no sidewalks. I was taking the bus to work for about a month earlier this year (I work in an office on the North beltway). There are bus stops there but no sidewalks. Speeds on the feeder road tend to be 45 to 50 mph. There are few pedestrians (for obvious reasons) but there are some; bus commuters like me, kids walking to school every day, etc. They will walk on muddy paths to avoid walking in the street. And bus riders with wheelchairs or strollers are simply SOL. I liked riding the bus, but not the sidewalk-free walk at the end of the ride.” [RWB, commenting on Where the Sidewalks End]