The Park-and-Apartments Plan for Midtown’s Superblock

The conquest of a long strip of land between Travis and Main known as the Midtown Superblock was completed last month, Shaina Zucker reports in today’s Houston Business Journal. The strip center at the corner of Travis and Anita once known as Liberty Square, and more recently for tenants Escobar and the Thien An sandwich shop, was sold to the Midtown Redevelopment Authority in September. Escobar, Thien An, and a second nightclub in the building will have until the end of the year to scram. The TIRZ plans to swap the land under the strip center with Camden Property Trust, in return for a couple of properties at the northern end of the same superblock.

That’ll give the Midtown authority a tiny bit less than 3 acres of land facing McGowen St., leaving Camden with the superblock’s slightly larger southern portion. The organization plans to build a park on its end — but one that includes 8,500 sq. ft. of retail space and 250 underground parking spaces, according to Zucker:


Next to the park, extending south to Anita St., Camden is planning to build a 7-story, 300-unit apartment complex — but won’t be starting construction for another year at least.

Photo of 2905 Travis St.: LoopNet. Rendering: Midtown Redevelopment Authority via InnerLooped

28 Comment

  • Bummer; Thein An has some mean bun and bahn mi’s..

  • This will be terrific for that section of Midtown.

  • The park would make a great place for a homeless camp. I can already picture Sunday prayer sessions and food handouts there.

  • So Camden is only doing a multi family project ? I thought this was suppose to be mixed use ?

  • Funny, I was just thinking “we really need another giant apartment complex here in Midtown” as I was walking through there this morning. Perfect.

  • I am so happy about the park. Just went to DC and they have parks everywhere. Good for midtown and Houston.

  • Helios, get a clue. People said the same thing about Discovery Green and Market Square. It’s a tired argument from the past. Let it go.

  • Great to see the swap will generate another park. I really think Houston needs a serious expansion of her park system to improve the quality of life here. However, I have to lol at Helios. I don’t want to, but I do.

  • thanks Jon, I agree

    So tired of constant naysayers. Sometimes things don’t work out, but doesn’t mean we have to just stop every task that isn’t 100% success (because it doesn’t exist).

    I guess helios would prefer the half vacant strip mall with large field of wasting grass and rock over attempts at god forbid a public park. I will miss Thien Anh though; closest thing to mom’s cooking without driving over to bellaire or driving home. Some great Banh Xeo if you guys haven’t tried it before

  • I saw plans for this park over 10 years ago before discovery green was built. I’m very happy that they are finally building this park. I believe that there will be increased development around this public space. Congrats to the guys on the mmd architecture committee for pushing for this project over the last decade.


  • Will high rises ever be built in midtown.

  • So excited about the movement on this superblock! Block-by-block, let’s focus on streetscapes, wide sidewalks and mixed-use 4-8 story buildings with 1st floor retail in Midtown. Highrises are not a necessity (at all). Think “South Beach” not Midtown Manhattan!

  • @John: Just out of curiosity, what makes you want highrises?

  • While Helios was being trollish, his warning has merit. Discovery Green has worked very hard to keep from being a campground, partly by intensively programming events and activities for the park. By contrast, James Bute Park has basically become a homeless encampment. And this new park in Midtown is near a bunch of homeless outreach service centers. But I think this new park has a lot of advantages–it’s near lots of residences so it will probably get lots of use organically from non-homeless people. That tends to discourage camping.

    But it won’t be enough to just be passive–there will have to be a lot of programming the same way there is in Discovery Green to keep the park busy and make it not a desirable campground. I look forward to it being a busy, crowded urban park.

  • Keeping the bums out is part of the budget for these new fancy parks. I voted for the Midtown TIRZ before rail even drew the boundaries for this park. Go Midtown!

  • City of Houston park? Private park?

  • you can’t expect an area to grow and prosper or be completely walker friendly without a decent grocery store…..and by decent that rules out Randalls as this place is a joke. If this city wants to keep all of these renters in these higher-priced apartments around permanently and hope that they potentially buy in the area as well then you need places that will sustain their lifestyle and keep them here. This area still has all the potential to not have to rely on a vehicle with the rail close by yet there is only one mom and pop coffee shop and a starbucks blocks away closer to downtown and no major grocer other than a small Randalls for emergencies…..Bars and apartments to me relay high turnover as these are both transitional phases of life in my opinion not permanent lifestyles for those over 30.

  • Jenny, I lived in Midtown for five years and never had a problem getting groceries. There’s a Fiesta further south, Randall’s isn’t that bad, and Montrose Kroger’s/HEB are both only five minutes away. I’d rather Midtown get more residents and a park instead of a grocery store.

  • A taller mixed use (i.e. major grocery store) will encourage more walking, less driving, more customers, and more light rail riders. Probably more bikes too. Too bad there is no requirement for mixed income housing, maybe that would aleiviate some of your concerns about homeless poeple camping in parks, you know, making a home for themselves. Does anyone know the number one reason for homelessness???? It has to do what has been going on in Midtown since it was conceived…… lack of affordable housing. Houston, the free market, builds housing for people who might move to a place, not for those already living in that place. Go capitalsim!

  • Doesn’t Houston have some of the most affordable housing costs in the country, Glen?

  • I walk to that Randalls like 3 times a week. ha. I guess that was enough for me haha. I also get my fair share of cheeses and other more obscure groceries from the specs nearby… (which I also walk to)…

    Though admittedly I’ll drive to whole foods and/or Central Market from time to time for better fish/meat.

  • I like this field and I will miss it. Great for practicing my golf swing.

  • I think midtown def needs more stores to draw in females who want to live and remain in this area after college….while it may be okay for men to live around bars and a sub-par grocery store that’s only perk is it’s the only one in the immediate area women want more out of where they live than a few pizza joints and patio bars…Midtown is the perfect spot for 20 something males but females aren’t just looking for convenience they also want quality and a peace of mind knowing they have businesses geared towards them as well when they look for a home! Hopefully the new post will attract more businesses to the area as it continues to expand.

  • At one point a couple years ago I was selling plastic crabs out of the back of a minivan in front of Escobar. Good times.

    As much fun as was had I can’t really lament the passing of a strip center in an LRT walkshed. And while I tend to think that the whole “activated” public park with built-in retail space was played out before it ever started, more housing units is more housing units and more public parkland is more public parkland. Seems like a good deal all around.

  • WTF is Jenna talking about? What kind of “women’s stores” are necessary for quality of life?

  • Its about time this lot gets developed. I cant believe it has taken this long for something to happen right there. And why are you guys complaining about the Randalls? It has pretty much everything you would need there. I used to ride my bike there from Houston House Apartments all the time.

    On the homeless problem in that area, it will be much different from Disco Green. They would need some security officers and such like they have at Discovery Green to keep the place nice for the yupsters.

  • you people complaining about poor grocery stores have never lived in a big city. nearly all of the grocery stores in chicago, new york, and san fran all suck. they are small and generally gross with bad selection. that randall’s and the spec’s are great comparatively.

  • For those of you wondering what will happen to Thien An, I spoke to one of the guys who works there a couple of days ago, and he said they’re expecting to move to a new spot at McGowen and San Jacinto very soon.