Aside from the presence of workers, the only hint you’ll find that construction has begun on the MDI Superfund site is the sign now standing at the location itself (and the HAIF thread where a user first called attention the whole scene). It’s facing toward the end of Gillespie St., a tiny Fifth Ward road that crosses over Hirsch Rd. and some railroad tracks 3 blocks north of Clinton Dr. before petering out into the eastern edge of the vacant, 35-acre industrial site. There, 3 acres are now giving rise to 42 new townhomes put there Urban Living, the Houston developer that received a multi-million dollar bill in court last week for copying copyrighted townhome plans at a handful of other sites. It’s calling this latest batch East River Yards (an apparent nod to the other industrial tract just south, the gradually crumbling KBR campus that’s been redubbed East River.)
The East River Yards houses will cluster around 3 shared driveways, all of which let out onto Press St.:
In January, The EPA touted the encompassing acreage — once home to the Many Diversified Interests metal foundry — as one “with the greatest expected redevelopment and commercial potential,” out of all the Superfund sites it keeps tabs on. No surprise there, since Frank Liu of Lovett Homes, InTown Homes, and other local builder brands pledged to clean up MDI’s mess of lead, arsenic, and other pollutants in 2006 after buying the site year prior. Since then, however, the land has been divvied-up so that an entity outside Liu’s umbrella owns the parcel where the townhomes are going up. And although Liu’s companies filed plans to build a few hundred residential buildings of their own on other parts of the property during the years since the sale, none of them have materialized.
- Previously on Swamplot: Frank Liu Getting Ready To Plant 538 New Homes on Famous Fifth Ward MDI Superfund Site; Fifth Ward: New Urbanists Meet Old Toxic Waste
Photos: Swamplox inbox (construction); EPA (aerial)