A 20-or-so-acre piece of the 104-acre part-time parking lot across the South Loop from Reliant Park formerly known as AstroWorld has traded hands, a developer tells HBJ reporter Jennifer Dawson. But the buyer hasn’t identified itself, and Dawson couldn’t get any of the parties involved to tell her who it is (Dawson says she spoke to 15 people to report her story). Who owns the remaining 80 or so acres of the giant parcel on the south side of the South Loop, between Kirby and Fannin, at the end of the rail line? At last report, a partnership controlled by Fort Worth’s Mallick Group, who bought it in 2010 for $10 cash — and a willingness to assume the previous owner’s $74 million loan.
But a consultant who claims to be involved in redevelopment efforts on the property would only refer to the owner of the main portion of the vacant lot as “an out-of-state land investor” — who has now, she says, created a master plan for the site. Heather Schueppert tells Dawson that details of a proposed mixed-use project — probably combining office, retail, medical and hospitality components — will be revealed quietly in the next couple of months, but won’t be unveiled to the general public for at least a year.
Is either this grand plan — or a smaller one, on the approximately-20-acre parcel that was sold off — connected to a Florida company’s 4-year-old quest to build EpiCentre Houston, a giant “eco-urban” mixed-use development, on the site? The developers behind that project (pictured in part above) weren’t eager to talk with Dawson either. But Vanguard Equity Holdings continues to market its EpiCentre concept online. According to marketing materials, EpiCentre would receive financing from funding mechanisms available to a Harris County improvement district created for the former amusement-park site in 2007.
- Mysterious mixed-use plans surface for Astroworld site [Houston Business Journal]
- Previously on Swamplot: Green and Wiggly AstroWorld Redevelopment Plan Coulda Been a Contender
- Astroworld coverage [Swamplot]
Photo: Aaron Carpenter. Rendering of EpiCentre: Vanguard Equity Holdings