Mapping the Midtown Innovation District That Doesn’t Exist Yet But Keeps Getting Bigger

The map above shows the land (in red) that Rice is confirmed to have grabbed around the Midtown Sears (orange) it bought out last October, including 2 new parcels (green) it snatched up through holding companies within the last few months. In an email sent out to university staff on Monday, Rice U. President David Leebron said the school “will ultimately redevelop approximately 14 acres of Rice-owned property,” near the Sears building into what it’s calling the Midtown Innovation District. So what are the latest spots it’s gotten its hands on? The first, catty-corner to the Sears building itself at the corner of Wheeler and San Jacinto, is Jack in the Box‘s nearly half-acre lot; Rice bought it in August.

More recently, the school pushed east by picking up 4201 Caroline St., the brick office building shown below that occupies a quarter-acre directly next to Fiesta:


Beyond those walls sit the employees of Discovery Services of Texas, a legal support firm, as well as a gated parking courtyard.

The office building acquisition means Rice now has 3 contiguous tracts of land running laterally along the south side of Eagle St. They include a tiny portion of the parking lot east of San Jacinto as well as the adjacent Fiesta, which now has one year left on its lease. Catty-corner northeast of the supermarket, Rice owns the entire block home to the former Sears Auto Center. And then there are those 2 western tracts it picked up earlier this year — one of them a vacant lot, and the other home to Shipley Do-Nuts along with other retail buildings.

Photo: LoopNet

Sears and Friends

5 Comment

  • What’s up with the parking lot between Sears and Fiesta? Who owns that?

  • Do they not also own the parking lot for the Fiesta? Do all of these parcels add up to 14 acres?

  • I think the parking lot to the east of the Sears is also owned by Rice and might be colored in orange (it was part of the Sears ground lease).

  • “Doesn’t exist yet” is an understatement. In retrospect (with Amazon’s HQ2 announcement expected this week), I can’t believe they tried to sell Amazon on this.

  • It turns out that Rice owns all of the three blocks that are on the north side of Wheeler, east of Main. Plus all the parcels shown on here that are outside those blocks. Problem is, that only adds up to 12 acres, and Leebron said they had 14 acres. Where are the other two acres???