11/14/08 11:41am

COSTCO SIDEWALK MAZE: BETTER FOR THE TREES Lee McGuire gets to the bottom of the wacky sidewalk screwup at Trammell Crow’s Greenway Commons, on the corner of Weslayan and Richmond: “It turns out the city actually required the new sidewalk to run right through the utility poles to save a row of trees. The developer said the project meets federal guidelines — except perhaps the blocked handicap ramp. The final inspection won’t take place until the shopping center is finished. If it’s in violation, the developer promises to fix it.” [11 News, via BlogHouston; previously]

10/27/08 11:15am

Sidewalk Along Weslayan St., Greenway Commons, Houston

The wise folks behind Greenway Commons — the new shopping center replacing the old HISD headquarters building at the corner of Richmond and Weslayan — have apparently taken some extra-special steps to make sure the new development (which includes a brand-new Costco) is super-friendly to pedestrian visitors!

Making everything welcoming to people arriving on foot makes sense — the project had been criticized for exhibiting suburban-style development patterns in a location that some dreamers had imagined would be a street-fronting mixed-use center. It’s already a busy corner, and Metro’s new University Line will have a stop only a short walk away.

But “easy to access” can also mean “boring.” So it’s comforting to see these pictures of the project’s street edge sent in by a reader, which show a gentle, fun infrastructure-themed obstacle course taking shape along the new Weslayan and Richmond sidewalks in front of Trammell Crow’s grand development:


03/05/08 11:42pm

Greenway Commons Costco at Richmond and Weslayan, Houston

Didja know that the new Costco going up on the former site of the HISD headquarters building at the corner of Richmond and Weslayan . . . is gonna have its very own gas station right out front?

Costco liked the idea of coming inside the Loop so much . . . it decided to bring all its friends! The city just issued a building permit for the new Costco Fuel station. But that’s just the latest addition to Greenway Commons, which is turning out to be quite a mix: A 45,420-sq.-ft. LA Fitness is going above the Costco, next to a 4-story parking garage which is connected to a 2-story retail strip center. It’ll all be protected from the busy surrounding streets by more than 500 surface parking spaces and 2 corner pad sites slated for “banks.” In back: a 550-unit Morgan Group luxury apartment complex . . . with two more separate garages!

After the jump, more drawings and plans of this surprising development.


08/07/07 11:05pm

Former HISD Central Administration Building on Richmond

Proposed Costco on Richmond

The building was simply too big, too lavish, too expensive, too outmoded, and too hot a property for a school district to keep. The site was prime real estate, near the projected path of a new rail line, and perfect—said the buyers—for a dense “New Urbanist-style” mixed-use center. The big concrete box surrounded by parking just didn’t seem to make sense. So after HISD sold its Central Administration building on Richmond at Weslayan, Trammell Crow Co. had it razed last year to make the site ready for new, fresher, denser development.

And the new development is . . . a Costco! With an LA Fitness above it! Plus some outside-the-mall-style pad sites in a big surface parking lot facing Richmond! A small parking garage too. Oh, and an apartment complex tucked in back.

What happened?

[Trammell Crow project manager Craig] Cheney said the project had quietly shifted direction some time ago.

“We looked around, and we had all these competing projects with integrated residential, office and retail, all competing for the same few retailers,” he said. “Life is too short to get into that kind of situation.”

So the project — which had an initial design including a hotel, high-rise and garden homes, a bookstore, grocery store and other features integrated into one “village” — took on a different form.

Shorter version: Costco wanted the site, so the developers jumped at the chance for some of that inside-the-loop big-box excitement.

After our jump, dreamy architect sketches of Paseo, the mixed-use European-style “lifestyle center” Trammell Crow and the Morgan Group waved in front of us for a brief, shining moment in our—yes, too-short lives.