Your Best Look Yet at East River’s 136-Acre Bayou-Side Complex for the Fifth Ward

A fresh batch of renderings released by Midway paints the clearest picture yet of what’s planned for the 136-acre former KBR campus that stretches along Buffalo Bayou, between Hirsch Rd. and Jensen Dr. Cobbled together from a mixture of glass and other materials, the tallest structure shown in the image at top spikes up behind a lower-slung retail building that fronts a junction of walking paths intersecting in a central park. You can see a further-away view of the airy column, foregrounded by street-level retailers in the view above.

A confection-colored map put out by the developer last month included a long strip of green along Buffalo Bayou’s north bank reserved for park space.

It’s now reappearing in the view below from up above the waterway:


Within the park, 2 bridges connect a trailblazing new waterfront pathway to the hike and bike trail that already exists on the bayou’s south side. In terms of bikeability, Houston Planning Commission member Bill Baldwin said on June 7 that he’d spoken to the developer about including cycling lanes in the planned park.

No final word has arrived yet on that proposal, but streetwise the commission did manage to narrow down a few items on its agenda — granting permission for most of the new local roads criss-crossing the site to span 50, as opposed to the usual 60 ft. across and shortening the distances between intersections from their typically required minimums.

Renderings: Midway

Great Glass Spike

21 Comment

  • Suck it, Bezos.

  • Looks fantastic! Lets see how politicians can screw this up.

  • Build it up-up-up!

  • My eyeball test sees about 500,000 square feet of office type space. I believe this morning the paper had an announcement of a few more hundred thousand feet of office sublease. Does anybody buy the idea of building an office building of any note in the next decade? Also, Midway will push a hospitality angle. I can safely say I would be afraid to think of business/casual travelers coming to Houston and seeing this area as their lasting image. This site can build all it wants, there’s a solid 1/4 of a mile of urban decay around this land. It’s like trying to convince my wife of the glorious muscles that await her under my obvious dad bod outer layer. Thanks a lot, Shipley’s/Whataburger.

  • City Planning will be sure to botch this one.

  • @Bo Darley – but it is in a rendering! Therefore it must be true!

    …it will make a decent townhouse farm, at least. The smaller streets will help with that.

  • You all comments are the most negative…smh

  • Oh wow. I just realized that the main looking building on here with the Pompadour is the existing KBR building. That is a really cool way to modify the building if they do it.

  • I’d consider this a risky proposition still so hats off to them for pushing ahead. With the pain of crossing downtown I just can’t understand why anyone or any company located west of 45 would travel/move to this location. The west side of town is littered with empty Class A office space all over and tons of shopping options throughout the inner loop.

  • HTOWN- care to elaborate on how exactly will City Planning “botch” this?

  • Having lived in this town for a half-century, I predict that the renderings will become reality in about 50 years as long as the current pace of capital continues to flow in. (That last caveat will sink this dream.)
    That area is just plain gritty. No judgments but an honest assessment. The success of redevelopment is going to need a mix of transportation, schools, groceries, residents, and employers while keeping the criminal element at bay.

  • @meh we are on the same page. I do know and see where high density coverage townhouses would work here, provided they are installing the waterfront green space and connecting the bike trails. If I were 25 and ready to enter the world of home ownership (or even townhome rental) this would be an acceptable move for me, particularly if I’m getting a $200/ft townhouse in more established inner city pockets for $150-170 here.

  • Makes Downtown Austin look like a pile of puke!

  • I’ve been watching this development unfold with amusement after spending almost 3 years working on the KBR site. Before that it was just Brown and Root with most of the property old warehouses. Included was a cement dock on Buffalo Bayou that was used during WWII and an asphalt plant close to that. Since Brown and Root was owned by Halliburton at the time someone started a “shared services” concept and HR, Real Estate, IT, and others were combined from both companies. Halliburton had major office space on San Felipe at the time and everyone was advised to buy new tires before moving there. I never personally had any issues, but working after dark wasn’t fun. Just before we left a development of new homes was put in across Clinton Drive. I wonder what happened to them?

  • Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited about this project. But the city needs to do something about all the homeless people living alongside the north and south banks of the Buffalo Bayou around this area. It’s like a shanty town.

  • Narrow-ish rights of way, short blocks, spaces designed for people, not cars (very little surface parking). What’s not to like? I hope it’s wildly successful, and shows other developers what’s possible. Maybe it’ll even get Regent Square moving again.

  • the area is going gang-busters with townhouse development and “warm bodies” will attract the mixed-use hospitality and service (grocery, etc… retail) this area so desperately needs. Office is tough, ours is in EADO and it takes some work to get clients and visitors to make the trip to the area. this will only get tougher as the 59-construction project progresses. The east end neighborhoods are very interesting and the former warehouse structures feature some sort of brewery, coffee shop, etc… opening each month.

  • enough about the homeless already- they’re humans. If you’re so troubled by seeing less fortunate folks as you drive by in your luxurious metal box, then donate to a good cause. otherwise, grow up

  • Adjacent to scenic Jensen Drive. Keep your doors locked.

  • This needs more surface parking. And that surface parking will, of course be subject to a parking requirement.

  • “East River”? That’s a horrible name with which to brand this project. Way to go, Midway. I applaud the effort and vision of the project, but please consider a name change.