Your Guide to East River Candyland

The map above — taken from this week’s city planning agenda — provides a candy-colored indication of how Midway plans to divvy up the 136-acre former KBR site along Buffalo Bayou, east of downtown, that it’s redeveloping into an office, retail, and residential neighborhood dubbed East River. Among the more colorful land uses revealed for the site: a park-fronting hotel slated for the semi-circular red parcel to the east, as well as a nameless museum — shown in grape — that’s planned along Buffalo Bayou near the neighborhood’s western edge.

Sprinkled along the water is an extension of the existing trail that runs along Buffalo Bayou’s north bank. It would traverse the entire development, from its western edge to the boat dock planned at its eastern boundary. Along the way, “Pedestrian bridges are being discussed with Buffalo Bayou Partnership to connect the two sides of the bayou,” according to the plans Midway submitted to the city.

Those 7 consecutive yellow blocks at the north end of the site along Clinton St. represent the citadel of townhomes that’ll look out onto the surrounding Fifth Ward. It’s bookended by 3 blocks of retail to the east along Hirsch Rd. and one to the west on Jensen Dr.

As heralded by the sign — pictured below — now hanging the site’s construction fencing, Houston’s city planning commission will take up the special exemption request that Midway submitted for the development later this week:


The request asks for permission to space intersections less than 400 ft. apart in some parts of the neighborhood, creating smaller-than-normal blocks. It also seeks the city’s sign-off on smaller street widths; instead the standard 60 ft. for local roads, all of those marked yellow in the map at top would be just 50 ft. across.

Three of the development’s streets — Bayou City Dr., Gregg St., and Barbara Jordan Ave. — are planned to include a 6-ft.-wide bike lane:

Others would have parallel parking on both sides:

Map and plans: Vernon G. Henry & Associates. Photo: Swamplox inbox

Sweet Deal

12 Comment

  • Could the area marked “museum” on the plat be the new location for the Houston Maritime Museum?

  • Houston’s inferiority complex to NYC is never-ending. east river? really? in a city that has to have an uptown, a mid-town, an eado, and. thankfully, probably not a knock-off high-line, why do we persist in this NYC obsession? this is a city with its own heritage, and history, and someone feels the need to name one of the most high-impact projects in the city “east river”?

    does anyone realize the potential for this project and the significance to create the renaissance of the east end that will happen?

    the name makes no sense.

  • *hands a tissue to donrom*

  • East Bayou not “East River” surely?

  • @ donrom……Houston was founded by New Yorkers…..does that answer your question?

  • I agree with donrom. Should have called it “Suck it Bezos”.

  • This is actually really, really good.
    I’d rather see the whole place platted into 25 and 50-ft frontage lots, each with a 60-ft height restriction, no setbacks, and a special parking area (so no minimums on a lot-by-lot basis), but given our development rules and the project economics, that’s not really feasible.
    However, relatively small blocks, with relatively narrow streets, and a well-integrated mix of uses is better than pretty much any other development of this size. When fully built out, this could be home to a few thousand people and a similar number (or more) of jobs.

  • Was hoping for a Ice Hockey rink and Gondola Express to downtown. It can still happen…. right?

  • I notice that stand alone garages are also not called out. Maybe they are integrating these into every building. They have a Grey color for it but it’s not present.

  • East River? Gentrifiers always begin by changing the mind set. Always will be 5th ward. I doubt anyone around here could afford to live or shop there. All the now homeless people will go to Denver Harbor

  • Wrong.

  • It seems to be a wink at the city’s history. Buffalo Bayou used to be called “Buffalo River” east of downtown.

    A map:

    I knew the name had to be locally derived when I was visited in a dream by the ghosts of the Allen brothers. They explained their entire rationale for founding the city along such a narrow waterway. I won’t get into it now, but …. jut wow. I woke up and instantly knew to look at the 1891 city map. There it was. Now it all makes sense. “East” must mean east and “River” must be referring to the Buffalo River.