Houston’s Hottest ’Hood? With Development Galore, Walkable Communities Emerge in East End

Houston’s Hottest ’Hood? With Development Galore, Walkable Communities Emerge in East End

East River 9 and Riverhouse Houston

IMAGINE EVERY RESIDENT being able to get most everything via a 15-minute-or-less walk, in a neighborhood convenient to major employment areas of Houston. That’s the vision for the fast-emerging East End district’s new multiuse development called The Plant/Second Ward, created by Concept Neighborhood, a Houston real estate investment, development and management company. Concept Neighborhood is focused on creating walkable communities combining accessible housing with innovative retail and creative maker space.

“Our goal is to create an international, inspired neighborhood that resonates with the flavor of Houston — one of the most diverse cities in the western world,” says Concept’s managing principal Jeff Kaplan. “Houston lacks an authentic walkable corridor that celebrates the diversity within one neighborhood.” The Plant — named for the nearby Coffee Plant/Second Ward station on the MetroRail’s Green line — is being brought to life in a master plan architected by Gensler, and is the first real estate redevelopment of its kind in Houston to connect the light rails to the bayou trails of our heavily car-dependent city.

“It’s a multiyear project,” says Kaplan, noting that it will eventually include more than 1,000 multifamily units and will also prioritize locally owned and operated retail tenants, such as the trendy Eden Plant Co. (which doubles as a coffee shop). Current restaurants include Neighbors Pizza, paleta shop Popston, The Re-Up Juice Bar, and newly relocated Street to Kitchen by James Beard awarded Chef “G” Painter and her husband Graham Painter. “We think the result will be a neighborhood with supercharged vibrancy and that feeling you get when you’re in a city that’s cool, creative and authentically weird.”

It’s one of many transformative projects currently underway in the East End, a newfound hub for the cool, creative and weird. Just across the bayou, East River is a striking property from Midway that was recently honored as the winner of the Houston Business Journal Mixed-Use Landmark Award for its urban revitalization. Current tenants include event venue Le Tesserae by The Astorian, the Houston Maritime Center + Museum (opening soon!), and several restaurants.

But perhaps its main draw is East River 9, a nine-hole public golf course with a driving range, putting green and pickleball courts — and a full-service restaurant that boasts a mean burger and frequent live music. “East River … will redefine Houston’s urban landscape,” says David Hightower, Midway’s VP of investment and development, citing “focus on pedestrian-friendly design, innovative mixed-use spaces, and cultural amenities” as the project’s cornerstones.

Nearby, Agrigole Hospitality — which can take at least partial credit for turning Houstonians’ attention eastward several years ago, opening several restaurants on St. Emmanuel St. in EaDo — recently debuted a sister location of its Heights-area staple Eight Row Flint.

Sunset Golf at East River 9

Brass Tacks

A rendering of East Blocks

Le Tesserae

Lightnin's Good Times

Pepperoni pizza at Vinny's (photo by Ralph Smith)

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