by Adolfo Pesquera
Houston (Harris County) — The Midtown Redevelopment Authority is nearing completion on plans for the Revive Emancipation!, an affordable housing, retail and office development in the Northwest Third Ward.
The Midtown Affordable Housing Plan, which was drafted in the summer of 2017, has several components. Two of the phases are estimated to reach the construction stage by November, according to filings with the state. They have an estimated project cost of $28.5 million.
Terra Surveying Company Inc. brought two buildings in the project before the Houston Planning Commission last week for a variance on the building setback, but that request was deferred for two weeks at city staff’s request. Most of the larger structure (Emancipation Center One) is dedicated to above surface parking.
Midtown wants the building setback lines at 10 feet instead of 25 feet. They are located at the northwest and northeast corners of Elgin Street and St. Charles Street and the smaller structure (Emancipation Two) to the northeast will include 20 multifamily units.
Emancipation One, the five and four-story office/parking structures (lower left) will be across St. Charles Street from Emancipation Two, the three-story, 20-unit apartment complex. Courtesy: Kirksey and Midtown Houston.
The residential component has to look of urban townhomes with shared walls and ceiling heights of 33 feet, but they have pitched roofs the peak several feet higher. Exterior materials are a mix of masonry, decorative formed metal and fiber cement siding.
Midtown has thrown in concrete sidewalk improvements on Elgin and St. Charles, but will added a broader pedestrian walkway made of pavers on Emancipation Avenue.
“While providing enhanced public realm along Elgin Street, higher quality public realm emphasis is given to the St. Charles Street edge, a local street with wider right of way. It is our design intent to balance what this project brings to the streets and better community engaged streetscape between two streets where this project sits on,” Midtown’s project summary stated.
Midtown has been describing these was “catalyst” projects that are intended to prove to developers the area is ready for new real estate investment.
“While this housing type is new in the Emancipation and Elgin corridors, this project will provide a transformative building typology in the mix of redevelopments in the corridors.”
The 2017 affordable housing plan stated that its purpose is to “promulgate a systematic approach to the development of affordable housing on land purchased by MRA for that purpose. The project shall be called the Southeast Houston Affordable Housing Initiative, due to where the tracts of land are located.”
The units are to be marketed to households with incomes from 30 to 120 percent of the Area Median Income.
“The implementation of the Plan will begin with a mixed-use development at the intersection of Emancipation Avenue and Elgin Street that will include 20 units of multi-family housing and approximately 200 multi-family units north of the mixed-use development, all to be located in the Emancipation Avenue Mixed-Use District.
“At the northeast corner of Emancipation Avenue and Elgin Street is a MRA-owned tract that has been designated for a multi-level office building with ground floor retail and 20 multi-family units. Also within the district are proximate tracts owned by MRA where there are plans for a roughly 200-unit multi-level, high density multi-family housing development with commercial/retail uses on the ground floor. These catalyst projects will demonstrate the impact that new construction can have as relates to neighborhood revitalization and community-building.”
The projects going to construction this fall are the pink areas labeled “Operations HUB + 20 Units Multi-Family.” The Revive Emancipation! district projects will also include a 200-unit multifamily development to the northeast of Emancipation Park. Courtesy: Midtown Houston.
According to August reports submitted by Kirksey to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, both structures was estimated to start construction this November and reach completion by December 2019.
The five-story shell office building with associated four-story parking garage has an estimated cost of $23.4 million. The three-story apartment building with associated surface parking lot has an estimated cost of $5.1 million.
Asakura Robinson is the landscape architect.