Houston: Planning Commission Gets Early Look at TMC3
by Adolfo Pesquera
Houston (Harris County) – There’s been some sensational descriptions of the TMC3 campus over the past few years, but other than conceptual renderings little in the way of concrete action.
That all changed in late April when the founding institutions announced a 30-acre collaborative research campus with an “anticipated groundbreaking” in 2019 and completion in 2022.
Texas Medical Center (TMC)
Baylor College of Medicine
Texas A&M University Health Science Center
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth)
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Since then, the civil engineer firm Walter P. Moore & Associates has submitted a master plan schematic to the Houston Planning and Development Department as part of a request for a variance to waive a requirement to extend Lehall Street, which at present reaches the west site of the project site at its center.
A master plan sketch of the planned TMC3 Innovation Campus. Courtesy of City of Houston public records.
The Planning Commission has the variance request on its Thursday agenda.
The briefing document submitted to the Planning Commission states, “This master plan, shown in the attached exhibit, includes a central multipurpose building surrounded by four research towers. When Bertner Avenue was planned to be realigned between Braeswood Boulevard and OST several streets were abandoned as part of the right-of-way dedication and abandonment. These activities allowed for the development of the MDACC Administration Building at the southeast corner of Braeswood Boulevard and Bertner Avenue. At that time there was a conceptual plan for how the existing Texas Medical Center South Extension Parking Lot may be redeveloped in the future, but there were no definite plans for specific projects.”
Gensler is the architect designing the new campus, which is going to include more than 1.5 million square feet. The concept of a campus for five institutions is to bring together leading researchers with a broad array of top-tier expertise from the private sector.
During a joint press conference held April 23, TMC President and CEO William F. McKeon said, “The TMC3 campus will establish Houston as the Third Coast for life sciences, attracting the best scientific minds from around the globe. With researchers working hand-in-hand alongside industry titans on this new campus, Texas Medical Center as a whole will further advance its position as a preeminent global player in life sciences.”
The project is estimated to generate $5.2 billion and create 30,000 new jobs.
The centerpiece of the TMC3 campus – resembling the indelible double helix shape of a DNA strand – will be a multi-story building spanning nearly the entire length of the 30-acre complex. The shared facility will include core laboratories, restaurants, retail and commercial space.
The crown jewel of the facility will be an elevated park designed by famed High Line landscape architect James Corner. The rooftop park – which will be open to the public – will soar 60 feet above the campus, offer sweeping views of downtown Houston, and feature gardens, walking and running trails.
Illustration of the TMC3 campus piazza. Courtesy of Gensler.
This article includes excerpts from the April press release of the founding institutions.
Adolfo Pesquera (Reporter/Editor) is a veteran news journalist. He has worked for Hearst Corp., American Lawyer Media, News Corp and Freedom Communications. His work has been published in newspapers and magazines across the USA. He is a journalism graduate of UT-RGV. He writes, edits and creates digital pages for VBX.