Banking on Buffalo Bayou (Spring 2015)
Dear Friends:
It is spring and Buffalo Bayou is blooming and booming! In Buffalo Bayou Park, hundreds of Redbud trees and fields of brilliant wildflowers have been on full display. Besides the unfolding lush landscape, the park’s two visitor centers, nature play area and four-acre Brown Foundation Lawn at The Water Works are well on their way to completion.

In downtown and the East End, Buffalo Bayou Partnership (BBP) is hard at work on other exciting projects such as renovation of the historic Sunset Coffee Building at Allen’s Landing and the enhancement of Buffalo Bend Nature Park at the Port of Houston Turning Basin.

While new trails and transformational park amenities are emerging all along Houston’s historic waterway, something equally as exciting is taking place beyond the bayou’s banks. Significant residential and commercial development, spurred by Buffalo Bayou Park’s restoration, is underway in neighborhoods north of Memorial Drive and south of Allen Parkway. 

This issue of Banking on Buffalo Bayou highlights various development projects that recently have been announced. In addition, we highlight the significant local and national news that is being generated by Buffalo Bayou’s revitalization.

As always, we sincerely thank the many foundations, corporations and individuals, as well as our public-sector partners who support our work. It is all of you who are making Buffalo Bayou’s transformation possible.

Enjoy this glorious spring out on the bayou!


Anne Olson                                         Collin Cox
President                                            Board Chair
Shepherd Drive to Sabine Street

Developers Banking on Buffalo Bayou

More than 150 years ago, Central Park landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead conducted a study that proved the positive connection between parks and property values. From 1856-1873, he tracked the value of property immediately adjacent to the park in order to justify the $13 million spent on its creation. Olmstead found that within this 17-year period, there was a $209 million increase in the value of the property impacted by the park.
In recent years, study after study has demonstrated that land conservation and the creation of city parks produce significant economic benefits. Buffalo Bayou is no exception.  Within the past year, three major residential developments have been announced that take full advantage of the amenities Buffalo Bayou Park is offering.
Riva at the Park

In September 2014, Sims Luxury Builders announced that Riva at the Park, a seven-story, 22-unit condominium project, would be built on D’Amico Street just off Allen Parkway. As Christopher Sims explained: “We have the opportunity to give Houstonians a tranquil environment featuring expansive views of the city. The best amenity lies right outside the lobby doors – Buffalo Bayou Park.” Today, only seven months later, all units have been sold.
Park Place at the Bayou

Plans are underway for Park Place at the Bayou, a high-end office building north of Buffalo Bayou on Waugh Drive. According to the project’s developer Ernie Cockrell, Jr. of Pinto Realty, and architect John Kirksey of Kirksey Architecture, the building’s design objective takes full advantage of Buffalo Bayou Park. 
The Monroe at Bayou Park

A new $20 million, six-story luxury midrise called The Monroe at Bayou Park, announced in March, will be built just blocks from Buffalo Bayou Park on Rochow Street. What is so exciting about this project is for every unit sold through the end of May, the developer Al Ross Luxury Homes is donating $10,000 to Buffalo Bayou Partnership.

Suburban Development Inspired by Buffalo Bayou
Although miles away from downtown Houston, another real estate development has been inspired by the transformation of Buffalo Bayou Park. Dallas-based developer The Howard Hughes Corporation is constructing Bridgeland Creek Parkway, an 11,400-acre master planned community. According to Peter Houghton, Howard Hughes vice president, the design of Bridgeland was inspired by Allen Parkway and Buffalo Bayou. Like its Houston counterpart, the development’s parkway will feature park inlets where residents can stop and run or bike along an adjacent trail.
BBP is closely tracking the residential and commercial development that is occurring in Buffalo Bayou Park’s nearby neighborhoods. “It is very exciting to see how the park is having such a positive economic benefit for our city,” says Anne Olson. “We think our research will be very useful to local economic development groups as they continue marketing Houston as well as to national park organizations who are continually making the case for revitalizing parks in urban areas.”
Sabine Street to US-59

Sunset Coffee Building

Construction continues at Allen’s Landing in downtown as BBP restores the historic Sunset Coffee Building. When completed, this bayou destination will house a boating and biking concession, café, rooftop terrace and BBP’s administrative offices. BBP and its partner Houston First, the local government corporation that oversees the city’s convention and cultural facilities, are incorporating historical elements and interpretation into the building’s design to convey the important role it played in the early life of Houston.


One, if not THE most unique hike and bike trails in Houston is under construction in downtown between Smith and Milam streets. The $4.6 million trail, funded through the federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program, lies beneath four city streets and is surrounded by vast amounts of urban infrastructure. Elevated on existing piers, the trail consists of a concrete pathway and steel bridges. The project is expected to be complete by early summer.
US-59 to the Port of Houston Turning Basin

Livable Centers Study
For the past nine months, BBP, Fifth Ward Redevelopment Corporation and the Greater East End Management District have been working with consultants from Asakura Robinson on a Livable Centers study. Funded by the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC), the planning effort is designed to create walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods, multi-modal transportation choices and private investment leveraged with public improvements. As part of the study process, a number of community meetings have been held to obtain input from neighborhood residents and business owners. Developing new and improved connections to Buffalo Bayou, strengthening the street network to the waterway, creating parks and trails, and redeveloping bayou-fronting properties are among the plan’s many recommendations.
The final planning report will be presented to the public on Tuesday, April 28 at 6 pm at Phillis Wheatley High School (4801 Providence St, Houston, TX 77020).
By this coming fall, Buffalo Bayou Partnership plans to undertake a comprehensive master plan that targets the bayou area from downtown to the Port of Houston Turning Basin.

For more information about the Livable Centers Study, please visit the project's Facebook page.
Buffalo Bayou Partnership is the non-profit organization revitalizing and transforming Buffalo Bayou, Houston’s most significant natural resource.

Anne Olson
, President

Collin Cox, Board Chair
In the News

Architecture critic Mark Lamster praises Buffalo Bayou Park in a major, three-page feature article “What Dallas can learn from Houston’s Buffalo Bayou for the Trinity River project” in the Dallas Morning News.

In The Huffington Post, Cultural Landscape Foundation's President & CEO Charles Birnbaum cited Buffalo Bayou Park, Hermann Park, Discovery Green and Memorial Park as "2014's Notable Developments in Landscape Architecture.”  Said Birnbaum, “Thanks to national design talent, visionary political leadership and successful public-private partnerships, Houston is transforming from the City of Petroleum to the City of Parks.”

BBP board member Dan Gilbane talks about “The Greening of Houston” in the Harvard Business School alumni newsletter.

Properties, a publication of Martha Turner Sotheby’s International Realty, features an article about Buffalo Bayou’s history and current transformation.

“Buffalo Bayou gets a little greener” was a feature article in “Houston Gives,” a special edition of the Houston Chronicle highlighting philanthropy.
Getting the Word Out

BBP President Anne Olson highlighted Buffalo Bayou Park at the national Public-Private Partnership Conference in Dallas. In a panel discussion, Anne joined Houston attorney Cassie Stinson and consultant Jill Jewett of the Midtown Arts & Theater Center Houston (MATCH) in talking about our city’s many public-private partnerships.

Buffalo Bayou will be front and center when the Urban Land Institute (ULI) hosts the 2015 Spring Meeting in Houston May 12-14. Anne Olson will highlight Buffalo Bayou Park in several panel discussions and BBP board members Tom Fish and Sis Johnson will lead ULI members on a bike tour of Buffalo Bayou and other bayou trails.
Read the first issue of Banking on Buffalo Bayou!
Copyright © 2015 Buffalo Bayou Partnership, All rights reserved.

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