The redesign of the streetscape of the energy corridor attracts curious stakeholders



Cindy Majouirk found it hard to contain her enthusiasm. Granite Properties, Inc.’s senior property manager went from easel to easel, quizzing the consultants on what she was seeing and getting the details of every dot, color, dash and design her eyes were on. With pleasure, Robb Berg, President of Design Workshop, described the design and streetscapes proposed for the overhaul of the Energy Corridor District at the last public meeting of the project. Majouirk left the workshop energized by what she saw.

“I have two buildings in Memorial and Eldridge where the Energy Corridor District is renting our building. We have worked with them before and what they come up with is phenomenal, ”she said.

It was the first time members of the audience had seen actual renderings of the proposed changes and they liked what they saw.

Voters were given a choice with green and red sticky dots to apply to things they liked and disliked – red for disapproval and green for approval. There was little or almost no red dots on the renderings. The only differences were in the three models they preferred: traditional, modern and ultra-modern. The constituents were all in it.

For Majouirk, she saw something that resonated with a number of those who attended the meeting.

“I’m excited about this. I see consistency, ”she said. “We’ll look like we’re Uptown or Midtown and people will recognize each other when you walk into the neighborhood. You will be able to tell by signage and plant materials, ”she said.

Granite Properties owns three buildings in Eldridge and Memorial and the Energy Corridor District is a tenant in one of its buildings.

“We just put up new monument panels and upgraded them with plant material to enhance the beauty of the area,” she said, and this design suits her perfectly.

For Barbara Quinn, who lives on Memorial, what they did at Memorial and Eldridge intersection was monumental.

“I hope this will continue throughout the Memorial,” she asked.

The compliments and praises were music to the ears of Elijah Williams, the executive director of the Energy Corridor District.

“Here we are soliciting public comments on our draft streetscape design standards and guidelines. And so the objective of this project is to seek opportunities in the energy corridor, to create coherence in our public space to help define and create a sense of belonging and identity, as well as to seek opportunities for better access to multimodal transport, ”he said. noted.

Williams said he believes their efforts will make them a stronger district and create more opportunities for new development as well as redevelopment and keep them competitive in the long run.

It’s not just about following the Joneses. Their designers, Design Workshop in Colorado, have proven their worth with Westchase and Uptown redesigns.

“No, no, no,” Williams said. “The energy corridor is already a special place. This is a major hub and employment center and I think that’s part of what is helping to boost Houston’s economy, ”he explained. “We recognize this and will always continue to look for opportunities to improve our physical environment, which I think helps support this economic aspect of who we are.”

Williams said he was happy with the participation and public comment they received.

“We take it very seriously. We have already made a series of public engagements with residents, business owners or landowners to get their feedback and have received positive responses. People are proud of their community and it is no different here, ”he said.

A survey has already been sent out and the district has already received a lot of feedback. Although the public meetings are over, there is still time to submit questions and suggestions through the survey for a few more weeks.

From there, Williams said their goal was to find ways to implement the plans and make the improvements. It will take time for them to identify opportunities to work with the city and other partners to start changing the physical environment.

Funding for a huge project like this is always a big deal.

“You know, for us, we’re funded by assessments, which come from commercial property owners, and these are people who have agreed to be part of the energy corridor. That’s where our budget comes from, ”he said. But, he added, they will also take advantage of other opportunities through government grants, city partnerships and city capital improvement projects.

“So, for example, you can see the Memorial project. If you remember, it wasn’t that long ago that the town did some reconstructions along Memorial and Eldridge. We have partnered with them to look specifically at improving the intersection of Memorial and Eldridge. This project was in fact the catalyst for us to say: “How do we think bigger, wider, across the whole energy corridor, and identify these improvement opportunities and make them coherent in this environment? “So this is just one example of how we can leverage the funding we have already put in and layer our funding on top of that, to implement some of these improvements,” he described.

It won’t be a Christmas present for the neighborhood this year, there is too much work to do.

“Our goal is always to get these things done as quickly as possible, but the realization is that this type of effort takes a lot of time, a lot of coordination, a lot of work on the part of the Energy Corridor team. We’re going to have to partner up, really articulate that vision and get that funding. It’s fair, it’s part of the process, ”said the executive director.

Williams said they would look for opportunities to identify short-term gains, but much of the project is capital intensive.

“It has to be planned for the long term,” he said.

Alfonso Mireles could only look at the plans and hope that what he saw and heard could be accomplished and soon.

“I think it’s great, but now how do we implement it? He asked himself. At his job they draw clients from as far away as Colorado and when they mention the energy corridor many don’t know what they’re talking about, so he hopes the brand and the new design will reinforce the message to Houstonians and visitors alike. from the city. venturing onto I-10 down the hall.

He works for Consor Engineers in the heart of the district.

“We’ve seen some of the improvements over the past 11 years, but there’s a huge difference in branding across town, but not as much here,” he said.

He said that many of the employees who work in his business live in the district and he hopes they will be more involved in the process.

“This (the designs) is similar to what you see in other places across the country,” he said, saying Houston had a bad reputation for being just freeways.

“It really isn’t. I think we have some great people with great talent like this who can make this possible with walking and trails. It’s very inviting, ”he said.

During Houston Bike Week, he rode Katy’s bike to the Energy Corridor.

“I took all the leads. I’m very pro at it, ”he said. “It just gives you more pride to have something like this.”

To learn more about streetscapes or to take the survey, visit their website at www.energycorridor.org.

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