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Transforming Downtown Houston: ULI Panel Lauds Pierce Elevated Removal

HOUSTON – Re-routing and removing the Pierce Elevated freeway is an outstanding concept that would benefit growth of downtown Houston, according to a number of panelists at the recent Urban Land Institute panel discussion on downtown topics.

CBRE commercial real estate broker Sanford Criner, who has worked in Houston for four decades, complimented the Texas Department of Transportation for suggesting the idea, which would take years to materialize. In downtown Dallas, a depressed freeway was covered over with a ground-level park with brilliant results, he noted.

City growth is often cut-off by freeways that tend to prevent development momentum from spreading into nearby neighborhoods, Criner said.

The Pierce Elevated is “like a dam” that blocks the pathway of growth, said Kevin Batchelor of Hines.

“We are very supportive of this plan,” said Peter McStravick, chief development officer of Houston First.

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