Downtown Groundbreaking for Park Near New Apartment Towers

HOUSTON – (Realty News Report) – With the empty Exxon Mobil skyscraper in the background, and new residential towers in the foreground, a green sprout emerged Friday in downtown Houston – a groundbreaking for a new neighborhood park.

It shall be called Trebly Park.

The park, with the official address of at 1515 Fannin Street, will cover about three quarters of a city block bounded by San Jacinto, Bell, Leeland and Fannin streets. (The portion of the block that won’t be included in the Trebly green park is a parking lot often used by the faculty of the South Texas College of Law, the owner of the paved parking parcel.)

Trebly Park will be an important component to improve the lifestyle for residents in adjacent multifamily buildings, which include the two Skyhouse towers, the Block 334 apartments, and the 31-story Houston House.

“We envision the park as a third place,” said groundbreaking host Bob Eury, president of the Downtown Redevelopment Authority and the Downtown District. “It’s becoming the living room of the neighborhood.”

Eury was instrumental in the creation of the Downtown Living Initiative program to stimulate downtown multifamily development with $15,000 per unit in tax benefits. It result in the construction of a number of new apartment towers.

Mayor: City Should Increase Downtown Living

“We have 10,000 people living in downtown and our goal is to go even more,” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said to the masked groundbreaking audience seating in spaced-out rows of white chairs.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner (seated at left) while Downtown District president Bob Eury addresses the groundbreaking audience at the site of Trebly Park on March 12, 2021. Photo by Ralph Bivins of Realty News Report copyright 2021.

Construction will begin immediately, with estimated completion in March 2022.

Public art will be a defining feature of the new park: Visitors will be greeted by a dynamic gateway installation at the northern entrance near Fannin and Bell that will rotate every two years. German artists Thomas Granseuer and Tomislav Topic of Quintessenz, known for site-specific works that distill the essence of art to color and form, have been selected to create the inaugural installation. Featuring layers of PVC mesh painted in different color gradients and suspended at canopy height over a square frame, Porta Pigmenta will visually and functionally draw visitors into the park; a “floating art” installation, the fabric will create waves of color that constantly change with the wind and the light.

Quintessenz will partner with local artist Kelly O’Brien of Fenris LLC who will be providing engineering support, fabricating the structure and assisting with installation.

Bikes, Art and Food

The L-shaped property will serve as a “backyard” for neighborhood residents and employees, with a central lawn framed by lush garden zones with seating and water features on the north(bordering Bell Street) and the south (bordering Leeland Street). Its design focuses on accessibility for cyclists and safe pedestrian connections: the park will feature a BCycle station, bike racks and a bike repair station and distinctive zones will be connected by a broad, curved, Live Oak-lined walkway stretching from the southeast corner to the northwest corner.

Trebly Park will be home to La Vie de St Concepts’ second outpost of Tout Suite, their popularEaDo cafe. The all-day cafe will offer counter service for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacksdaily, along with weekend brunch. Tout Suite will also serve coffee, juice, craft beer, wine and bubbly along with pastries and baked goods, which will be prepared at the Commerce Street commissary and delivered fresh daily. The 2,400-SF cafe will feature indoor seating for 70 guests and outdoor seating for approximately 48 guests under a canopy of trees.

Just beyond the outdoor seating area, a whimsical playscape by Chiaozza will provide entertainment for children.

Downtown District, similar to the operation agreement between the Downtown District and the City of Houston for Market Square Park. Structura has been selected as the general contractor. Lauren Griffith Associates developed designs for the park based on a site programming report by Project for Public Spaces (PPS), which established recommendations for activities, amenities and events based on extensive public engagement in 2018. (The property was formerly used as a Goodyear Tire retail and repair facility.) Gensler is providing architectural services for the on-site cafe and other structures; Gandy2 Lighting Design is providing lighting design services; electrical engineering by Hunt & Hunt engineering; structural engineering by Henderson Rogers, Inc.; mechanical engineering by T&D Engineers; Kuo & Associates is providing civil engineering; and kitchen food service consulting and design by Ala Carte Consulting and C&T Design & Equipment.

The Trebly Name?  …  Hint: There is no Mr. Trebly

“The genesis for the name was inspired in parts by location, shape and the fun factor. Trebly Park is located on Block 333 of Downtown Houston, on a site defined by three city block corners. Trebly, meaning ‘three times as much,’ is fresh in spirit, rolls off the tongue and is not moored in convention,” said Curtis Flowers, DRA board chair, in a press release. “By its definition, Trebly Park implies that the park has much to offer those who visit it in terms of experience with ‘three times as much’ fun, play, interaction, relaxation and deliciousness. We also hope the grounds will serve as a ‘third space,’ or communal space, for area residents,students, workers and visitors.”

The groundbreaking for the park, which had been planned with the working title of Southern Downtown Park, was originally anticipated to occur in March of 2020. But then the Covid hit.

March 12, 2021 Realty News Report Copyright 2021

File: Downtown Groundbreaking for Park

All Photos by Ralph Bivins of Realty News Report copyright 2021

For more about urban parks, check out the book Houston 2020: America’s Boom Town – An Extreme Close Up  by Ralph Bivins. Available on Amazon

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