East River Adding Golf Course to Urban Development

HOUSTON – (Realty News Report) – East River 9, a nine-hole golf course with a family-friendly restaurant and patio bar, is under construction at East River, a new 150-acre mixed-use development near the eastern edge of downtown in the Historic Fifth Ward, according to the Houston-based Midway development firm.

Situated above the 500-year flood plain on the northern bank of Buffalo Bayou, East River 9 will be the only public, nine-hole, par-three golf course inside the 610 Loop, complete with stadium lights for evening play. The links-style short course will be composed of holes that range from 80 – 150 yards; a natural grass, 300-yard driving range with a downtown skyline backdrop; a 12,000 SF social putting green; and a 1,000 SF pro shop which will feature merchandise, rental clubs, and refreshments.

The Riverhouse Houston restaurant and bar will complement the golf course.

“Our objective is to create an inviting and recreational environment for the local community as well as all Houstonians,” stated Clayton Freels, founding partner of the concepts. “East River 9 will grow the game by filling a void in the market between the driving range and the full 18-hole experience. It also brings a fun, community-oriented activation that will welcome neighboring residents to a site that has been closed to the public for over 75 years.”

Riverhouse Houston, a new concept with DKC Group, will anchor the golf course and will serve a scratch kitchen menu coupled with a well-rounded beer, wine, and spirits selection. The family-friendly restaurant and patio bar will be in a repurposed industrial structure that overlooks the golf course, Buffalo Bayou, and downtown skyline. In the evening, patrons will enjoy frequent live music and incredible sunset views on Riverhouse’s expansive terrace which will feature a kids playscape, outdoor games and fire pits.

Rendering of Riverhouse Houston at East River 9 golf course. Courtessy: Sterling Illustration

The building’s refined-industrial design will seamlessly meld with the aesthetic of the greater East River development. The laid-back establishment was designed to host corporate, social, and charity events and can accommodate over 1,000 people and park over 300 cars.

“Riverhouse will offer much more than a traditional clubhouse and can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion,” said Don Cristopher, project partner and founder of DKC Group Companies.

Once open for business, the project will have numerous, full-time employment opportunities for neighboring residents. East River 9 and Riverhouse will begin sharing these positions with the Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corp. this fall.

The entire golf and restaurant complex is on schedule to open by the first quarter of 2022.

East River 9 and Riverhouse Houston have assembled an accomplished project team composed of: Smelek Design, golf and landscape architect; VM Golf, golf general contractor; Sterling Golf, golf operator; Phil Schawe, Riverhouse design architect; MaRS, Riverhouse interior design; Trinity Constructors, Riverhouse general contractor; and DKC Group, Riverhouse restaurant operator.

The East River development, which has a mile of frontage on Buffalo Bayou, is located near the corner of Clinton and Jensen Drive. For many years is was used as manufacturing and office space for construction firm Brown & Root and KBR.

Schawe: Redeveloping for Refined-Industrial Look

The building when the Riverhouse Houston will be located is a redevelopment an old industrial building. “It’s an old Brown & Root maintenance building,” said Houston architect Phil Schawe, the designer of the structure. The open part of the building will include a high breezeway that connects to the open area with lawn games.

Old timbers and rails from the Brown & Root rail line will be incorporated into the Riverhouse development, Schawe said.

Midway is preparing to break ground on the first phase of East River, it will include apartments, restaurant and office space.

Anticipating Golf – Wheatley High School Golf Team Possible

The addition of golf to the East River neighborhood is already causing a buzz.

Phillis Wheatley High Schoolin the Historic Fifth Ward is working with East River 9 to ensure that it will create an inclusive environment for students and their families. Wheatley is discussing the addition of a golf team to its athletic program once the facilities are complete.

Wheatley Principal Joseph Williams said, “I am truly excited about the development of the golf course and restaurant at East River which will afford our scholars and families a space for recreation and will highlight our Fifth Ward Community to Greater Houston! Wheatley’s partnership with these businesses will truly support our efforts around career readiness and offer opportunities for internships and employment.”

Bianca Dugas, Fifth Ward resident and Associate Principal at Wheatley added, “I am elated about theemployment opportunities for Fifth Ward community members and the addition of a family-friendly establishment in the neighborhood. The wealth of opportunities that East River 9 will bring will surely improve the community’s economy.”

June 16, 2021 Realty News Report Copyright 2021

For more about Texas real estate, check out the book Houston 2020: America’s Boom Town – An Extreme Close Up  by Ralph Bivins. Available on Amazon  http://tiny.cc/4a2g6y  

Ebook version  https://tinyurl.com/4xm7z8b5 

Images: Courtesy Sterling Illustration

File: East River Adding Golf Course to Urban Development

Related posts

Sandwich Generation Cuts the Realty Mustard

Realty News Report

Braun Enterprises’ Redo in Uptown Houston

Realty News Report

Houston Soars in Best Cities Rankings

Realty News Report


David Wolff July 13, 2021 at 1:20 am


How many acres will this golf course occupy? (I would guess 30+/-. ) Is it to be permanent? Can you figure out why they would use a significant portion of their land this way?


Realty News Report July 13, 2021 at 11:36 am

Good point, David. You would think a golf course would be easy to convert to high-density use someday. In the meantime, it’s community activation – a buzz creator.


Leave a Comment