Houston Maritime Center Sailing to East River

HOUSTON – (By Dale King, Realty News Report) – The Houston Maritime Center – the repository of exhibits and paraphernalia from the city’s vast river-related history – is set to be reborn on the bayou next year.

Midway, the Houston-based real estate investment and development firm developing the multiple-use East River along Buffalo Bayou, just notified the public that HMC has leased 6,281 SF of space in the first phase of its massive new development.

“We are thrilled that Houston Maritime Center will be a part of East River’s first phase,” said Brandi McDonald-Sikes, principal and senior advisor at SVN – J. Beard—Greater Houston, the office leasing representative for East River.

“The early industrial history of the East River site was shaped by Houston’s reliance on Buffalo Bayou, which provided access to the Gulf of Mexico and was strategically important for many local businesses in the early 20th century,” she said. “It’s an ideal setting for patrons to learn about the rich maritime history that fuels our city while also enjoying spectacular views of downtown.”

Reborn on the Bayou

Currently occupying an interim space at the confluence of Navigation and Canal streets in the East End, HMC will relocate to its new, larger quarters at East River next spring, officials said. Fittingly, the new site is in East River’s Trail Head 1 (Building F) office structure, adjacent to the project’s bayou-side greenspace with wide-open views of downtown Houston.

A 501(c)3 non-profit, the maritime center aims to connect the community to one of Houston’s most valuable industries, offering a variety of exhibits that cover centuries of maritime history and the city’s impact on local waterways as means of commerce and travel. The center also hosts a variety of virtual and in-person educational activities, modules, lectures, programs and events for all ages.

Established in 2000, the HMC was founded by James “Jim” L. Manzolillo, a naval architect who traveled extensively, collecting artifacts from around the world. He eventually chose to share them with the public, and Houston offered a logical place to do it. As a result, Manzolillo began channeling his resources to create a museum to engage people of all ages in the history of ships and sea exploration.

The HMC’s museum gallery is packed with exhibits and artifacts telling the story of Houston’s maritime history through the centuries. Ship models, maritime relics and hands-on exhibits create aninteractive museum for all ages and interests.

In January 2019, the museum moved to its current location in Houston’s East End, offering new exhibits ranging from ancient Roman maritime trade to the age of European exploration and on to clipper ships, ocean liners, World War II and the offshore energy industry that powers the Texas economy.

The museum also pays homage to the USS Houston CA-30 and her crew and offers a history of Buffalo Bayou, which has since become the second largest port in the United States. Museum docents present visitors with insights into the maritime world and are available for tours during normal business hours.

The museum also accommodates school groups, scouts, senior tours and hosts several different events each month, among them, at least one lecture, either on maritime history or industry, and a free family day on the last Saturday of the month.

Looking ahead,“Midway’s plans for East River blend history, culture, innovation and modern community,” said Leslie Bowlin, executive director of HMC. “We are thrilled to be a part of this monumental project that will help us attract further growth and visibility within the community, increasing membership, visitor ship and support. Our new space—larger with increased exhibit and event space—will be our berth for the next several years as we work to raise the funds needed to expand our footprint on the banks of the bayou in future phases of East River.”

The sun sets on Midway’s East River development which is located just east of downtown Houston on the banks of Buffalo Bayou. Photo by Ralph Bivins, Realty News Report Copyright 2022.

In total, East River Phase One will offer 300,000 SF of office room designed to fit a wide variety of business needs alongside The Laura, a five-story, modern-industrial multifamily community of 360 apartment homes.

An additional 100,000 SF of retail will be created on the ground floor of the office buildings, garage and bayou pavilions that will fuse commerce and culture with restaurant, hospitality, retail, medical and entertainment forming spaces. Retail tenants confirmed for Phase One include Broham Fine Soul Food & Groceries, Lick Honest Ice Creams, El Condor Coffee Roaster, Tomi Jewelry, URBN Dental and a new event venue and rooftop bar from the owners of The Astorian. Office tenants include Impact Networking, Method Architecture and TEAL.

Construction is well underway on East River Phase One, which is scheduled for completion in 2023.

Midway expects the East River’s 150 acres of multi-phase, mixed-use development to transform the city’s waterfront east of downtown into a new economic center. Midway said in a news release that East River “is ideally positioned to serve a wide range of residents and a spectrum of housing price points, innovative and globally competitive companies, cutting-edge retail and restaurant concepts and a host of institutional, educational and recreational opportunities.”

“The project’s early phases of development set the tone for a world-class collection of districts by focusing on connecting Houston’s urban fabric to central green spaces, active transportation, upgraded infrastructure and an impressive mile of waterfront along Buffalo Bayou.”


Oct. 23, 2022 Realty News Report Copyright 2022

File: Houston Maritime Center Sailing to East River

Image Courtesy Midway

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Houston Maritime Center Sailing to East River

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