Port Authority Constructing HQ in East River

HOUSTON – (Realty News Report) – Port Houston, the organization that oversees public wharves and shipping terminals at one of the largest ports in the world, will build a six-story office building in the East River development for its new headquarters.

Located along the banks of Buffalo Bayou, the 150-acre East River is a development of the former Brown & Root campus just east of downtown.

The East River is located 1.5 miles downstream from Allen’s Landing where Houston’s founders, Augustus and John Allen, laid the groundwork for trade on the bayou, giving rise to the creation of the Houston Ship Channel.

Ric Campo

“It was important to us to remain close to the ship channel we serve,” said the Chairman of the Port Commission of the Port of Houston Authority, Ric Campo. “Part of the appeal of the property at East River is being able to contribute to the continued growth of the local community. It’s thrilling to see the expansion of businesses and green spaces in the area, and we are happy to be a part of it.”

Port Houston’s current administrative building, located at the Turning Basin Terminal is expected to be demolished to accommodate cargo operations at City Docks near the intersection of the Highway 225 and the 610 Loop in east Houston.

The new 95,000-SF Port headquarters building will be constructed on 1.6 acres of land the Port Houston has purchased in East River’s first phase.  A 300-space parking garage and a skybridge connecting the two structures will be built.

Construction is expected to begin in spring 2024, with completion slated for summer 2025.

Midway, a Houston real estate firm led by Brad Freels, will develop a new headquarters in the first phase section of East River, which is located near the intersection of Jensen Drive and Clinton Drive in the Fifth Ward.

“This announcement shows great insight on behalf of Port Houston, given everything taking place at the East River development, as well as the improvements Buffalo Bayou Partnership is making from downtown Houston to the turning basin. It’s an excellent move, and we’re happy to have Port Houston join the Fifth Ward community,” said Fifth Ward leader the Rev. Harvey Clemons Jr of the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church.

The Houston Ship Channel complex and its more than 200 private and eight public terminals, collectively known as the Port of Houston, is the nation’s largest port for waterborne tonnage.

“Port Houston has been a driving force in Houston’s success since its creation, and its value as an economic catalyst and community partner are as critical as ever,” said Larry Sloan, Executive Vice President, Investments & Development at Midway. “We are proud to partner on the development of their new headquarters at East River and look forward to delivering an innovative new office environment that is uniquely suited to the Port’s current needs, while attracting and retaining a new generation of talent in the years to come.”

Brad Freels

East River’s first phase will offer 300,000 SF of leasable office space designed to fit a wide variety of business needs; three 10,000 SF independent office structures dubbed The Studios at East River, which are currently under construction and geared towards businesses looking to own their own space; The Laura, a five-story, modern-industrial multifamily community of 360 apartment homes; and an additional 100,000 SF of retail.

Confirmed retail tenants in East River’s first phase include Broham Fine Soul Food & Groceries, Lick Honest Ice Creams, Houston Maritime Center, Tomi Jewelry, URBN Dental, and Le Tesserae by The Astorian. Office tenants include Impact Networking, Method Architecture, Suderman & Young Towing Company and TEAL. OJB Landscape Architecture has pre-purchased one of The Studios at East River independent office structures.

Method Architecture, which has offices around Texas, recently announced it was the first office  tenant to move into East River.

Opening up the bayou frontage to new possibilities, the multi-phase East River project will transform the city’s waterfront east of downtown with millions of SF of commercial and residential buildings covering the equivalent of 60 city blocks. Slated for completion this fall, East River’s 26-acre first phase presents a  destination focused on connecting Houston’s urban fabric to central green spaces, and a mile of waterfront along Buffalo Bayou that was inaccessible to the wider community for decades.

A public, nine-hole, par-three golf course opened on the East River site in fall of 2022, complete with pickleball courts and the Riverhouse restaurant. Clayton Freels is founding partner of the golf venture and restaurant development.

The golf course restaurant building is a redevelopment of an old Brown & Root maintenance building. With a design by Texas architect Phil Schawe, the center of the building has been opened up into a wide, entry breezeway that leads to the patio bar and the first tee.

July 20, 2023. Realty News Report Copyright 2023

Image courtesy Midway


LISTEN:: THE RALPH BIVINS PROJECT podcast  with Anna Deans of Midway and East River.

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LISTEN: THE RALPH BIVINS PROJECT podcast with Rusty Tamlyn of JLL

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LISTEN: THE RALPH BIVINS PROJECT podcast with Carlos Bujosa of Transwestern 

LISTEN: THE RALPH BIVINS PROJECT podcast with Kris Larson of Central Houston Inc.

LISTEN: THE RALPH BIVINS PROJECT podcast with Jason Gaines of NAI Partners.

LISTEN: THE RALPH BIVINS PROJECT podcast with  Mike Spears of Lee & Associates Houston

LISTEN: THE RALPH BIVINS PROJECT podcast with  Maria Perez of Gensler

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