By Gilbert Hoffman
The Greenspoint District held their annual luncheon last week, to report to the community on progress and future plans in the district.
Jack Drake, president, was the emcee of the event, which included speakers who represented strong new improvements for the area. Drake also introduced a new Logo, and a new marketing campaign, entitled Greenspoint, Strategically Positioned, Globally Connected.
The keynote speaker was Houston Mayor Bill White. Other speakers included Sally Bradford, Greenspoint Redevelopment Authority, Dennis Brown, COO of TriYar Companies, the owner of Greenspoint Mall, Michael Downs, real estate vice president of Sysco food corporation, Doug Johnson, vice president of IDI, a real estate developer, and Gregory Mondshine, of Myers Crow & Saviers, office building developers.
In his opening remarks, Drake mentioned the strategic location of Greenspoint, both locally and globally. It is at the center of the regional economy, which generates $15 billion in activity annually.
Greenspoint strengths include being at the crossroad of major freeways and fiber-optic lines, close to all major Houston destinations and desirable residential areas, close to a major international airport, and home to many major energy companies and international corporations.
Drake emphasized that these benefits are just a foundation for future growth and prosperity in the district. He cited three recent project announcements as examples: Exterran, a major compressor company, is moving their corporate headquarters to two Greenspoint office buildings, McMoRan Exploration will occupy a third office building, and Sysco Corporation is building a new 585,000 square foot food distribution center.
Each of the featured speakers then detailed accomplishments and plans in their areas.
Sally Bradford spoke of the infrastructure improvements, including road and bridge construction, parks and public plazas with artwork. Future projects include a 5 acre Buckboard Park on Airline, street improvements to Airline, and a new bridge on Greenspoint Drive. With help from partners, she forsaw $30 million in improvements in the next few years.
Mike Downs of Sysco showed slides of the large new food distribution center and test kitchen to be built at the intersection of I-45 and Beltway 8.
Greg Mondshine presented slides of a project known as Greens Crossing, a multi-use office park on Beltway 8.
Doug Johnson, of I.D.I., showed slides of Greeenspoint Business Center, in the TIRZ zone between I-45 and Greenspoint Drive. It is a mixed use project primarily as a distribution center.
Dennis Brown had the latest news on redevelopment of the Greenspoint Mall, with construction set to start this year. He portrayed it as an entertainment destination, as well as a shopping experience. The work will cost $25,000,000 of public and private funding, and generate 500 new jobs, he said.
Mayor Bill White noted how special Houston is, with our economy going up, including Greenspoint, while most others in the nation are going down.
The Mayor commented on his 5 priorities to improve the city:
1. Crime reduction. Operation Greensweep has helped reduce crime. Police force size is up 15%, and violent crime in Houston is down 8% since White took office.
2. Drainage. White increased the budget from $15m to $50m, without new fees or assessments.
3. Taxes. Although assessments have gone up, which the city doesnt control, this year he will enact the largest rate cut since he took office.
4. Electricity Rates. It is imperative, he said, to reduce demand, and to de-link energy costs to electricity rates. He cites LEED construction, and a new energy code, as steps in this.
5. Affordable Housing. White sees Houston as a leader nationally in this. The city has foreclosed on 3000 tax delinquent homes, and has already returned 1500 to the tax rolls, after clearing and rebuilding on their sites.
By Gilbert Hoffman