Tuesday AM April 14th, 2009

Plans are still underway for an Epcot-styled green theme park, as part of a "green" community here in Houston. Ed Mayberry talked with economic development consultant Don Holbrook for an update.

The new EarthQuest development will encompass retail stores, an outlet mall, restaurants and hotels, a convention center, office space, a research facility, a zoo — and "green" homes, according to Don Holbrook, president and CEO of the EarthQuest Institute.

"We're excited about it.  I mean, it's — we've been in the process of planning this for six years, so we think the kind of a perfect storm came along and helped us.  But we're going to break ground probably next year — first or second quarter of 2010 — with opening planned in 2012, late 2012.  My original undergraduate degree was in urban planning and environmental studies.  So I joke that I've been a 'green' developer for all my career, which I won't say how many years that is, but it's getting up there now, at this point."

EarthQuest Institute is a non-profit entity advocating green technologies.  The institute is overseeing a planned museum and various education components in conjunction with the "green" vision of this master-planned community, according to Holbrook, who attended a recent forum on alternative energy.

"We're excited by it.  We're hoping that President Obama will get the credit markets opened up!  We're not worried about the equity, we're worried about the debt markets!  But very excited, we think Houston's a great place for this.  It's the energy center of the country.  There's no one pixie dust solution for all this. It's a collaboration of all the energy companies and technologies that we believe are going to create the solutions.  And so we're excited to be kind of that showcase, to show those off for people here in Houston — to make Houston not only just a huge eco-tourism and green tourism destination in the country, but a great place to come and learn about sustainable energy, clean technologies, energy conservation and see things from around the world."  

The EarthQuest Resort will be located off of highway 59 in New Caney. 

Ed Mayberry, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.

Bio photo of Ed Mayberry

Ed Mayberry

Local Anchor, All Things Considered

Ed Mayberry has worked in radio since 1971, with many of those years spent on the rock 'n' roll disc jockey side of the business...