Friday AM October 16th, 2009
by: Ed Mayberry, October 16, 2009 8:10:00 am
Development of residential spaces and improvements in mobility are helping create a community that's a mix of shoppers, residents and workers. John Breeding is president of the Uptown Houston District, which is a public-private taxing entity.
"The property owners got together and created a mechanism whereby they could tax themselves—do everything from build streets, sidewalks, signals, et cetera. And the city council created a tax increment reinvestment zone here, whose primary focus is transportation improvements, because we have, you know, almost no network of streets in this area. We're actually building secondary streets. The private sector uses a public sector mechanism to help them do development, not unlike a municipal utility district out in the suburbs that builds streets or utilities."
Breeding says the Uptown District continues development of sidewalks and distinctive intersections.
"We came in and did things like build the stainless steel arches over Post Oak Boulevard, and we get a lot of comments that we really know how to grow flowers. And that's a small thing, but it's about quality of life, I think. And then finally, this last year, working with the mayor, we actually purchased the Water Wall, which had been a private piece of property, which could have been torn down and turned into a parking garage if necessary, or a new office building. We negotiated a very good deal for the public and purchased that property from Hines. And now, Houston newest park: the Water Wall!"
Breeding says the Uptown District continues widening sidewalks and creating pedestrian areas that make the area more of a community. Ed Mayberry, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.