A Smaller Downtown

Developers once dreamed that downtown Houston would house 20,000 residents by 2025. But the Houston Chronicle and the Houston Business Journal recently reported that only about 4,500 people live in the city core.

Why is this? Houston has long had a trend towards outward sprawl and single-family homes. However, in the last decade, high-rise and apartment living has seen a big upswing, and $4 billion has been devoted to improving Houston downtown. With new parks, hotels, stadiums, Discovery Green, and the rail system, the area is prime for development. And indeed, plenty of high-rises were planned before the recession, which has put somewhat of a damper on construction.

Another more reassuring reason for downtown’s slow growth is the more rapid growth of urban, community-centered neighborhoods nearby. There are plenty of options for urban living in Houston, and some are adjacent to the city center. “Midtown and EaDo, just east of downtown, have added several thousand residents in the past decade. They are close to downtown, but land costs – and apartment rents – are lower,” reports the Houston Chronicle. Bob Eury, executive director of the Houston Downtown Management District, said in the Chronicle article that as many as 54,000 people live within a two-mile radius of downtown, and he expects that to grow.

There are dozens of reasons to consider living downtown, especially if you work there. But as Houston is still a city where you often need your car, all the surrounding neighborhoods are worth considering: the Museum District, Midtown, Montrose, and the Heights, to name a few. Regardless, keep your eye on downtown as it grows and develops, and consider becoming a part of this burgeoning urban center with listings like the Capitol Lofts.

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