Houston Ranks Among Leading Life Sciences Markets: CBRE Report

Aided by a high percentage of PhDs and a low cost of living, Houston ranks No. 13 in a new analysis of the nation’s top 25 life sciences markets from real estate firm CBRE.

The report sheds light on the growth of life sciences hubs beyond the traditional coastal markets such as Boston and San Diego. Houston is getting a boost from the growing Texas Medical Center and an influx of venture capital earmarked for life sciences research.

Job growth in life sciences professions – from bioengineers and biochemists to microbiologists and data scientists – expanded by 79% over the last two decades to roughly 500,000. In comparison, the overall U.S. job growth rate in that span was 8%, according to CBRE. That surge in life sciences jobs boosted mainstay markets such as Boston and San Francisco as well as emerging hubs including Nashville, Salt Lake City and Houston.

The report suggests that Houston’s life sciences labor market offers an attractive combination of affordability and a particularly strong PhD talent pool. Major research universities and medical institutions such as the UT School of Public Health and Baylor College of Medicine boosted the city’s ranking ahead of other Texas markets in CBRE’s analysis. Click to read more at www.houston.org.

Bill McKeon: Investing in Education Key to Advancing Houston’s Life Sciences Ecosystem

As industry leaders work to advance Houston’s life sciences ecosystem, investing in education will be critical to its success, according to Bill McKeon, President and CEO of the Texas Medical Center.

McKeon discussed how Houston has positioned itself as the “Third Coast” for life sciences and how leaders are working to strengthen the region’s ecosystem during the latest installment of the Partnership’s Why Houston webinar series.

“It took Boston 20 years to establish what they have today,” McKeon said as he discussed the progress on the construction of TMC3. The transformational research hub will serve as a life sciences cluster for leading researchers and industry experts.

McKeon said TMC3 project leaders have spent time in Boston to learn about its life sciences hub and learn from their initial mistakes. One of the takeaways was to invest in retail and green space from inception, McKeon said.

“We’re putting hundreds and millions of dollars into those parks, into our retail where anyone in economics would say, ‘Don’t do that. You’re not going to see the return. You’re going to lose it.’ It’s about investing in the community just like city has made such great investments in our parks through our great philanthropy,” McKeon said. Click to read more at www.houston.org.

Before Redeveloping Third Ward Staple Spanish Village, Owner Taps New Platform for Community Input

Next to the 69-year-old Spanish Village Restaurant, which has long greeted people driving down Almeda Road, a sign in bold lettering asks “What should go here?” Beside it, a giant QR code directs interested passersby to a page on a website called Localist, where dozens of people have weighed in.

“Cool y’all are asking,” said one. “Whatever y’all do, make sure it features businesses from diverse faces.”

“A 24-hour food option would be the most amazing thing ever!” said another.

The signs have popped up throughout the city in recent months, the work of two Houstonians who wanted to give communities a way to weigh in on what properties should be used for. They hope Localist, a project they’ve funded themselves, will give people a say in how investment reshapes their neighborhoods — something especially important in a city where the planning process does not require public input and during a time when investment is surging in commercial real estate.

On HoustonChronicle.com: Why a Third Ward property owner is saying no to townhomes. Click to read more at www.houstonchronicle.com.

Whole Foods-anchored Center in West U Sells for $33.5M in a Sign of Houston’s Hot Retail Market

A bustling Whole-Foods-anchored shopping complex has traded hands near West University Place and Bellaire as Houston’s retail property market continues to attract out-of-state investors.

New York-based real estate investment trust Brixmor purchased West U Marketplace, a 60,000 square-foot open-air plaza at 4004-4060 Bellaire Blvd, about 8 miles west of downtown Houston.

Brixmor paid $33.5 million for the complex, according to a May 2 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The deal closed April 19, according to JLL, which represented the seller, Camden Securities Company, in the deal.

The trophy property is within the dense, wealthy neighborhoods of Bellaire and West University place across the street from one of Brixmor’s existing shopping centers, Braes Heights. Click to read more at www.houstonchronicle.com.

VLK Architects and PBTISD Break Ground on a New 2nd through 5th Grade Campus

(Pecos, Texas) – On May 18, 2022, VLK Architects joined Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD to break ground on the construction of a new elementary campus. This is the second elementary school VLK designed for the district as a part of the May 2021 bond.

“VLK feels very fortunate for the partnership that we have established with Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD and their community as they break ground on their second elementary school,” said Monika Castillo, Principal of VLK Architects. “We understand the legacy these projects will bring to the students and staff and are excited to be a part of it.”

During the ceremony, PBTISD Superintendent Brent Jaco spoke about the collaborative process behind the design of this new facility that started last June.

“We have worked to ensure district stakeholders had a voice in the design of the new schools and facilities. Community members, parents, teachers, campus administrators, and even students have been involved beginning almost a year ago.”

The unique design process, called VLK | LAUNCH®, resulted in a 133,038sf facility with a two-story library at the heart of the campus featuring teaching spaces and reading nooks on each level. The school will also include a music room with direct access to a performance stage, STREAM (Science, Technology, Reading, English, Arts, Math) and science labs with access to an outdoor patio and science balcony, and an art room with a kiln.

The campus is scheduled to open its doors to students in fall 2023.

MetroNational Unveils Plans for Memorial Town Square

MetroNational revealed plans for Memorial Town Square, a 27-acre, urban infill development comprised of a collection of unique boutiques and iconic brands, locally curated culinary collections and elevated health and wellness services. Located at Barryknoll Lane and Gessner Road, the next-level destination, is part of the holistic development strategy and overall vibrant transformation to take place across Memorial City’s 300 acres including the creation of new multi-family residential units, an office tower, creative office and co-working spaces, and the reimagining of the 1.7 million-square-foot Memorial City Mall. As part of the redevelopment of the 27 acres, the 190,000 square-feet of retail in Memorial Town Square will deliver first with construction to begin in 2023 and completion slated for 2025.

Elevating the Experience
Inspired by the aspirations of the community, Memorial Town Square is envisioned to be intimate, charming and timeless as well as improve the way people come together. With bespoke walkable streetscapes, lush landscape and a pristine town square, Memorial Town Square will reinvent the communal experience and reflect the unique heritage and spirit of Houston — a place where modern Texas-style, easy elegance and casual luxury combine into something that truly feels like part of the fabric of the 77024 neighborhood.

Collective Vision
MetroNational has assembled a world-class design and retail leasing team to include:

Gensler, design architect; Office of James Burnett (OJB), landscape architect; RSM Design, environmental graphics and wayfinding; RUE, leasing consultant and Pacific Retail Capital Partners, development consultant.

MetroNational and Gensler spent several years collaborating with the community, to gather input on desired amenities and guide the master plan’s design. Most notably, the 77024 neighbors felt a paradigm shift in how they wanted to enjoy their lives.

Central to all design efforts was the desire to resonate and align with the footprint set by the Memorial community.

Highly Curated Shopping, Dining and Lifestyle Offerings
The retail landscape is being designed to feature the most coveted names in local and international food and lifestyle retail, with plans to include 40+ aspirational and emerging brands that are both iconic and new to the marketplace. Approximately 35% of the project will be food and beverage, from chef-driven restaurants to fast casual food experiences, all with al fresco dining. To enhance the consumer experience, resort-style hospitality and operational standards will include valet and convenient parking, electric car charging stations, private outing and corporate event planning, car washing and rentals including stroller and baggage, wheelchairs, umbrellas and cell phone chargers. Additionally, MetroNational will implement the latest technology to enhance mobility.

Centered around expansive green space, Memorial Town Square will offer a combination of intimate, sophisticated gathering spaces intentionally crafted for lively and low-key get-togethers. Guests and residents of Memorial’s affluent and expansive community will be able to enjoy thoughtful art, entertainment, and experiential events within a relaxed yet vibrant communal and cultural hub.