The Midtown Redevelopment Authority (MRA) is transforming a long-time vacant space into an urban oasis. Strategically located on Main Street adjacent to a METRORail Station, Midtown Park is destined to become the premier urban park space in the heart of Midtown Houston. Once completed, the Park will serve as a world-class destination that enhances quality of life for residents, businesses, and visitors.
The full six-acre site bounded by Main St., McGowen St., Travis St., and Anita St. – which was commonly referred to as the SuperBlock for many years – is being jointly developed through a public-private partnership between MRA and Camden Property Trust. This dynamic mixed-use project includes a public park, retail space, and public parking garage developed by Midtown Houston, and a private eight-story multifamily residential development by Camden.
Midtown Park will offer three acres of new public urban park and open space with complementary pedestrian-oriented streetscapes. The Park’s larger greenspace – located on the 2.5-acre site south of the multifamily development – will include a great lawn, a flexible pavilion, a wetland stream and trail, native landscaping, interactive water feature, playground, public art, game courts, market areas, and a dog park. A wide array of festivals, performances, markets, and other events will keep the Park exciting throughout the year. Additionally, the Park will feature a half-acre retail plaza located adjacent to McGowen St., which will include a full service restaurant, a food and beverage kiosk, and public plaza space next to the METRORail station. The Park’s underground parking garage will provide 400 spaces for public use.
Successful parks are a key component of sustainable infrastructure and a healthy vibrant quality of life. Midtown Park will act as a catalyst to attract new development and bring a new level of revitalization to an already vibrant Midtown Houston community.
In 1999, the Midtown Redevelopment Authority began working with developers to assemble a six-acre tract of land located in the heart of Midtown Houston. Construction began in 2015 and will complete in 2017.
- Reflecting Pool and Entry Plaza
- “Bayou” Landscape and Waterway
- Sloped Lawn and Prospect
- Limestone Outcrop Wall
1. Reflecting Pool and Entry Plaza
A pool of water at the southwestern entrance invites people into the Parkand provides a dramatic view of the bayou landscape and waterway. The placid water flows north and then falls over a 10’ cascading waterfall. The white noise blocks the sounds of the street, while creating a cooler microclimate temperature and habitat for birds and other city critters to find respite.
2. “Bayou” Landscape and Waterway
As part of the green stormwater infrastructure of the Park, a recirculating water system mimics the bayous and wetlands of this region, with native species including bald cypress, sweetgum and red maples. During rainy days, this bayou fills with water utilizing plants and soils to help ensure water quality before it leaves the site. Look for birds and butterflies along this ecologically-based corridor.
3. Sloped Lawn and Prospect
Anchoring the southern end of the Park is a large sloped lawn dotted with native pines. This dappled shaded landscape provides for elevated prospect views of performances at the pavilion and dramatic downtown skyline to the north. This is the perfect spot to sunbathe, picnic under the pines or view a concert. The lawn is irrigated by water recycled from a rainwater collection system.
4. Limestone Outcrop Wall
This wall cuts through the sloped lawns, allowing for a secondary entry into the Park. The space includes an interactive chalkboard to engage Park visitors to make their mark. Stones step out of the wall to act as seats for visitors and outdoor classrooms.
5. Art Wall
This gateway into the Park from the southeast showcases a 16-foot-tall art. The art wall is meant to be rotational, allowing for multiple artists to display their work and provide for new interest over time.
Organized to enjoy both views of the bayou and the great lawn, the swings are designed for a wide age group to enjoy an activity that transcends generation.
7. Great Lawn
Situated between the pavilion and the sloped landforms that will be the main gathering area for Park users to enjoy a performance, play informal games, or catch up with friends.
8. Garden Walk
Connecting to the various playground rooms is a nature garden walk. This small loop allows for the discovery, interaction and education of local plants as well as a small water runnel and waterfalls. Look for birds and butterflies along this walk.
This unique playground encourages exploration and adventure play, with a climbing sphere, sound tubes, misters, swings and interactive pipe sections. This is a hands-on experience for kids to experiment, play, and interact with the outdoor environment.
10. The Cube
As the western anchor of the pavilion, the cube is internally illuminated glass building that houses the elevator, stairwell, and informational kiosk that links the underground parking garage and Park together.
11. “Rain” Interactive Water Feature
Inspired by the rain events typical to the Bayou City, this water feature invites all ages to splash amidst jets and intermittent bursts of water to cool off from the Texas heat. A thin sheet of water on the granite paving cools off feet, while choreographed water droplets pop up and fall along with flashing lights, mimicking a rain storm.
12. Pavilion and Stage Area
The popular open-air pavilion and stage area provides a flexible space for concerts and performances, public events and exercise groups. When not in use for events, it serves as a casual gathering spot with movable seating and large fans above overlooking the Rain interactive water feature and great lawn.
13. Dog Run
Parks are for more than people. The dog run, a highly sought program by the community, is designed with both flat surfaces and sloped surfaces. This allows for a variety of dog agility to enjoy the dog run area.
14. Social Games
Enjoy an evening with friends playing bocce or washers at the social games room. This space, surrounded by gardens is also a great place to relax and enjoy the Park setting.
15. Main Street Promenade
A wide, Live Oak tree shaded promenade allows tents to be set up on weekends for a variety of markets. This is a great spot to get local vegetables and homemade treats. At night, this is a beautiful stroll under the up-lit Live Oak canopy.
As the front porch of the Midtown Park system, this entry plaza greets users as they enter the Park from the transit station.
17. Reflecting Water Feature
This circular reflecting water feature is designed to house a signature art piece. The water feature also includes small waterfalls to create a comfortable backdrop noise in the plaza.
As part of the development of the new Midtown Park, the Midtown Parks Conservancy Board of Directors commissioned an art plan, which was developed by Jessica Cusick and Rick Lowe. The plan reflects the aspirations of a broad cross-section of stakeholders, community members, and the Board, for the development of a park that is an important cultural destination. Located at the geographic center of Houston, Midtown Park will be a neighborhood jewel and a destination for all, Houstonians and visitors alike. It can be Houston’s art park. Art will play a role in the Park in a variety of ways, with temporary art projects during construction, major permanent commissions, and ongoing cultural programs, performances, and art installations to ensure that Houston’s new art park is at the heart of Houston’s vibrant art scene.
In addition to providing beautiful green space, the new park will feature a variety of amenities – walking paths, play areas, water features, an open-air stage, a plaza, dog park, marketplace, and public art – that will support an array of uses and will be enjoyed by residents and visitors time and time again.
The total cost of developing Midtown Park is $48 million. The Midtown Redevelopment Authority has already funded the purchase of the land, the construction of the new underground parking garage, and the construction of the basic elements in the park, making a total investment of $40 million. Additionally, an $8 million capital campaign has been launched to fund special features and art elements in the park that will make it a truly unique destination for visitors as well as beloved part of the Midtown resident for those living nearby. Chaired by business-civic leader and neighborhood investor and advocate Ric Campo, the campaign is reaching out to individuals, corporations, and foundations who are committed to improving the quality of life in Midtown Houston and who appreciate the special role that Midtown Park will play in the larger Houston community.
Many of the special elements and features in the Park can be named for donors and sponsors making major investments, and we welcome gifts and contributions of every size as we bring this extraordinary amenity to life.
For more information about ways you can support the campaign, please email Kimberly Sterling.
For more information about Midtown Park, its amenities, art, events, etc. please complete the below form and we’ll be in touch shortly. Thanks for your interest!