As the Texas economy continues to evolve as people emerge from their pandemic cocoons, several trends have taken hold in the ever-dynamic Houston commercial real estate market.
The Houston Chronicle reports many of these developments were already in progress when the pandemic struck. The newspaper identified these five trends.
Crowds have returned to downtown Houston for dining, baseball games, concerts and other pursuits. But about 170,000 downtown workers have not come back, at least full-time, mainly due to remote work schedules. This dramatic shift has companies rethinking how to use space more efficiently as many large office buildings remain partially or mostly vacant.
The cost of buying a home has priced many families and individuals out of the market. Many investors have already stepped in to purchase single-family homes for rentals. Others are constructing apartment buildings and rental communities to address the shortfall in affordable housing.
Some developers are emphasizing sustainability to reduce emissions for their properties. The Chronicle reports the 1550 on the Green tower in downtown Houston will be the greenest office building in the state when completed in 2024. Houston-based real estate company Hines has an ambitious goal of net-zero carbon emissions at all of its properties, totaling roughly 27 million square feet in the city.
Retrofitting older properties
Developers are also repurposing older and often empty office buildings for new uses. Many of these projects also seek to reduce the effects of climate change. These efforts include M-K-T in The Heights, The Post downtown and proposed redevelopment in the East End of historic warehouses.
Interest is growing for biomedical research facilities in Texas. Some developers believe the life sciences sector is ready for significant growth. Two larger local projects include Hines’ Levit Green – a 53-acre development, and TMC3 – a 37-acre biomedical campus for the Texas Medical Center.
Despite dramatic shifts in the workforce and economic challenges facing all sectors of the economy, these trends show Houston’s commercial real estate industry is already restructuring to meet the challenges of the post-pandemic era.