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Midway CEO shares updates on East River project, future H-E-B stores

Houston Business Journal | 08.07.2017

Jonathan Brinsden, CEO of Houston-based Midway, shared some of the development company's plans as the keynote speaker at a Commercial Real Estate Network luncheon on Aug. 4.

Midway bought a 136-acre property near east downtown at 4100 Clinton Drive in July 2016. The site used to belong to Houston-based KBR and is bordered by little over a mile of the Buffalo Bayou. Brinsden said Midway has underwritten the project, dubbed East River, as a development that'll take 20 years to fully realize.

East River will be developed in phases, Brinsden said. Phase I will include retail, entertainment, office, multifamily, single-family homes and potentially a grocery component. It'll sit on the east side of the property, and future phases will work their way westward.

"To think about it for scale, we can put four CityCentres on that site, and that density or greater is the density we’ll develop to," Brinsden said.

The East River's future phases will work westward as TxDOT's planned highway improvements are completed. Brinsden said Midway's done a complete master-plan on the project and is in the midst of designing Phase I.

"The idea is that each phase could be its own fully, self-contained mixed-use project," Brinsden said. "We’ll work our way through it over time."

Midway is known for developing CityCentre but the company has a robust portfolio of mixed-use developments. Notably, it's working on Buffalo Heights, an H-E-B-anchored mixed-use at the intersection of South Heights Boulevard and Washington Avenue.

To that end, Brinsden said Midway is still working with H-E-B on opening more urban storefronts throughout Houston. H-E-B's storefront in Buffalo Heights will be 90,000 square feet, but future stores in the city's urban core will likely be 60,000 square feet, he said.

"It's a model we hope to replicate," he said of the Buffalo Heights' H-E-B store.

At the beginning of 2017, Midway hired David Hightower, a longtime force in Houston's commercial real estate industry, to lead the company's land acquisition efforts. At the time, he told the Houston Business Journal that Midway was mulling land deals between 20 acres and 2,000 acres.

The company is also working on Memorial Green, a 14-acre luxury mixed-use district at 12601 Memorial Drive.