“Where is everyone, this is downtown Houston, right?”
When most people envision living in Downtown, they picture a bustling metropolis, packed with coffee shops and restaurants, and people walking around the streets of the city under the shadow of skyscrapers and urban lofts. Take a walk around Downtown Houston and you will see a very different reality. The sidewalks of the city are speckled with a few people in business suits, walking from their office, and the restaurants and shops are all in a few centrally-located areas. As a Realtor, one of the most common questions we are asked when showing clients around Downtown is “where are all the people?”
The answer to this question is simple, but throws a lot of Houston visitors for a loop. “They are in the tunnels” we always tell them. Downtown Houston has an extensive set of underground tunnels that connects the buildings and contains everything from hair salons to restaurants–but you have to head below to access them. Given Houston’s heat and humidity–the tunnels are a great solution to keeping everyone cool, but what happens at the end of the business day when everything closes? In years past, everything shut down as the business day ended and everyone drove home to the suburbs.
This was a dilemma for years for those urban-dwellers who dreamt of living in a Downtown Houston loft (or for those working in Downtown and dreaded the long commute home). On one hand you can live in a sleek urban loft, but on the other you had to get in the car to grab a late night cup of coffee. As the demand for a walkable, urban lifestyle has increased, the city of Houston has been working to create a downtown area that can be utilized for business by day, and that offers unique dining, and entertainment by night.
Downtown Houston has Evolved …
Downtown Houston boasts one of the finest Theater Districts in the US, where one can see the Ballet, Symphony, or a plethora of traveling Broadway shows. The dining in Downtown has always been first class, but there is an emergence of options, many which keep their doors open late into the night. Boutique shops, clothing stores, lounges, wine bars, and parks have all sprouted up around town. Movie screenings, sporting events, parades and concerts keep Downtown buzzing all night. In 2013, it is common to see young professionals heading into downtown in the evening for social activities, and developers are taking notice. As I write, there are multiple residential developments underway to meet the rising demand of urban living.
The dream of living Downtown has finally become a reality. Whether you are looking for an industrial loft to rent or a sleek high rise to purchase, though you still won’t get the same downtown-lifestyle a San Franciso or Manhattan offers. This is Houston, things are different.