Brooklyn on the Bayou?

Developer wants to create a hipster haven in Houston’s East End

A photo illustration of a rendering of The Plant in Houston superimposed over the Brooklyn Bridge (Concept Neighborhood, iStock)
A photo illustration of a rendering of The Plant in Houston superimposed over the Brooklyn Bridge (Concept Neighborhood, iStock)


A group of hipster entrepreneurs wants to transform a block of historical warehouses in Houston’s East End into a walkable boutique neighborhood modeled after Brooklyn. 

Their firm, Concept Neighborhood, has plans to convert a four-acre warehouse complex into a “socially conscious” development filled with hyperlocal businesses, boutique retail, restaurants and small office spaces, according to the Houston Chronicle. 

“It will be like Brooklyn in the South,” Jeff Kaplan, a principal of Concept Neighborhood, told the paper. 

The block of 80-year-old warehouses around 201 Roberts Street once housed the oil and gas equipment manufacturer W-K-M, and the property’s historic designation will allow the developers to tap into potentially $8 million worth in tax credits over several years, the company said. Construction at the 145,000-square-foot space is expected to start later this year. 

Dating all the way back to the 18th and 19th centuries, the East End was an industrial center based around Houston’s ship channel, but it has now become one of the most rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods in Texas.

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Concept Neighborhood aims to return the area to its roots, “with entrepreneurs, artists and makers converting turn of the century warehouses into coworking spaces, coffee roasteries and design labs,” according to the firm’s website. 

A few blocks away from the new site is another Concept Neighborhood project, The Plant, an adaptive reuse project that opened in 2020. The 20,000 square-foot mixed-use development on Harrisburg Boulevard is just 1.5 miles east of downtown and resembles a Williamsburg-esque community, according to the Chronicle, filled with latte-slinging baristas and boutique shops stocked with locally sourced goods, and ringing with ambient hip hop. 

If completed, the two projects would transform 16 square miles of the East End neighborhood. Both projects aim to attract the urban professionals that have been flocking to the Houston area.

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[Houston Chronicle] — Maddy Sperling


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