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dgreco

METRO buys land to develop

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Metro is buying two blocks along its light-rail line in Midtown from a developer the agency expects will buy the property back and build transit-friendly residential and business space.

In a transaction unprecedented in the agency's history, the Metropolitan Transit Authority board voted March 22 to spend $7.2 million for the blocks bounded by Main, Holman, Travis and Winbern, next to the Ensemble station of Metro's light rail Red line.

The idea is to sell the tract back to developer Robert H. Schultz of RHS Interests for at least the same price after Schultz's partnership is ready to build. Schultz approached Metro with the proposal, he and Metro said.

Agency spokeswoman Raequel Roberts said Metro knows of no other instances in which a transit agency has bought land to hold and sell to a private company for what is known as transit-oriented development.

THE DEAL

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I'm familiar with this block, and I'm pretty sure there used to be a flophouse there that scared the hell out of me. Although, I'm sure it's been gone for years as Midtown has become much more desirable in the past few.

Transit-oriented development sometimes has to be nudged along by public sector. Other cities have done this, and it's worked. Otherwise, Houston will just continue to see those yuppie barns that they've been putting up in Midtown for years.

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