What’s Next for Houston’s Downtown Business District?
August 31, 2017 | Beth Glavosek | Blue Vault
As the nation witnesses the historic and catastrophic flooding in the city of Houston, one question on the minds of many is, “What will it take to recover and rebuild?”
According to the Houston Downtown Management District (HDMD), the city’s downtown area is headquarters to several prominent firms, including nine Fortune 500 companies, as well as more than 3,000 businesses housed in over 50 million square feet of office space. Houston’s downtown is one of the 10 largest CBDs in the nation with 150,000 people employed there.
While Hurricane Harvey created conditions that are impossible to fully prepare for, fortunately, and not surprisingly, it appears that the city has kept a detailed and current emergency response plan in place for quite some time. The plan, updated in April 2017, details specific steps for property managers and building owners to take in the event of a rapidly evolving storm and flooding.
A representative for HDMD issued a statement on August 30 saying, ”Over the next days, weeks and months, we will be working with our Downtown stakeholders to support the recovery of our great City. Overall, Downtown has fared well and is stable. While conditions are improving, we realize that many areas of Houston still have high water and/or no power.”
From a tactical standpoint, after the rain diminishes, key personnel will be expected to survey property damage and report their findings immediately to the HDMD, even if there is no damage. The HDMD will continue to issue advisories of roadway conditions for employees. Once properties are secured from hazards like falling glass and impassable sidewalks, and adequate water pressure and power are available, property managers can immediately proceed with repair work to be done in off-peak hours. Permits to ensure compliance with city standards are mandatory.
In future blog posts, we’ll look at disaster preparedness best practices for commercial property owners, as well as information that investors in commercial real estate might want to know when disaster strikes.
Ways to Help
Our hearts go out to our fellow citizens in the great state of Texas. We are praying for them! Donations to help with their relief and recovery may be made at one of the following: