Houston Energy Corridor facts for kids
|Business district of Greater Houston|
Westlake Park, which contains the BP Americas headquarters
|• Estimate (2016)||22,034|
The Energy Corridor is a business district in Greater Houston, Texas, located on the west side of the metropolitan area between Beltway 8 and the Grand Parkway. The district straddles a 7-mile (11 km) stretch of Interstate 10 (the Katy Freeway) from Kirkwood Road westward to Barker Cypress Road and extends south along Eldridge Parkway to Briar Forest Drive. Parts of the district overlap with the Memorial area of Houston.
Many energy sector companies have major operations in the Energy Corridor, including BP America, Citgo, ConocoPhillips, and Shell Oil Company. Non-energy firms also have a presence; Sysco and Gulf States Toyota Distributors are both headquartered in the district. The Energy Corridor contains over 26 million square feet (2,400,000 m2) of office space, with an employment capacity of over 105,000.
Over 26,000 acres (41 sq mi; 110 km2) of urban park area borders the Energy Corridor, including George Bush Park and Bear Creek Pioneers Park. These parks are located within Barker Reservoir and Addicks Reservoir, respectively, which comprise a major flood control system for Buffalo Bayou.
Energy industry corporations began moving to west Houston in the 1970s, seeking land for suburban office campuses and proximity to new housing developments.
Browning-Ferris Industries (BFI) had its headquarters in the district until its acquisition by Allied Waste in 2000.
In 2001, the Texas Legislature created the 1,700-acre (2.7 sq mi) Energy Corridor Management District. In Texas, management districts are special government entities empowered to levy commercial taxes within their boundaries to support investments in infrastructure, urban planning, district branding and advertising, and public safety. Since then, the district has been actively involved in the creation of new infrastructure in the area, including road widening and the addition of bicycle lanes and sidewalks, and operates an extensive tree-planting and beautification program.
Between 2001 and 2013, the district more than tripled its total property value, from $600 million to over $2 billion. The amount of new office space added to the Energy Corridor between 2005 and 2015 is equivalent to the amount added during the preceding three decades. However, the 2010s oil glut put a damper on this growth, causing office and apartment vacancy rates in the area to rise significantly. Despite this slowdown, the district saw a significant increase in hospital construction during the mid-2010s, including new facilities for Texas Children's Hospital, Houston Methodist Hospital, and the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.
The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Texas (METRO) provides public transportation to the area. Line 75, originally known as the Energy Corridor Connector, operates during weekdays. Commuters from Downtown Houston and Midtown Houston can connect to the 75 connector via 228 Addicks and 229 Kingsland/Addicks through the Addicks Park and Ride. The 75 connector also connects with routes along Westheimer Road and Memorial Drive. In January 2011, the name of the route was changed to 75 Eldridge Crosstown, and the southern terminus of the line was extended to Mission Bend Park and Ride, enabling more convenient connections with the Westchase district and the New Chinatown area.
Two general aviation airports serve the Energy Corridor: West Houston Airport, near Addicks Reservoir, and Houston Executive Airport in unincorporated Waller County. The latter was built to serve employees of firms in the Energy Corridor.
Parks and recreation
The Energy Corridor is intersected by Terry Hershey Park, a linear park which runs east to west along Buffalo Bayou from Beltway 8 to Barker Reservoir. The district is connected to a wider trail system by trailheads at the intersection of Eldridge and Enclave and at Mayde Creek as it passes under Interstate 10. These trails connect the district to George Bush Park to the southwest.
Ray Miller Park, a neighborhood park, is located at the southern end of the district on Eldridge Parkway.
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Houston Energy Corridor Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.