Learn More About Greenway Plaza


Greenway Plaza is a business district that is located within the Interstate 610 loop in southwestern Houston, Texas. Greenway Plaza is considered the first example of a mixed-use development in the United States. It is known for its consistent modernist architectural style and expansive green spaces. In this article, we will learn more about the history of Greenway Plaza.


The chairperson of the Century Development Corporation, Kenneth L. Schnitzer, is the one who envisioned Greenway Plaza as the first mixed-use development in Houston. That is why Century Development Corporation decided to take realtors from outlying towns in Houston and convinced them to purchase individual parcels for a low price while trying to be discreet. However, a homeowner found out about the plan and asked the developers to buy his land for $350,000, which is a hefty amount of money for a small house during that time. The company had no choice but to pay so that they can secure the land that the house sat on.

Kenneth L. Schnitzer decided to ask the architectural firm of Lloyd, Morgan, and Jones to help him design most of the buildings in Greenway Plaza. Eventually, the greater area of the location adopted the name; “Greenway Plaza” is why today, it is a recognized submarket that has millions of square feet of office space, countless retail establishments, and thousands of apartments.

The grand opening of Greenway Plaza took place, and it is where Schnitzer said that the place would become Houston’s “second downtown.” A Houston Press reporter even noted that the concept for Greenway Plaza made it an original “Edge city.” During the late 1960s, Greenway Plaza was home to leading businesses, such as Union Carbide, Eastern Airlines, Travelers Insurance, Delta Airlines, Conoco, and Dresser Industries.

That same decade, the M.W. Kellogg company moved its headquarters to New York to Greenway Plaza. Kellogg occupied about half of 3 Greenway Plaza, and it hired about 600 employees. As the energy industry started to expand, so is the Kellogg company, which is why the company occupied the whole 3 Greenway Plaza and space in an adjacent building.

In 2003, the Houston Rockets decided to move out of the Compaq Center, that is why the place was later renovated as the Lakewood Church Central Campus. Some people thought that this change made Greenway Plaza a “sleepy” place. This was supported by the lack of activities that you can do here, especially during nighttime. A reporter of the Houston Chronicle even said that Greenway Plaza felt like downtown Houston did 20 years ago.

However, over the years, Greenway Plaza started to develop more and more as companies such as Internet America, Occidental Petroleum, Cousins Properties, Boardwalk Pipeline Partners, FlightAware, Amerigroup, and Direct Energy decided to open and vacate Greenway Plaza. It now covers 4.4 million square feet of land with 10 office buildings, several retail stores, condominiums, hotels, and a fitness and tennis club.

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