Beloved Waterfront Development Has Staying Power

How Kings Harbor Became a Vital Community Hub for Kingswood

James Brock

April 2021

It’s a waterfront destination that offers so much, from welcoming and stylish residences, premier office spaces, excellent restaurants, and unique shops.

Its exclusive location — on Lake Houston — affords captivating views that attract visitors from far and wide, people in the know who demand nothing but the best. They come to explore, to work, to play, to exercise, and to live.

Kings Harbor is the place to go, and this Midway mixed-use development is more than special. Just ask Tony Raffa, who found it the perfect place to open Raffa’s Waterfront Grill 13 years ago, and finds it perfect still.

“When Midway approached us, it was a no-brainer,” Raffa says. “Kingwood residents had waited for years for that land to be developed. My wife Leslie and I knew that we had to be a part of Kings Harbor.

”Raffa, whose restaurant is a popular meeting place in the 20-acre commercial component of the development, is but one example of King Harbor’s draw. Simply put, this is a center that is still a vital hub of the Kingwood community and the surrounding areas — both for the people who spend time and money visiting the shops and restaurants there, and for the entrepreneurs and owners who have businesses there. Kings Harbor has staying power.

“We were the first restaurant to sign and open,” Raffa says. “We have battled through bad economies, Hurricane Ike closure, several floods, Hurricane Harvey, the recent freeze, and, of course, the COVID challenges that all businesses had to deal with.”

“We have battled through bad economies, Hurricane Ike closure, several floods, Hurricane Harvey, the recent freeze, and, of course, the COVID challenges that all businesses had to deal with.”

Photo Credit: Shannon O'hara

Another draw for Raffa, and his fellow business owners, is the personal touch that Midway’s team has cultivated and maintained at Kings Harbor.

“It has a uniqueness, and that includes small, privately-opened proprietorships, and great camaraderie,” he says. Raffa’s fellow Kings Harbor businesses include Zammitti’s Italian Ristorante, The Berry Bar, Pretty Little Things and  Chimichurri’s to name but a few. To Raffa, they’re not competing as much as they’re working together to help make this community hub a special place.

That personal touch and camaraderie extends to the surrounding population as well. Kings Harbor has become integral to the Kingwood area, and the people who live there have rallied around the development’s shopping, restaurant, and entertainment establishments that have become part of their lives. “We were very thankful to see the continued love and support for Kings Harbor after Hurricane Harvey and we were very proud to help the majority of our tenants return after the damage was repaired,” says Trevor Janecek, an investment manager at Midway.

“Kings Harbor has seen a variety of success from the long tenancy of many of its tenants— (Raffa’s, Orion Engineered Carbons, Joseph Chris Partners, BRW Architects, Sharky’s, Zammitti’s, and Chimichurri’s have all been here since before 2010)—  as well as its cultivation of events designed to bring in the larger community,” Janecek notes. “The main part of Kings Harbor encompasses 75,000 square feet and 6.3 acres, but the overall district spans more than 55 acres.”

Photo Credit: Shannon O'hara

The COVID-19 pandemic, as would be expected, has affected Kings Harbor like everywhere else, but Janecek says that the development still is 94 percent leased. An impressive number in almost any business climate

.“Tenants have continued to be great to work with through the pandemic,” he says. “Due to the project’s suburban locations, most restaurants saw a quicker return to normal revenue numbers than restaurants in more urban locations.

”Midway spearheaded many of the developments that have changed how people live and work in the greater Houston area — including CITYCENTRE, Kirby Grove, Memorial Green, and the ambitious East River mega-project — and Kings Harbor is a key part of the real estate development and investment company’s past and future. It’s here to stay. To continue to evolve. And be a vital part of the entire area.

Just ask Tony Raffa. He’ll be waiting for you at his restaurant, smile on his face and menu in hand.