Houston’s New Work, Play and Fitness Epicenter — Inside the Dramatic Reinvention of GreenStreet
These Aren't Your Parents' Offices
With an emphasis on entrepreneurs and the addition of one of the nation’s premier healthy living innovators, Houston’s GreenStreet is being reinvented for a post-COVID 21st century world. This is a new kind of lifestyle center with a sprawling Life Time fitness complex coming that will merge fitness and work like no other locale in downtown. Add in the 2021 arrival of a unique national brand steakhouse and you have a dynamic spot that’s set to grow right along with Houston’s nearby burgeoning Innovation Corridor.
The mixed-use complex, which encompasses four city blocks in downtown Houston, has been reimagined as a hub for creativity and culture, with nearly 36,000 square feet of individual coworking spaces and 200,ooo square feet of class A office space aimed at smaller companies. A new 73,000-square-foot Life Time Athletic resort with an enormous fitness area featuring cutting-edge exercise equipment, studio classes, locker rooms with deluxe amenities, spa, salon and cafe will anchor one end of the project while the legendary House of Blues will remain a prime entertainment option on the other end.
Office space in the 11-story tower is available for lease now while the coworking spaces and fitness center are scheduled to open in late spring. The project is already attracting creatives like 9thWonder, a global marketing agency that leased approximately 20,000 square feet for its Houston flagship office.
While the revamp was completed amidst COVID-19 crisis last year, “We knew the same pieces we had going into this are going to play well in this new environment,” says Chris Seckinger, Vice President, Investment + Development for Midway, which is developing the complex. “We have a low density project with immediate accessibility to 0utdoors and highly flexible space.
“That’s exactly what users are going to be looking for when they’re going back to the office.”
The complex, which is bisected by a linear garden with an abundance of outdoor pedestrian areas, recently received a top rating from Fitwel, the world’s leading certification system for buildings that support health and well-being.
“We think that’s really important looking forward to the way that people are going to be trying to get back to work. They want to feel healthy and safe in their environments and we think this award recognizes Midway’s commitment to that,” Seckinger says.
For Midway, GreenStreet represents a true merging of business and lifestyle. This is a complete work, dine, stay and play center rather than just a place to punch a time clock.
“Heath and wellness is one of those trends that hasn’t just been created by COVID,” Midway CEO Jonathan Brinsden says. “It’s a trend that’s been important to people, and we have also believed it’s a really important amenity. A lot of office owners will build a gym that doesn’t fully address the more holistic health and wellness needs.
“With a tenant’s that is a more strategic partner like Life Time, there are fitness classes, there are health and wellness classes, there is healthy food to eat. It’s a much broader offering process.”
With GreenStreet, it is a true center.
Much of the revamped space is connected by a new lobby in GreenStreet’s 11-story tower that will serve as the center’s networking hub. The $7 million lobby renovation features an industrial look, with concrete walls, large windows, burnished wood stairs linking the first three floors, interactive art installations, colorful lounge areas that will serve as gathering spots for tenants and their guests, and complete concierge service.
The tower offices feature 15-foot-ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, numerous conference rooms, huddle rooms and telephone rooms on each floor, and move-in ready spaces that can be configured according to a tenant’s needs. This is one of those office spaces that will make people more excited to work for a company. When you’re in these offices, you know you’re not lacking any modern perks.
“From an office perspective, you get everything you need,” Seckinger says. “If you’re a one floor or two floor office user, you can be a big fish in a small pond and you won’t get lost. It’s one of the most unique projects in downtown.”
Entrepreneurs will have the opportunity for premier coworking spaces at GreenStreet. State of the art business centers with fully equipped office spaces, including Life Time Work offers 35,000 square feet of innovative space with access to its nearby world-class athletic center.
Since its founding in 1992 with one fitness center in Minnesota, Life Time has grown into a lifestyle leader with 151 destinations in 41 major markets across the United State and Canada. In recent years, it has expanded into coworking spaces (Life Time Work), short term accommodations (Life Time Stay), and luxury apartments (Life Time Living). Soon, you could even stay in a Life Time hotel.
“This combination of live/work/play and stay, both physically and digitally, is way more relevant to post-COVID than it was before. People can work a lot more time in extended places,” says Life Time founder, chairman and CEO Bahram Akradi. “There is a magic that Life Time can bring with this combination of the best athletic experiences, the best exercise experiences, the best work experiences, and the best resort experiences.
“Our focus is on the customer who wants the best product, and we just focus on giving them that.”
Akradi first became involved in the Houston real estate market during the height of the banking crisis in 2008, when forward-thinking Midway officials convinced him to launch a large Life Time fitness center in CITYCENTRE, which opened in 2009. A decade later Akradi debuted the company’s new concept, Life Time Work, at the trendsetting West Houston mixed-use project to great success. So when Midway Chairman Brad Freels asked him to join the reimagined GreenStreet, Akradi says he eagerly joined in.
“Despite the challenges of 2008-2009, Brad and his team delivered the vision (of CITYCENTRE) in a way you could never imagine in terms of quality and execution and how well that project worked for everybody. I trust him and I wanted to help him turn (GreenStreet) into that next century vision,” Akradi says.
The New Work + Play Mix
Akradi believes some companies will not be able to adapt to the new realities of a post-COVID world, but he is convinced that the mix of work and play in a healthy living environment will lure patrons from their homes.
“Nothing is going to replace an amazing in-person experience,” he says. “I give this example to people all the time. You may have the most amazing espresso machine or coffee machine and the best organic coffee, but that’s not going to keep you from going to Starbucks.”
“The reality is sometimes you go to Starbucks and sometimes you make your own coffee.”
That’s why in addition to creating state-of-the-art gathering places, Life Time offers Apple Fitness+ as part of its memberships and is creating its own series of digital classes for people who sometimes want to exercise at home or in their hotel while traveling to other cities when they don’t feel like going to a gym.
“People say retail is dead, but they’re wrong,” Akradi says. Look at lululemon. Look at Apple. Those retailers who are creating the best experiences are killing it. Those who have been doing the same thing for 30 years are all going belly up.”
GreenStreet is one Houston center that is looking to the future.