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THE WOODLANDS, TX-The Woodlands is adding a 225,000-sf shopping center and 27 acres of urban living to the landscape around the Woodlands Waterway, a 1.25-mile, mixed-use water feature and transportation corridor in the community’s Town Center.

Michael Richmond, president and CEO of The Woodlands Operating Co. LP, tells GlobeSt.com the additions in conjunction with existing office developments and impending convention center and hotel are aimed at making the Waterway a “true town center.”

The Shops at Six Pines will be situated on 13.4 acres at Six Pines Drive and feature upscale retailers including home and gift shops, specialty stores and high-end restaurants. Construction on The Shops at Six Pines will begin by year’s end.

For the urban living options, the 27-acre parcel located between Six Pines Drive and Grogan’s Mill Road, running along the waterway’s southern bank, is a master-planned, for-sale undertaking of townhomes, lofts and high-rise units. Additionally an upscale, mid-rise rental community is planned for development between Six Pines and Woodloch Forest Drive. This project will consist of 1,500 units that will be developed in phases starting with 320 units overlooking The Waterway.

Eric Wojner, Woodlands’ vice president of the commercial division, says, “We are currently negotiating with several prominent developers who specialize in either for-sale or for-rent urban living products. Our goal is to provide a community of high-density housing that will create the essence of ‘downtown living’ in the heart of The Woodlands, within walking distance of shopping, dining, entertainment, and public spaces.” Development partners and final designs should be in hand by year’s end as well, he says.

Wojner says they have been working on the project for about six months and have lots of interest. The final number of units eventually to be built will be driven by the market.

The Waterway will feature pathways, transit ways and boat stops for the planned pedestrian, trolley and water taxi transit. The Woodlands believes the transportation plan will cut more than seven million vehicle trips annually in the 27,000-acre community. “We expect that people visiting Town Center will park their cars and then travel through our ‘downtown’ on foot, by boat, or by trolley,” says Richmond.

The outcome of the proposals is to make the Town Center into a 24-hour destination. The Waterway’s grand opening is planned for fall 2002.

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