The start of construction is nearing on a pedestrian bridge and permanent performance stage at Waterway Square. The two structures are being built in conjunction with a new Westin hotel already under construction along Waterway Square Place. Each of the projects is expected to be complete by the first quarter of 2016.

The bridge will connect Waterway Square and the south side of The Woodlands Waterway, making it the sole pedestrian-only bridge spanning the Waterway. It will feature two elevators, one on each side of the Waterway, while the performance stage will have permanent lighting features and a sound system.

“[The pedestrian bridge] breaks up the walking distance from Woodloch Court to Waterway Avenue and provides a direct connection to future development,” said Robert Heineman, vice president of planning for The Woodlands Development Company. “Waterway Square is a townwide amenity, and extending connections to expand those [amenities] into Town Center is really beneficial to Town Center itself.”

The bridge project is part of an ongoing partnership between the Development Company and The Woodlands Township under its Comprehensive Services Agreement Plan. Under the plan, the township and the Development Company share the costs of some public improvement projects.

“Through the years, the township and the Development Company have shared costs of development of public projects, parks, pathways— things that are developed for the general public,” said Don Norrell, president of the township. “Then they are turned over to the township for maintenance and operation.”

The cost of the pedestrian bridge and the performance stage is $5.8 million, which the township and the Development Company are splitting. The stage will host a variety of entertainment acts, such as performers who play The Woodlands’ “Live at Night” and “Waterway Nights” concert series. The stage also offers performances during the community’s holiday festivals, including its Memorial Day and Labor Day celebrations.

The pedestrian bridge and performance stage are the latest features underconstruction in the Waterway Square district of Town Center.

In July, the Development Company announced the Westin would build its fifth Houston-area hotel in the Waterway Square district. The 302-room hotel is under construction.

In addition, 10 Waterway, a 20-story Class A office tower, is planned for a tract of land adjacent to the south side of the Waterway along Waterway Avenue. The land parcel is being used as a parking lot, but once the Development Company strikes an agreement with an anchortenant, construction could begin on the new office building. No date has been announced on when that could be.

Heineman said there are early plans that have yet to be fully worked out that involve developing a multifamily residential unit to wrap around the parking garage at Waterway Square, to the north of the Westin hotel.

“That will line one side of the median; the other side will be lined by 10 Waterway,” he said.


 
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