Officials with Houston Methodist confirmed Feb. 15 the hospital system has pulled plans for a mixed-use retail and medical office project within downtown Bellaire.

The project would have taken place at the site on Bellaire Boulevard that formerly housed a Randalls, which closed in 2021. Methodist has also terminated its lease with Kimco, which owns the property.

What happened

In a letter sent to Bellaire city officials shared by Methodist with Community Impact, officials said they appreciated the opportunity to present their project to the city.

"However, we also respect your vision to provide something different for your community. It is unfortunate we could not obtain approval of our site plan. We appreciate the City Council’s detailed review of our plan and wish you luck in fulfilling your vision for Bellaire," officials wrote.

The backstory

Houston Methodist officials submitted a planned development to the city of Bellaire to redevelop the site in 2022. Because the project varied from regulations in the city's zoning ordinances, it required city approval to move forward.

The city's planning and zoning commission approved the plans and sent them on to City Council, which voted in July to deny Methodist's proposal—citing a disconnect with what the city was looking for in its downtown district—but kept the door open for the hospital system to tweak its plans and come back with a new proposal.

Methodist adjusted its plans by adding more retail square footage and putting more parking underground, giving a new presentation to planning and zoning commissioners in December. Speaking at a Feb. 15 State of the City event with the Bellaire Business Association, Bellaire Mayor Gus Pappas said the commission approved the new plans and was preparing to send them to council for a second time when Methodist pulled the plug.

What's next

Pappas said the city has received "a tremendous amount of interest" from developers in the Randalls site, and that he was optimistic about what the future held.

"That openness to replace and upgrade I think is there, and I think it's something that's been building with council and the city, and I think it's been building with residents," Pappas said at the Feb. 15 event. "I am very hopeful that that’s just the jump off and a start for something that comes to the city that is incredibly beneficial to all of us."