Founded in 1974, The Woodlands is the No. 2 best-selling, master-planned community in the United States. Located just 27 miles north of Houston, the country’s fourth-largest city, The Woodlands carefully integrates a range of recreational amenities, residential neighborhoods, commercial office spaces, retail shops, entertainment venues and more in a naturally beautiful setting. In fact, 28 percent of The Woodlands is dedicated to green space, including parks, pathways, open spaces, golf courses and forest preserves. It’s the perfect blend of nature with today’s modern conveniences for everyone to enjoy.
We are judged by what we leave behind. In a forest that once yielded timber, and the Grogan-Cochran Lumber Company once flourished, The Woodlands now provides a place where people live in harmony with nature. As the wildflowers grow in the spring, and the many trees distributed over the years on Arbor Day thrive, now as many as four generations of the same family call The Woodlands home.
Although the land use plan for The Woodlands was created in the late 1960s and early 1970's, it continues to guide development, thanks to its fundamental correctness and flexibility to accommodate market trends. The original plan utilized the expertise of notables like Ian McHarg, author of “Design with Nature,” William Pereira, Richard P. Browne, Robert Hartsfield, Gladstone Associates and others. This is the team that The Woodlands’ late founder, George Mitchell, assembled to piece together the thousands of acres of land that became The Woodlands. They laid the groundwork for a master plan that provided a notable alternative to the urban sprawl that was rampant at the time, and created one of only two HUD Title VII communities to survive and become successful.
Among the many accolades The Woodlands has garnered for environmental preservation and master planning are the Award of Excellence from the Urban Land Institute, the international Nations in Bloom Gold Award, and the Visian Award for Expemplary Leadership from the Urban Land Institue.
When The Woodlands' ninth village, Creekside Park, opened in 2007, a 1,700-acre preserve was dedicated and named in honor of George Mitchell. The George Mitchell Nature Preserve is part of the Spring Creek Greenway Project, an initiative by Harris and Montgomery Counties to connect and protect 12,000 acres or forest along Spring Creek for a regional nature trail. The Woodlands Development Company has been given the Corporate Conservation Leadership Award by the Nature Conservancy of Texas for development of the George Mitchell Nature Preserve.
The Woodlands Town Center, home of The Woodlands Waterway, is a downtown in the forest with major shopping, upscale urban residences, entertainment and a thriving 24/7 business environment. It has been planned and developed by some of the pre-eminent urban designers and architects in the country, including Cooper Robertson & Partners, Elkus Manfredi, Kenneth Park Architects, Lucas Associates, Sasaki Associates and Street-Works.
Central to the sense of place in Town Center is The Woodlands Waterway, a 1.4-mile linear park and transportation corridor that invites visitors to hop aboard a “Waterway Cruiser” and travel to offices, restaurants, urban residences, shopping centers, hotels, parks and landmarks along the way. A landscaped network of paths for pedestrian travel and a trolley system provide additional modes of “green” travel. Parks along The Waterway include Riva Row Park for kayakers, Town Green Park for large community events, and The Koi Garden, a peaceful Asian-inspired greenspace.
Town Center has become one of the hottest commercial building markets in Greater Houston. The growth is ongoing, with new buildings, such as 24 Waterway Avenue and 4 Waterway Square in The Waterway Square District fully leased and more on the drawing board. Major shopping venues including the 1.3 million square-foot The Woodlands Mall and 34-acre Market Street; plus entertainment venues such as The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, one of the world’s most popular outdoor amphitheaters, and two Cinemark movie theaters attract more than 20 million visitors a year to Town Center.
Click here to view the current design plan for The Woodlands Town Center.