METRO, Transwestern Launch Visionary TMC Development

October 21, 2005

METRO and Transwestern Development Company of Houston today announced they plan to jointly launch a $105-million mixed use development atop the Texas Medical Center Transit Center.

The project, designed to serve as a "gateway" to TMC, will include a 175-suite, full-amenities hotel, including meeting facilities, lounge and ballrooms; 30 condominiums above the hotel; 35,000 square feet of retail space accessible by sky bridge; and an elevated park-like setting with a 168,000-square foot medical office building and a 15,000-square foot wellness center and spa.

METRO and Transwestern will immediately begin finalizing the architectural design and structural schematics of the project. Construction is expected to begin in mid- to late 2006, and take three years. Throughout construction, METRO will maintain safe and reliable rail and bus service.

The hotel and retail components of the development are due to be completed in 2009. It is anticipated that METRO will receive about one million dollars per year for the air rights lease once the project is complete.

"This will give Houston its first good look at the new METRO," said METRO Board Chairman David S. Wolff, "leveraging our properties to create developments that give something of value to the community while creating ridership for our transit system."

METRO President and CEO Frank Wilson said transit oriented development and other innovations are illustrative of the Authority's transformation. "Our co-development in the Medical Center and the innovative approaches we're taking to build Phase 2 of METRO Solutions should make it clear to everyone that this is not your father's METRO."

Transwestern, which will exercise direct control over the development and construction process, is one of the largest, privately held full service commercial real estate firms in the U.S. and is headquartered in Houston.

Transwestern was chosen from a field of nine potential developers who responded to a METRO request for proposals (RFP).

According to Chip Clarke, Transwestern's Southwest region president, "We are honored to be selected to lead this effort as the development partner. This landmark project will have a significant positive impact on our community and set the standard for transit oriented developments." Todd Mason, METRO Vice President of Real Estate, handled the transaction for the Transit Authority. METRO will retain ownership of the TMC Transit Center, and will lease the air rights to Transwestern for construction and development.