Real Estate

For information on METRO surplus properties for sale, please contact METRO Real Estate:

Gabriel Matos – Manager: 713-652-8006
Hortencia Montez – Asset Management Specialist: 713-652-4326
Sandra Sanders – Asset Management Specialist: 713-739-4048

Scroll down to learn more about Transit-Oriented Development and access the Texas Landowner’s Bill of Rights.

Downtown Houston skyline

Transit-Oriented Development

The completion of METRO's light rail lines and the redesign of our local bus network in 2015 encouraged transit-oriented development (TOD) supporting walking, biking and transit use. TOD can trigger economic, transportation, health and community benefits.


1.0 Policy Statement

METRO is responsible for large-scale public investments, which include real estate assets essential to its transit operations. In addition to improving mobility in the region, these real estate assets are potentially suitable for further development through partnerships with both public and private entities. METRO has an interest in further developing METRO-owned properties and facilitating development around METRO service that supports METRO’s mission to provide safe, clean, reliable, accessible, and friendly public transportation services to our region.

This document provides the vision, goals, and policies of METRO’s Joint Development / Transit Oriented Development (JD/TOD) program and outlines how METRO plans to implement this program in a manner that advances its mission.

METRO is encouraging collaboration and flexibility as it relates to project sponsorship and partnerships to identify and progress JD/TOD opportunities. There has been an increased interest in TOD and transit-supportive initiatives in the Houston region. This policy document provides guidance for how METRO will advance JD and TOD initiatives in its service area in coordination with local jurisdictions and other potential partners.

    1.1 Vision

    METRO properties effectively and equitably balance community and mobility needs and anchor compact, mixed-use, mixed-income communities across the region that are connected to each other and other major destinations by reliable, frequent transit service.

    1.2 Goals

    • Enhance the overall customer experience in terms of service and facilities.
    • Enhance the value of METRO-owned properties by generating additional community benefits, ridership, and revenue.
    • Create and promote equitable TOD, including affordable, workforce and market-rate housing around transit, as a strategy for placemaking, equity, sustainability, and smart growth.
    • Collaborate with service area jurisdictions to leverage resources and funding to achieve common goals and objectives related to this Policy and METRO’s overall mission.
    • Partner with public and private entities to advance and deliver JD/TOD initiatives in the region.
    • Stay revenue neutral across METRO's portfolio of JD projects in accordance with state and federal requirements.

2.0 Scope and Applicability

This Policy applies to all METRO employees (full-time, part-time, and temporary), contractors, consultants, interns, and any external partners and stakeholders that are party to an agreement on JD/TOD project (collectively, “METRO Persons”).

3.0 Applicable Legislation, Regulations, and Board Resolutions

  • Board Resolutions 2005-94, 2012-96
  • Federal Transit Administration Joint Development Guidance (Circular 7050.1B)

4.0 Related Policies, Procedures, Guidelines, and Forms

  • METRO Procurement Manual
  • METRO Innovative Proposal Policy
  • METRO Transit Design Guidelines
  • METRO Urban Design Manual

5.0 Terms and Definitions

    5.1 Joint Development

    Joint Development (JD) is a form of value capture where a real estate development occurs on transit agency property or through some other type of development transaction to which the transit agency is a party. METRO’s vision for JD is principally development physically or functionally related to METRO-owned property in which METRO has a formalized partnership with a public or private developing entity. METRO’s definition further clarifies that the value created may also be for the benefit of the communities where the METRO property is located. This benefit can include any community-based project that provides opportunities such as workforce and/or affordable housing. These projects will be completed to enhance the community.

    METRO may also pursue JD opportunities on property not owned by METRO. This may include land owned by other public or private entities where METRO could use a Public Private Partnership (P3) delivery approach.

    5.2 Transit Oriented Development

    Transit Oriented Development (TOD) is defined as compact, mixed-use development on or near transit facilities. TOD is walkable, moderate to high-density development served by frequent transit with a mix of housing, retail, recreation, services, and/or employment choices designed to allow people to live and/or work without the need for a personal automobile. TOD is designed to enhance ridership and create a space that encompasses a sense of community that is not solely dependent on automobile access. TOD can also reduce congestion and lower greenhouse emissions due to the reduced use of single-occupancy vehicles. TOD leverages transit infrastructure to promote equity and sustainable growth through opportunities for mixed-income developments near reliable, frequent transit service.

    5.3 Equitable Joint Development / Transit Oriented Development

    Equitable JD/TOD provides diverse opportunities for the communities to be served through early inclusion in the identification of projects and the communities’ interests. Equitable JD/TOD results in stronger transit connections for underserved communities to jobs, education, healthcare, and other essential services without the displacement resulting from gentrification typically associated with traditional TOD.

6.0 Policy Requirements

    6.1 Joint Development Policies

    Partnership Roles and Responsibilities. METRO will partner with public or private sector entities to advance JD on METRO-owned property or on property not owned by METRO in which METRO may pursue future interest. Through JD, METRO will provide a METRO-owned asset through a lease agreement or METRO may pursue an alternative financing and ownership method. METRO reserves the right to select other methods as they become available. Typically, the proposer would assume design and construction responsibility based on METRO standards and local requirements; however, METRO will consider other arrangements as necessary to advance a project, including selecting the entity best positioned to deliver the project.

    Compliance with Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Guidelines. On projects with existing or anticipated federal interest, the developer will need to follow FTA guidelines and funding prerequisites. METRO will be responsible for all contact, discussions, and negotiations as it relates to FTA.

    Community Engagement. METRO will engage with the community during the project life cycle in coordination with project partners.

    Coordination with Jurisdictions. METRO will coordinate with appropriate jurisdictions as it relates to individual projects.

    Continuing Control. In the interest of METRO and our customers, METRO will maintain sufficient control over project development to ensure the desired goals are achieved. No project will impede METRO’s ability to deliver its mission. This continuing control may include a ground lease, applying certain conditions on the sale of the property, or other solutions to provide METRO with the greatest benefit.

    Affordable and Workforce Housing. METRO will help advance jurisdictional goals as it relates to housing, as appropriate.

    Disposition of Property. Allow for disposition of surplus property for development purposes to enhance the community, consistent with federal, state, and local guidelines.

    Urban Design. METRO seeks to provide pedestrian-oriented development and create a sense of place around transit facilities that is compatible with the nature, scale, and aesthetics of the surrounding community. JD projects will be designed in a manner consistent with METRO’s Urban Design Manual guidelines.

    Value Capture. As defined by FTA, value capture is a financing strategy that generates sustainable, long-term revenue streams that can help repay debt used to finance the upfront costs of building infrastructure. METRO may consider value capture as part of its JD/TOD program.

    Governance. METRO reserves the right to maintain governance or may choose on a case-by-case basis to assign sponsorship or governance to a non-METRO entity to advance a project.

    6.2 Transit Oriented Development Policies

    Partnership Roles and Responsibilities. METRO will encourage and support the development of land that is near METRO-owned facilities or a bus and/or rail line. METRO will educate the community of the benefits of TOD and will support public and/or private entities who wish to enhance the community through this form of development. METRO seeks to achieve a more walkable, livable community through its coordination and partnerships related to TOD.

    Affordable and Workforce Housing. METRO will support public and private efforts to support communities through the development of affordable and/or workforce housing.

    Urban Design. METRO seeks to provide pedestrian-oriented development and to create a sense of place around transit facilities that is compatible with the nature, scale, and aesthetics of the surrounding community. METRO will coordinate with local jurisdictions to ensure projects are designed in a manner consistent with METRO’s Urban Design Manual guidelines and /or local urban design ordinances and guidelines.

    Coordination with Jurisdictions. METRO will coordinate with appropriate jurisdictions as it relates to individual projects.

    Community Engagement. METRO will coordinate with public and/or private entities to encourage public and stakeholder involvement to promote local interests in the location, design, function, and operation of TOD to the extent reasonable and appropriate. METRO will participate in community outreach meetings and assist as appropriate.

    Value Capture. As defined by FTA, value capture is a financing strategy that generates sustainable, long-term revenue streams that can help repay debt used to finance the upfront costs of building infrastructure. METRO may consider value capture as part of its JD/TOD program.

7.0 Implementation

    7.1 Joint Development Implementation

    The following section will outline how METRO will approach solicited and unsolicited proposals related to Joint Development.

      7.1.1 Joint Development Project Committee

      For each project or group of projects, METRO will create a committee responsible for the following:

      • Identifying project goals and objectives and ensuring they align to METRO’s Mission.
      • Developing a solicitation strategy to include evaluation criteria.
      • Developing scope of work to achieve stated goals and objectives
      • Reviewing and evaluating responses received.
      • Providing recommendations to the Joint Development and Land Use Committee of the Board of Directors.


      The committee can be comprised of METRO Persons and other stakeholders.

      7.1.2 Solicited Proposals

      METRO will follow all applicable state, federal, and agency procurement rules for all solicitations for JD projects, in accordance with METRO’s adopted Procurement Manual. The selected proposal shall be selected based on the best value method.

      7.1.3 Unsolicited Proposals

      METRO will consider unsolicited proposals for JD projects. The proposals will be reviewed and evaluated for consistency with the goals and vision of METRO’s JD/TOD program. If the proposal supports the stated goals in this Policy, METRO will initiate the Joint Development Project Committee and evaluate the unsolicited proposal pursuant to METRO’s Procurement Manual and METRO’s Innovative Proposal Policy.

      7.1.4 Evaluation Criteria for JD Proposals

      JD proposals will be assessed by METRO staff and evaluated by the Joint Development Project Committee. Evaluation criteria may be unique for each project and will be based on best value. In general, evaluation criteria will relate back to the JD/TOD Program Goals in Section 1.2, and METRO may evaluate the following criteria:

      • Impacts to existing and future METRO operations and maintenance.
      • Ridership and customer experience impacts.
      • Revenue and other fiscal impacts to METRO.
      • Proposed community enhancements, with special attention to responsiveness to local community vision, values, or needs.
      • Transit-supportive design – the degree to which the project maximizes transit access and encourages transit use.
      • Quality of design, including consistency with METRO’s Urban Design Manual and design standards.
      • Respondent’s team experience and capacity to achieve financial close on the opportunity (Financial Capacity). METRO may use outside sources to assess and verify financial readiness and capacity of the proposer. Proposers should be prepared to provide all necessary financial documentation.
      • Level of Project Risk as measured by a Risk Assessment for the specific opportunity. METRO may use outside sources to conduct this risk assessment. Proposer should be prepared to provide all necessary documents.
      • Compliance and understanding of FTA Guidelines.


      7.1.5
       Negotiation and Execution of Contract for a Solicited Proposal

      After the Joint Development Project Committee evaluates solicited proposals for a JD project and selects a proposal, management may recommend the selected proposal to the Joint Development and Land Use Committee of the Board of Directors. If such Board committee recommends approval to the Board of Directors, management may request Board authorization for the President and CEO to negotiate and execute agreement(s) relating to the proposed project.

      METRO may cancel solicitation or negotiation at its discretion in accordance with METRO’s Procurement Manual.

      7.1.6 Negotiation and Execution of Contract for a Unsolicited Proposal

      Once the Joint Development Project Committee has evaluated an unsolicited proposal and determined its viability and compliance with METRO’s goals, management may pursue implementation of the unsolicited proposal in accordance with METRO’s Procurement Manual. This process will involve public notification of the unsolicited proposal and allow other proposers to participate. If no other proposers respond, the unsolicited proposal may be presented to the METRO Board of Directors as a request for authorization for the METRO President & CEO to negotiate and execute a contract with the proposer of the unsolicited proposal. If METRO receives additional respondents to the notification of an unsolicited proposal, those proposals will be evaluated by the Joint Development Project Committee utilizing the established evaluation criteria. Management may then present all qualified proposals along with the Joint Development Project Committee and management’s recommendation to the Joint Development and Land Use Committee of the METRO Board of Directors for its consideration and decision. Following the Board committee’s recommendation for the METRO Board approval, management may request Board authorization for the President & CEO to negotiate and execute a contract.

      METRO may cancel solicitation or negotiation at its discretion in accordance with METRO’s Procurement Manual.

    7.2 Transit Oriented Development Implementation

    METRO’s JD projects will be designed to support TOD. TOD projects beyond METRO-owned properties are primarily driven by public or private entities other than METRO and METRO will make all efforts to participate in the planning and design process for these projects.

    METRO will coordinate with jurisdictions in its service area to help advance TOD in local policy and programs. METRO will also collaborate with jurisdictions and other entities in its service area, as appropriate, to educate the community on the benefits of TOD.

8.0 Amendments: Exceptions

This document consolidates, amends, and restates two prior Board approved policies regarding Joint Development and Transit Oriented Development: METRO Transit Oriented Development Goals and Strategies (2012) and Joint Development Guidelines, Policies and Procedures (2005). The METRO Board of Directors reserves the right to amend, suspend, modify, or revoke the application of any policy standards as deemed necessary at any time, for any reason.

The study, done in partnership with the City of Houston and the Houston Galveston Area Council (HGAC), identified opportunities for TOD in areas around METRORail and regional Park & Ride lots.

The includes these key resources:

  • Marketing tool METRO can show developers and community stakeholders
  • Initial market assessment of each location
  • Recommended actions for METRO and our partner agencies

View the study here

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