Texas A&M expands footprint at Houston’s Texas Medical Center
Texas A&M University will build a half-billion-dollar health sciences complex to expand its College Station, Texas-based brand in the Texas Medical Center.
An enhanced Aggie presence in the TMC will augment the current renovation of the Texas A&M Engineering Medicine (EnMed) building at Holcombe and Main with two new towers scheduled to include nearly 600 student housing units, medical offices and retail as well as a continued commitment to the TMC3 collaborative innovation campus.
“Part of everything that we do has to do with TMC3,” Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp said following a news conference on Feb. 20, 2020. “We think TMC3 is going to be viewed in 20 or 30 years as, oh my gosh—How smart were these people to start this project?—just as the founders of the medical center are viewed today. It is going to be the place that innovation happens and the world changes as far as medical care. These facilities are going to be part of that.”
TMC President and CEO Bill McKeon said the project is perfectly timed for the needs of the medical city and for A&M’s “central role” in the TMC3 campus slated to break ground this year.
“This is the most active the entire campus has been on development. … This is our 75th year,” he said. “What a great time to serve as the cornerstone … along with the TMC3 project for the next 75 years. Everyone keeps on thinking: Is this enough? There’s not enough. There’s not enough parking. There’s not enough residential.”
The $546 million complex includes $145 million toward the purchase and renovation of the 18-story EnMed building at 1020 Holcombe Blvd. as well as $401 million in private-sector funding to build two new towers adjacent to the EnMed structure.
EnMed students—who are physician-engineers known as “physicianeers”—earn master’s degrees in engineering with their medical doctorates. Texas A&M brought that credential combination to the TMC with the inaugural class of two dozen students last year. The EnMed building is expected to be completed this year.
A new 19-story tower scheduled for completion in June 2022 will encompass 572 units of student housing with 704 beds and a parking garage with 3,444 spaces. Texas A&M College of Medicine students and Prairie View A&M University College of Nursing students will have priority for housing, but students from other institutions can apply for open units.
A new 30-story integrated medical plaza will include a 13-story parking garage, 72,000 square feet of retail space and 8,700 square feet of green space. The towering medical office building is expected to be completed in June 2023.
“What’s really, really exciting about all this—and what’s important—is that both our Prairie View A&M students and our EnMed students will have safe, affordable housing right here in the Texas Medical Center. They deserve that,” said Elaine Mendoza, chair of The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents.
EnMed Executive Dean Roderic Pettigrew, Ph.D., M.D. said the A&M expansion at the TMC will offer “random people-collisions and intellectual touch points that accelerate and sharpen innovative ideas” in a community setting.
“Our most exciting medical breakthroughs are now occurring in hubs of innovation or what some refer to as innovation districts,” said Pettigrew, who is also CEO of Engineering Health. “These spaces are designed to nurture and accelerate the creative process. They co-locate learning and work environments with housing, office, retail, social and networking space.”
After the news conference, Prairie View College of Nursing Dean Betty Adams, Ph.D., introduced some of her graduating seniors to the chancellor. Currently, nursing students in Houston don’t have campus housing.
“It’s going to provide for them safe, holistic housing at a modest price. They could walk to the college,” she said, noting that the units will reduce long commutes and enhance recruitment. “We need it.”
Both private-public partnership towers will be developed by the Houston-based Medistar Corp. American Triple I Partners, founded by Texas A&M alumnus Henry Cisneros—who served as secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and as San Antonio’s mayor—is part of the financing team.