Metro is calling the proposed project an "intermodal terminal" that would be the hub for bus, light rail and future bus rapid transit and commuter rail service in Houston. Metro's board has approved a contract with a New York-based architectural firm to come up with a design for the project, which could cost around $150 million. Metro board chairman David Wolff says land on the northern edge of downtown could be a good fit.
"We already own some land in the area. We may or may not acquire additional land, it depends on what's available and what we think we might need. We haven't actually fixed that this will be the location. We are still considering other locations, but at this point we think it makes sense to move ahead to conceptualize what this intermodal terminal might look like."
Wolff says officials won't try to copy Grand Central Station, but hope the project would make a similar statement here in Houston.
"What makes Grand Central Terminal of course is that you bring in all the commuter rail lines in there, you connect on to the subways. You're at a place where people can, in some cases, walk to their destinations or talk bus, and so this would be our version of it. I don't pretend that it would be like Grand Central Terminal in New York. You wouldn't have the volumes that they have, at least not for quite some time, but it would be the same type of functioning facility."
Wolff says the Houston terminal could also include surrounding developement, like retail, residential or office space. He says once the plans are approved, the project could take several years to complete.