The Woodlands takes ownership of waterways, land for future park

The Woodlands Waterway had been owned by a corporation before an agreement last week.


Chris Paul/Houston Public Media

The Woodlands now controls more than 200 acres of land, including a waterway within its city limits, thanks to deals with a property developer.

The Woodlands Township Board of Directors approved a deal last Thursday between the township and the Howard Hughes Corporation, a property developer.

The agreement, which was originally agreed to in 2014 and later extended to 2023, gave The Woodlands ownership of a 208-acre tract of land for future park development, a 2.08-acre lot of land next to the Parks and Recreation Operations Center, and 24.312-acres of land in Bear Branch.

"The largest park we have in the Woodlands right now is 25, 26 acres. This is 10 times the size of that," said Bret Strong, an attorney for The Woodlands. "So, think about what can be done programming wise on a parcel of that size."

In return, Howard Hughes Corporation received the rights to a boat house plot of land on Lake Robbins, and a plot of land on Ashlane Way. The Woodlands also reduced the corporation's yearly payments for maintenance of the town center over the next five years by $60,000.

However, this wasn't the only land transaction approved in the meeting. The board also approved a deed last Thursday that would turn the Woodlands Waterway into public land. Howard Hughes Corporation previously owned the Waterway.

“This is a very historic item on our agenda and something that we have looked forward to for a long time," said Township Chairman Dr. Ann K. Snyder.

The Waterway transaction has been in the works since a 2008 agreement, where the township agreed to maintain the location in exchange for ownership of the waterway by July 25, 2023.

The Woodlands Waterway opened in 2002 and has since become an integral part of life in The Woodlands.