Pearland’s development began in 1892 when William Zychlinski, a Polish Count, bought 2,560 prime acres of land surrounding the Mark Belt outpost along the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe rail lines. Zychlinski platted out the original town site in 1894.
The Old Townsite district consists of the land area bordered by Orange Street to the north, Walnut Street to the south, Galveston Street on the east and Austin Street on the west in what is now the eastern quadrant of Pearland.
The Historic District Revitalization Plan
In an effort to retain and redevelop the central core of the old town, the City of Pearland completed a Historic District Revitalization Plan in 2006 with H3 Studio. The plan identified $160 million in total improvements over a 25-year period, of which $34 million are currently being completed in the city’s current Capital Improvements Plan through 2013. Among those improvements are new road constructions, stormwater upgrades and sidewalk, streetscape and decorative lighting additions to the historic district.
The Historic District Today
A local farmer’s market now operates year-round and a Business Coalition, comprised of the businesses in and around the district, helps the city prioritize investments for future growth.
The Pearland Independent School District also recently relocated to the northern part of the district by acquiring a former retail site and investing $12 million in improvements to renovate the building and relocate the district’s headquarters offices to the space.
State Highway 35 Redevelopment Strategy
One of the main strategies outlined in the Pearland 20/20 Community Strategic Plan is to optimize the development potential of Pearland’s principal commercial corridors. A redevelopment strategy for the SH 35 Main Street corridor from Beltway 8 to the southern corporate limits has been developed to build upon the Strategic Plan suggestions and provide the “big picture” strategic actions that are needed to encourage more investment in the corridor.
That portion of the SH 35 Corridor extends 7.2 miles from Clear Creek or the Pearland municipal boundaries on the north, to its municipal boundaries on the south, or approximately Hastings Cannon Road. Properties within the area include those located contiguous to the highway along its eastern and western edges, as well as a significant portion of the Old Townsite District.
To develop the strategy, a market analysis was completed, interviews and group meetings were held with stakeholders, and identified five catalyst areas with development concepts for those areas. The five catalyst concepts include:
Northern Gateway Entrance and Corridor Streetscape Improvements
Business Park North
Restaurant and Entertainment Destination and Main Street Urban Design
Old Town Esplanade and New Community on former Alvin Community College Campus
Business Park South
An Open House for the Strategy was held on April 25, 2016. The PEDC Board approved the strategy on April 28, 2016 and a Joint Public Hearing with the Planning and Zoning Commission was held on June 20, 2016.