Affordable Housing Developer Unveils New Mixed-Use Plans

Page designer Marcus Martinez is excited about a significant event that will advance a community project near his heart. The City of Houston has announced its intent to use Hurricane Harvey recovery funds to support the construction of a mixed-use community center in Near Northside. Avenue, a local nonprofit organization dedicated to building affordable homes and strengthening communities, will be developing Avenue Center in one of Mayor Turner’s designated 'Complete Communities', an initiative that focuses on ensuring Houston communities have the quality of life elements needed for residents to live and prosper in their own neighborhoods.

“We are thrilled to unveil our plans for Avenue Center, a new mixed-use community complex designed to meet the needs of Near Northside residents,” said Mary Lawler, executive director at Avenue. “Avenue has been working with the Near Northside community for many years, supporting efforts by residents to revitalize an area with a rich history and cultural identity while preserving the neighborhood’s unique character and affordability.” Page designer Marcus Martinez, who has deep family roots in the Near Northside and is familiar with the area’s rich cultural heritage, can attest to the significance of this project. 

Located at 3527 Irvington Blvd., the three-story development will feature approximately 30,500 square feet of community programming space including Avenue’s headquarters, realty office, and Homeownership Center, along with a health clinic and an early childhood education center, which will help address the shortage of early childhood education capacity in the Near Northside community. Lawler noted that the goal of Avenue Center is to conveniently co-locate a variety of vital resources for residents – especially low-income families – to improve access to essential supportive services that will improve the quality of life for neighborhood families and the community as a whole. 

Avenue tapped multidisciplinary architecture and engineering firm Page for the design for Avenue Center, which is inspired by the vibrant cultural fabric of the Near Northside Community as well as Avenue’s existing development portfolio. Marcus and his team sought to meld form and function, creating a design that highlights the building’s intended role as a hub of community life and activity.

“Our goal – and I think we succeeded – was to create a distinctive beacon to the community’s future that is connected through the use of color, materials and space to the generations who shaped the area’s culture,” he said. “People may be overcoming life challenges to realize their dream of owning a home and the Center visually creates a sense of both aspiration and attainability.”

When completed, Avenue Center will be situated at the heart of the vibrant Near Northside community, near several neighborhood landmarks including the community park and walking trails at Avenue Place, M.D. Anderson YMCA, Carnegie Library, Irvington Park, Moody Park and Recreation Center, and the METRO North Corridor rail line, which connects the Greater Northside community with key districts including Downtown Houston, the Museum District and Texas Medical Center.

Page was first introduced to Avenue through Senior Project Architect Tami Merrick, an artist and community organizer. She has served on the board since 2011 and is now the art director for the annual Art on the Avenue fundraiser. Tami chose to support the organization because it fosters stronger families and communities while offering an interesting venue for local artists.
The Page design for Avenue's multistory facility also will accommodate a homeownership center and additional lease space that connects to a courtyard space for Avenue-sponsored community assemblies that shares a view of nearby Moody Park. The lease space design intends a long term strategy to accommodate Avenue’s potential growth. Page is providing architectural and interior design services on this project. 

For more information about Avenue’s community development and revitalization efforts visit,

For more information about Page's Civic projects, click here