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Looks like the presidential big heads are coming to Pearland shopping center

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Are these the same heads that a man from Houston is building? He's right by the new Target on I-10 and Sawyer.



Some developers use skating rinks or even roller coasters as the centerpieces of their shopping centers. Richard Browne is counting on 42 giant busts of the U.S. presidents from Washington to George W. to bring in people.

So far the Houston developer, whose background includes helping plan The Woodlands Town Center, has spent $5.5 million for 50 acres near Pearland and the striking collection of busts, each at least 18 feet tall and weighing 7,000 pounds, by Houston sculptor David Adickes.

The plan calls for an unusual mixed-use development, combining space for commercial, residential and a presidential park, surrounding a 30-acre lake and navigable streams, Browne said.

"This is a natural," Browne said. "We can make this the Venice of Houston."

The location of Browne's WaterLights District and the presidential park is near other new retail development near Texas 288 and Beltway 8, and close to the booming Shadow Creek Ranch community.

But with new shopping centers popping up all the time, location may not be enough to ensure success.

Developers are having to be creative, even gimmicky, with their ideas, said Ed Wulfe, president of Houston-based real estate brokerage and development firm Wulfe & Co. They can't expect customers to come just for the stores anymore. That is why The Galleria added an ice-skating rink and Minnesota's Mall of America has roller coasters.

"It's an unusual approach," Wulfe said of Browne's pro- ject. "But in today's environment of serious competition between different projects and tenants, you've got to do something different."

City officials are excited about the busts going to Pear-land because they expect customers and tourists will follow, said Fred Welch, executive director of the Pearland Economic Development Corp.

"It's going to be a great draw for Pearland," he said. "It'll create a destination where we haven't had one before."

It also provides a Houston-area home for the third and final set of Adickes' presidential heads. The first two ended up in presidential parks near Mount Rushmore in South Dakota and in Williamsburg, Va.

"I'm really thrilled to put these here because people always tell me, 'You've got to keep these in Texas,' " said Adickes, who is also known for the 67-foot Sam Houston statue in Huntsville along Interstate 45, a 72-foot Stephen F. Austin in Brazoria County and other larger-than-life sculptures, including the cellist next to downtown Houston's Lyric Centre and a trumpet in Galveston.

Adickes is currently finishing four 36-foot statues of the Beatles.

Seven of the statues

Edited by Mr. Smarts
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  • 10 months later...

Washington, Lincoln, FDR, Truman, JFK, and ?Jefferson? ?Jackson? are already there. I suppose at 70+ mph I might have gotten FDR confused with George W. Bush. There's not much around them; I would be real worried about them getting tagged.

Oh, and speaking of Adickes sculptures, don't forget the giant Stephen F. Austin just north of Angleton on 288.

Edit: according to Charles Kuffner, they were chosen by a vote, and it's Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson, JFK, FDR, and George H.W. Bush.


Edited by marmer
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