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Rice Village Renovations & Future Mixed-Use


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I was walking around Rice Village recently (pushing a stroller) and noted how poor some of the streets/curbs and infrastructure appeared. There are numerous areas where the curbs have no ramps and you are literally forced to walk in the street or through parking lots. This is really surprising to me given the number of young families with children in the immediate area, and the proximity to the medical center (and thus likely use by people in wheelchairs.) The village is really one of the major 'public faces' of Houston to the outside world, likely to be visited by out of town families of Rice university students, and out of town medical center patients and families (I see the shuttle buses from the medical center hotels dropping them off frequently.) As such, I really can't understand the lack of investment in the roads and curbs in the village area and I'm really surprised someone hasn't brought an ADA lawsuit. Are sidewalks and curbs in commercial areas the responsibility of the city or the property owner to maintain?

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Velvet Taco will be going in here. https://www.tdlr.texas.gov/TABS/Search/Project/TABS2020012935  

West Elm Rice Village.  

You mean like Hanover Rice Village?

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  • 1 year later...

Friday is supposed to be the last day for Ballys on Dunstan. Say what you will about how run-down it was, but the location was great, and that second floor with the track around the perimeter, the views, and that curved staircase with the aluminum guardrails.... it will be missed. :(

post-7654-1245799803_thumb.jpg

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I started my Bally's membership there back around 1990, it was pretty hip and swinging back then. I haven't been in years because it was always too crowded when I wanted to go, and parking always seemed to be an issue. Is a new one nearby replacing it?

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I went to the Dunstan location around 1997-2000 but stopped since it was too crowded and me + agoraphobia + strangers' sweat don't get along well :P

There used to be a tiny one I began to frequent in the Braes Heights Shopping Center that catered to a slower and older set (just my style!), but it closed several years back.

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I had a charter membership going back to the summer of 87 when it opened up . I remember how really nice and clean it was the first couple of years . A few times during a weekday I remember having the whole place to myself . That didn't last for long .

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This surprises me because I am/was a member and it was always crowded.

The building isn't in bad shape, but I have no idea what could possibly fill it now. Maybe a renovation would attract some commercial tenants, but there are much more attractive options in the area.

I hope it doesn't sit vacant for years, but I wouldn't be surprised if it did.

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  • 1 year later...

There's been a sign up for a while that 24 hour fitness will be coming soon...but I can't find any info online. Does anyone have an idea when they plan to open?

This surprises me because I am/was a member and it was always crowded.

The building isn't in bad shape, but I have no idea what could possibly fill it now. Maybe a renovation would attract some commercial tenants, but there are much more attractive options in the area.

I hope it doesn't sit vacant for years, but I wouldn't be surprised if it did.

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There's been a sign up for a while that 24 hour fitness will be coming soon...but I can't find any info online. Does anyone have an idea when they plan to open?

Wow....no news here, but that's awesome! Maybe it will take some "pressure" off the one in midtown. I wonder if they would close the smaller one at Holcombe and Greenbriar?

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  • 1 month later...
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  • 3 weeks later...

I came across this article on Cultremap. http://culturemap.com/newsdetail/12-29-10-hudson-lounge-caught-in-social-media-crossfire-tuesday-night-patrons-complain-they-were-kicked-out/

Seems like this place is getting a bad rap in less than 2 months of being open. The reviews have been so bad that they even shutdown their own facebook page. Have any of you all been? What was your experience?

Reviews: http://www.yelp.com/biz/hudson-lounge-houston

hudson3.jpg

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Interesting. Website says they close at 2. They say that's not true and they actually close around 12...but that because they were so many people they did last call at 11. This explanation really strains credulity, because come on, clubs barely even get started around 9 PM typically. Furthermore, the allegations of a racist door policy on the Yelp reviews precede this party they shut down. Where there's smoke there is probably fire.

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Here is what I think happened. The owner saw his club filled with black people and that is not the vision he had for his club. He figured that when the white people he intended to attract would be turned off by so many black people and it would become known as a black hangout.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrWd47-TXU8

Edited by citykid09
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Here is what I think happened. The owner saw his club filled with black people and that is not the vision he had for his club. He figured that when the white people he intended to attract would be turned off by so many black people and it would become known as a black hangout.

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=VrWd47-TXU8

I don't know. That video didn't really show much.... A similar thing happened to Union a while back (discussed on here), in which some people turned away at the door claimed the club was anti-gay (it wasn't), when in fact the place was just overcrowded. That said, in the video it doesn't really look all that crowded to me, so I'm not sure I buy the "we weren't staffed for 150 people" argument. If anyone actually knows when they've been closing on Tuesdays (not just what was on the website), that would be interesting to know

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In the comments of the CultureMap story, an organizer of the party says he had spoken with them several times to organize this party, and that when the place was shut down, they were told by the manager that the owner (Adam) had come in and didn't like the crowd, so he ordered the shutdown. It would be nice to hear their side of the story, but they've shut down their Facebook page, and there is no statement about the incident on their website. The statement strains credulity.

Edited by kylejack
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I had a group of cousins who were planning to attend the Hudson Lounge for a friend's birthday get together on Tuesday night. Some of them had been before and found it to be a nice, calm, laid back place and wanted to go back. They arrived around 10pm to find everything being shut down, and as kylejack said, most clubs and lounges are just getting started at that time.

Oh well, that's too bad for the Hudson Lounge. There's plenty of other lounges in town that will welcome those dollars. I wonder if the Hudson would do the same thing if their place was being frequented by the Washington Ave. "db" crowd?

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They not only closed early, but called HPD to disperse the crowd. Jeez, talk about over-reaction. A place that both appears racist and at the same time has grand pretensions of being "upscale". Why would anyone want to go to a place like that?

Supposedly the lounge posted an apology on their Facebook page but I can't pull it up.

This is from their website:

Hudson Lounge is an understated urban oasis in the heart of Houston. Serene, sophisticated, and subtly swank, we welcome you to relax on our beautiful patios, sidle up to our sleek marble bars, or groove to the beats of our carefully curated sounds while you sip cocktails or enjoy one of our delicious small dishes.

:wacko:

Excuse me while I go and barf.

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No way to know if the owner is who they think he is, but bottom line he made an executive decision to close the place using the cops. If he was indeed trying to cherry-pick patrons, then his business, like any business that is more concerned with attracting a specific bling instead of attracting a constant cha-ching will suffer eventually.

On the other hand, they say that there is no such thing as bad publicity. Look how many now know about this place.

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  • 1 year later...

I believe they are enlarging the place, which would be good because the old place had very limited seating.

I'm hoping that's the case. They're website mentions the location but that they were closed and would be relocating and would announce where in the future. You would think they would just say they're expanding the location...but who knows

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  • 2 weeks later...

Texadelphia in Rice Village closed? Damn, that was one of my favorite places (heard they didn't have a deep fryer at that location, though).

About 10 years ago or so, there was a Texadelphia in College Station (Northgate area), too, and they were a victim of high rents as well. I wish it was still around, I would eat there!

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  • 4 weeks later...

I live right next to that strip center. For the first week after Nancy's Friday retail report, they were inside that location nightly starting renovations. They have not been back since. No clue what is going on.

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  • 4 months later...

I was at the Ginger Man this past weekend in the Rice Village and noticed that the Blue Leaf design store on the corner of Morningside and Times Blvd. was empty. I've long hoped for this space to be used as a bar/restaurant - an extension of "patio row" on that block - anyone have details on what is going in next?

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  • 7 months later...

Site work is being done at the lot next to Hungry's Cafe.  There was originally a house next door that they tore down for more parking.  Does anyone know what's going on?  My thoughts would be that they would build a Next Door Bar & Lounge like they have at their Memorial location.  I don't have any photos, but when they built the parking lot, they built it around the original house and then demolished the house...so there's still a plot of land for a building.  Fencing around that site has gone up in the past few days.

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  • 1 year later...
Vision: The Rice Village Arcade will be the hub of a multifaceted and cohesively branded mixed-use district where Houston residents, area employees, visitors and students congregate to shop, dine, work and play. Rice Village is evolving into a convenient, walkable, authentic and modern district that is respectful of its rich history in the City of Houston.

 

 

• The Village Arcade today is a highly productive 195,000 sf fashion-oriented shopping center that includes 50 shops and restaurants (60% national) in a trade area that is ready for the next generation of aspirational retailers.

• Convenient parking is provided at grade and in a centrally located multi-level garage.

Plans are being developed to enhance the shopping experience throughout the property via enhanced streetscape, landscaping, storefronts and facades that together will contribute to, and set the stage for, the modern evolution of the Rice Village design aesthetic.

• New Rice University/Trademark ownership team will collaborate with adjacent Village property owners to create a stronger district with evolved and consistent streetscape, amenities, programming and branding.

Additional Rice owned property in the Village (approximately 7 acres) is available for future mixed-use development. (2500 Dunstan, just west of Hanover's current development)

 


 

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Lord I hope they redo the Rice Arcade. That frontage parking is awful considering you walk to the Hanover developments and the one they have already built is very impressive. It has enhanced that area so much. I would love it if Hanover did a sort of master plan for that whole area and redeveloped it. Honestly there really only a couple much older buildings in that whole district that I would say should be saved since the majority of those buildings are super cheap strip centers.

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Vision: The Rice Village Arcade will be the hub of a multifaceted and cohesively branded mixed-use district where Houston residents, area employees, visitors and students congregate to shop, dine, work and play. Rice Village is evolving into a convenient, walkable, authentic and modern district that is respectful of its rich history in the City of Houston.
 
 
• The Village Arcade today is a highly productive 195,000 sf fashion-oriented shopping center that includes 50 shops and restaurants (60% national) in a trade area that is ready for the next generation of aspirational retailers.
• Convenient parking is provided at grade and in a centrally located multi-level garage.
Plans are being developed to enhance the shopping experience throughout the property via enhanced streetscape, landscaping, storefronts and facades that together will contribute to, and set the stage for, the modern evolution of the Rice Village design aesthetic.
• New Rice University/Trademark ownership team will collaborate with adjacent Village property owners to create a stronger district with evolved and consistent streetscape, amenities, programming and branding.
Additional Rice owned property in the Village (approximately 7 acres) is available for future mixed-use development. (2500 Dunstan, just west of Hanover's current development)
 

 

 

"a mutifaceted and cohesively branded mixed-use district....walkable, authentic and modern...highly productive...trade area that is ready for the next generation of aspirational retailers...shopping experience..modern evolution of the Rice Village design aesthetic...consistent streetscape, amenities, programming and branding.

 

Good grief.  :wacko:  One rarely sees so much marketing consultant buzzword verbiage strung together in so little text.  This could pass as a satire of the genre.  Who writes this stuff?

 

I would disagree 100% with the above comment.  The Rice Arcade was fine for programming and branding the design aesthetic for aspirational retailers or whatnot, but it also destroyed the charm that most of the Village once had.  Those nasty "super cheap strip centers" held a lot of great retailers (perhaps not aspirational ones though) and there was a nice diversity of mid-century styles.  Give me that kind of authentic streetscape, rather than that promised in press release, any time. 

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Keep Rice Village weird.

 

Couldn't agree more. That's the appeal of the VIllage. I'd love for them to tear out the entire suburban looking Village Arcade, add a parking garage on the exterior of the Village between Rice and the Village, then turn the arcade into a big, walkable, funky set of shops/bars/restaurants. It could become like 6th street, but without the street (just a courtyard in the middle) and hang some funky lanterns across it.

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Unfortunately Rice Village lost a big part of whatever weirdness it might have had due to the Village Arcade helping it become a sanitized " mutifaceted and cohesively branded mixed-use district and highly productive trade area that is ready for the next generation of aspirational retailers."  Frankly it just blows me away that anyone would suggest imposing that sort of sterilization on the entire Village with a master plan.  

 

Does Houston even have a weird shopping district now?  The curve on Westheimer used to fit the bill.  

 

 

Former Village super cheap strip center:

INTERSTATE_VILLAGE.jpg

 

 

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Maybe saying that some of the buildings were super cheap was a bit off. What I'm saying is that the low-rise commerical is simply not efficient use of that land. Not to mention all the frontage parking, lack of streetscape, and the lack of destination markers or monuments really devalues the sense of place the area could have. The best buildings in that whole area are the ones that line the south side of University Blvd closer to the University. Especially the small art deco building and the tapes restaurant that is next to it. Some are just kinda basic even for the time period in which they were built. This is also an opportunity to really create a nice open market with some genuine dominate pedestrian places. All I'm saying is that so much more can be done in this area in a mid-rise sense that can bring added density and street life to the area.

 

As for the advertising.....ugh. Buzzwords are getting so old -.-. Luxury is especially getting old and tired. Like an intern wrote that whole sentence lol. 

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Good photo. Something tells me that they want to make Rice Village "high end" like the Greater River Oaks District.

 

I wonder if the only way to have quirky neighborhoods in an urban setting with non-chain stores is through historic preservation laws and/or zoning. Jane Jacobs made the point that historic buildings are an essential part of an urban neighborhood because they are the only buildings were the rent is low enough for independently owned businesses to afford it. Of course then you have the people crying the death of capitalism/America for any regulations.

 

Houston has lost a good portion of the historic Rice Village and most of the historic Washington Avenue/Heights Blvd. neighborhood. I suppose 19th Street and Lower Westheimer are the best remaining holdouts outside of downtown/midtown.

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  • Highrise Tower changed the title to Rice Village Renovations & Future Mixed-Use

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