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River Oaks District: Retail/Office/Residential Project - Westheimer at Westcreek

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River Oaks District is on Westhiemer close to 610, are you thinking of West Ave?

Carrabbas is expanding, that is what you're seeing.

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I did not know this project had any public financing help:

Edit: more images, not sure if these are the winning design though. http://bey-design.co...nce/commercial/

Actually, the one you're talking about is "High street" that pretty much got frozen in its tracks. It's fairly close to Mid lane @ Westheimer.

I forgot what this particular development is to be honest. I know that Carrabbas is expanding (they certainly need it) and are building a garage, and several other buildings around it.

EDIT:

Here is the topic I meant to use it on. Link.

If someone can merge and purge, please? :)

Edited by ricco67

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How old would this link be?

The link you posted yesterday about the project coming out of the "on hold" phase didn't seem to mention the hotels and high rises at all.

Safe to assume they're cancelled? Haha.

I know, pretty old, but we hadn't seen them (but one) before, so I thought I'd share ;p

But the article mentioned it's the first phase.

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good news:

River Oaks District and High Street, slated for development on adjacent properties on Westheimer, are looking for various types of tenants in an effort to move forward. Both projects were on display in May in Las Vegas at the International Council of Shopping Centers annual convention.

Read more: Inner Loop mixed-use projects back on table | Houston Business Journal
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http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/business/sarnoff/7616129.html

The company won't discuss those plans just yet, other than to say they've been altered from the original design.

"It's being tweaked to be in alignment with the current market," Hutchens said.

which i take it means they've downsized the scope and will likely develop in phases. but good news nonetheless.

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http://www.chron.com...ff/7616129.html

which i take it means they've downsized the scope and will likely develop in phases. but good news nonetheless.

They had two highrises and two other big buildings in the initial proposal. What is your educated guess as to how they've downsized, you think there will be any highrises left? Will it just become about the size of High Street?

Edited by lockmat

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As long as they don'y waste it by making it a strip center.

This has been a very good month for construction new for Houston, just putting it out there.

This should directly affect usership on HAIF.

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San Diego-based Oliver- McMillan has removed a luxury hotel component from the original plan of what was once called River Oaks District. The project is now known as 4444 Westheimer and will include retail, office and residential space, a company representative said.

In May, the project was "well received" at the annual International Council of Shopping Centers conference in Las Vegas, spokeswoman Karen Hutchins said last month.

"We're seeing things coming back," she said.

Read more: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/business/7655882.html#ixzz1STjwWXum

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You're gonna just LOVE this.

Ladies and gentlemen, your new River Oaks District plan:

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http://www.olivermcm...n.com/riveroaks

This is just awful imo. For a walkable development, it doesn't look the least bit cozy.

Edited by lockmat

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Honestly I never had high hopes for this project from the start and I think of it as just infill, its neither good nor bad from my point of view. I don't care how upscale it is or even if they get the best stores I wouldn't ever shop there. It looks bland, tacky, and replaceable. I knew the high rises would be cut out from the final plans but I have to say that I'm still very disappointed regardless. Oh well haha, you win some, you lose some. Houston is still a maturing city and will be getting lots of nice and also not so nice high rises in the coming 20 years, many will make up for the loss on this and many will make you wish they left it as a vacant plot.

Just my $0.02 anyway.

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This is just awful imo. For a walkable development, it doesn't look the least bit cozy.

The C-store around the corner from me that sells malt beverages isn't the least bit cozy. It's still quite walkable, both in the sense that it is accessible to adjoining neighborhoods and that its site can be traversed on foot. Nope, no Calatrava-designed people-movers there! No sir. And if you don't agree with me, then you are a vulva.

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If that's the plan, why bother doing anything at all?

In order to achieve greater site efficiency, better-optimized NOI relative to debt service, and ultimately, a much lower cap rate when it sells.

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am I looking at this right?

Isn't the Quizno's going to go away?

My main issue is how traffic control is going to be handled. From what I can there there will only be so many amount of places where they can come and go there.

Maybe I'm overlooking it, but I don't quite see how 18-wheelers can get there for deliveries, but they will probably just do the big box trucks.

Oy, this is going to be interesting during christmas.

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The C-store around the corner from me that sells malt beverages isn't the least bit cozy. It's still quite walkable, both in the sense that it is accessible to adjoining neighborhoods and that its site can be traversed on foot. Nope, no Calatrava-designed people-movers there! No sir. And if you don't agree with me, then you are a vulva.

I just think for a "high-end" development in a relatively "high-end" area, it's a dissapointment b/c to me, it looks like a glorified Premium Outlet or even a Woodlands Market Street, but without the softness of a park. Feels cold, like a Rothko Chapel. But does it "work?" Absolutely.

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man... what a disappointment. from 3 potential towers to ZERO. i'm just amazed that this city, as big as it is, can't land a big name luxury hotel to safe it's life. one would think with as much international business (particualrly from wealthy latinos and middle easterners) that a prime piece of real estate such as this would be attractive enough from a practical and financial standpoint to bring one in.

bummer.

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My main issue is how traffic control is going to be handled. From what I can there there will only be so many amount of places where they can come and go there.

Maybe I'm overlooking it, but I don't quite see how 18-wheelers can get there for deliveries, but they will probably just do the big box trucks.

Oy, this is going to be interesting during christmas.

Oh it's just going to get worse anywhere you go, everywhere and any season. That's my most optimistic prediction.

And, Its sad when a project gets scaled back THIS far... thank you bad economy... but this land has been vacant and losing money for how many years now? It's pretty much do or die as far as developing something...anything.

I hope the calling of this River Oaks District will be completely dropped... once this gets built I don't think River Oaks will want to be associated with this... then again most of us in this forum hold the design to a higher standard, while the masses might not care and just be excited some new store opened there that they really love to go to. Who knows.

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Oh it's just going to get worse anywhere you go, everywhere and any season. That's my most optimistic prediction.

And, Its sad when a project gets scaled back THIS far... thank you bad economy... but this land has been vacant and losing money for how many years now? It's pretty much do or die as far as developing something...anything.

I hope the calling of this River Oaks District will be completely dropped... once this gets built I don't think River Oaks will want to be associated with this... then again most of us in this forum hold the design to a higher standard, while the masses might not care and just be excited some new store opened there that they really love to go to. Who knows.

This site is not vacant. It has apartments on it. They were never demolished.

As for the design, I don't see what everyone thinks is so awful. It's nicer than what's there. It's also nicer from the exterior than a lot of the stuff around it, including Highland Village, the Galleria, and much of the retail along Post Oak. Seriously, is it that bad if it isn't at least as nice as BLVD Place?

Let's not lose perspective.

Edited by TheNiche

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The designs not bad at all, just a bit more on the bland and tacky side. Actually to be frank, I like the renderings more than the ones I've seen for BLVD Place, even though its scaled back dramatically. I think people who are criticizing the project now are those that feel snubbed of what it could have been if they kept the original plans.

Like I said earlier, Houston is a fast growing metro and believe it or not its growth actually stayed steady and slightly accelerated since the start of the recession. The economy will get better and is showing signs of it getting better, you can expect more nice projects to sprout up in Houston the next 20 years.

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A project that was upsized? That's going to be very disappointing to all the pessimists who complain that every project ends up smaller than planned. B)

Indeed.

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This site is not vacant. It has apartments on it. They were never demolished.

As for the design, I don't see what everyone thinks is so awful. It's nicer than what's there. It's also nicer from the exterior than a lot of the stuff around it, including Highland Village, the Galleria, and much of the retail along Post Oak. Seriously, is it that bad if it isn't at least as nice as BLVD Place?

Let's not lose perspective.

Yes, your right on location, I was zeroing in on the lot that used to be Central Ford, that threw me off.

It is nicer than what's there and it's not awful per say, it's just disappointing at the continuous scale backs. To me it looks so.... short. Personally if you added just two more floors to the buildings on the current design, and some sort of tower, even it it's only 8-10 floors high that would be enough to turn around this initial perception of the new design.

But the initial opinion may subside and improve among those here as this project gets underway, is finished and open for business. I think that's what's going to happen ultimately, myself included.

EDIT: For the time being it's understandable the reaction when you compare Post #1 & Post #26 , to Post #111 ... I'm not losing perspective of what we will still gain out of this, but I'm also not forgetting what it could have been.

Edited by Geoff8201

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I'm not losing perspective of what we will still gain out of this, but I'm also not forgetting what it could have been.

The nature of real estate development is that the developer starts off with a grand vision of what they would like it to be, which is 'expensive' because they get a fee from the investors based on the cost of the development. Pressure from investors and lenders respective to the ever-changing marketplace whittles down the proposal to a level that is reasonable and achievable. Let me be clear about this: if a developer of one of these sorts of projects ever achieves their initial vision, then they did something wrong. They left money on the table.

You as an individual would be best advised to feel no attachment to a drawing. Drawings are but a fiction until realized.

Let me ask you, if some favorite science fiction film set in the future didn't actually come to pass in just the manner prescribed by its writer, would you hold it against the writer? I should hope not. But that is basically analogous to these initial sets of renderings that you feel disappointment over.

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The nature of real estate development is that the developer starts off with a grand vision of what they would like it to be, which is 'expensive' because they get a fee from the investors based on the cost of the development. Pressure from investors and lenders respective to the ever-changing marketplace whittles down the proposal to a level that is reasonable and achievable. Let me be clear about this: if a developer of one of these sorts of projects ever achieves their initial vision, then they did something wrong. They left money on the table.

You as an individual would be best advised to feel no attachment to a drawing. Drawings are but a fiction until realized.

Let me ask you, if some favorite science fiction film set in the future didn't actually come to pass in just the manner prescribed by its writer, would you hold it against the writer? I should hope not. But that is basically analogous to these initial sets of renderings that you feel disappointment over.

Thanks for putting things into perspective. Can we post your explanation at the top of the Going Up! forum?

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It's a mistake to not include a more significant residential component to this. The current renderings are a far cry from what the market could support. I would be upset, to say the least, if I were an investor. I hope they at least build this with the ability to add density later.

Edited by largeTEXAS

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It's a mistake to not include a more significant residential component to this. The current renderings are a far cry from what the market could support. I would be upset, to say the least, if I were an investor. I hope they at least build this with the ability to add density later.

If you were an investor at the outset and that plan had failed and required revision to lure additional investment, I'm sure that you would be upset. You'd have backed the wrong horse. But it's not the horse's fault that you backed it. And if the change of plans gets out of the ground, then you'll at least see something returned to you as opposed to a total loss.

Edited by TheNiche

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At only 278 apartment units and 99,000 square feet of office space, they're being way too conservative. The market will easily absorb it. They need to push this entire site plan upward by an additional story and not leave money on the table.

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It is quite a severe pullback from the earlier plans. I can't recall a more drastic downgrade by a developer who also floated the original knock-your-socks-off proposal. (I'm hopeful that BLVD Place won't ultimately fall into this category.) My expectation was that, if the property were redeveloped at all in the next 10 years, it would be more along the lines of CityCentre. I.e., a taller residential profile around a high-end hotel, plus retail.

I am glad they kept the ground-level retail in the plan, at least. That would distinguish it from the other high-end rental complexes currently under construction in the area. It will also be a nice amentity for those of us who live in the area and like to walk places, w/o having to risk one's life walking to the other side of 610.

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It is quite a severe pullback from the earlier plans. I can't recall a more drastic downgrade by a developer who also floated the original knock-your-socks-off proposal. (I'm hopeful that BLVD Place won't ultimately fall into this category.) My expectation was that, if the property were redeveloped at all in the next 10 years, it would be more along the lines of CityCentre. I.e., a taller residential profile around a high-end hotel, plus retail.

I am glad they kept the ground-level retail in the plan, at least. That would distinguish it from the other high-end rental complexes currently under construction in the area. It will also be a nice amentity for those of us who live in the area and like to walk places, w/o having to risk one's life walking to the other side of 610.

Who is the developer of this project?

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Well.

I'm definitely not in love with this development's relationship to Westheimer, but other than that it's really not bad at all.

But honestly, why even do that weird little strip of parking lot? They could just as easily have integrated surface and head-in parking throughout the development, which would have preserved the development's relationship to one of the most important streets in Houston.

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Yeah, I also noticed the strip parking along Westheimer and didn't like it. Unfortunately, BLVD Place feels obligated to do the same thing. But, as someone noted in a thread here recently, it seems that in Houston this serves the purpose of sending the message "COME ON IN!" to Houstonians. Maybe they're right?

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eh, i think it depends on location somewhat. I'd argue that this development is just close enough to Highland Village to be quasi-walkable, but it's not like it's in Rice Village or lower Westheimer or Midtown. Of course, the only way to fix that is to actually build developments with a better relationship to the street.

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Looks good, but the parking strip on Westheimer is yet another bad idea being baked into something that will probably be around for longer than a little strip center.

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What is the problem with the development's relationship with the street? It is scaled up enough vertically relative to the distance that its still imposing, yet isn't so far from the street that it should be off-putting to any but the most lazy and slothful of pedestrians. It's not the Target that faces San Felipe or even a CVS Pharmacy in Midtown.

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I just like continuous setbacks. Walk down Fannin in the TMC. One side has nearly continuous setbacks, the other is staggered and haphazard. I'd say it's just an aesthetic preference, but I think it's important to the urban character, and basically impossible to change once it's built. So, if the change is basically no cost, I'd rather see it without the spaces on Westheimer.

Edit: Yeah, and the Midtown CVS is a real annoyance that I see multiple times every day, despite the fact I never stop there. And I agree -- make it 1 or 2 stories higher.

Edited by woolie

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I didn't say it was the worst thing ever, Niche, but I'm not sure why settling for "better than a strip mall" makes sense in this case. Its relationship to Westheimer *is* a strip mall.

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I didn't say it was the worst thing ever, Niche, but I'm not sure why settling for "better than a strip mall" makes sense in this case. Its relationship to Westheimer *is* a strip mall.

TheNiche's Westheimer Theory of Relativity states that all multi-tenant retail relates to Westheimer as a strip mall. A limited number of isolated exceptions exist under direct scientific observation, then revert to a strip mall when not so observed. Therefore, even if this project had zero setback from Westheimer, it would still be set back by at least 25 feet.

Think about it.

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At only 278 apartment units and 99,000 square feet of office space, they're being way too conservative. The market will easily absorb it. They need to push this entire site plan upward by an additional story and not leave money on the table.

x 1000000

i actually think 100k sf of office is probably adequate for an initial phase but find 278 apartments to be woefully inadequate; that number should easily be double for a development/location like this.

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Eh, you specifically had to specify "multi-tenant" retail, Niche, because areas like Westheimer @ Dunlavy are mostly 1-3 tenants per building. Again though, why is "that's the way its generally been done before" a good excuse not to do better today? I respect your dedication to contrarianism, but it this development could easily have been built with exactly the same amount of surface parking AND a stronger relationship to Westheimer.

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Eh, you specifically had to specify "multi-tenant" retail, Niche, because areas like Westheimer @ Dunlavy are mostly 1-3 tenants per building. Again though, why is "that's the way its generally been done before" a good excuse not to do better today? I respect your dedication to contrarianism, but it this development could easily have been built with exactly the same amount of surface parking AND a stronger relationship to Westheimer.

FWIW, when I walk around in the vicinity of the Westheimer curve, I avoid walking along Westheimer. It's too ugly and loud. I'll walk along Lovett or California, or a different parallel. Same goes for Montrose, which isn't as ugly but is still loud; typically, I'll walk along Yupon or Mt. Vernon instead.

If walkability is adversely affected by the volume, speed of traffic, and narrowness of sidewalks relative to already-narrow lanes, then Westheimer is doomed. (Westheimer is doomed!) Traffic calming could be an option, but I think that it's easier from a planning perspective to just let traffic be traffic and to let pedestrians and bicyclists take the next street over.

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At only 278 apartment units and 99,000 square feet of office space, they're being way too conservative. The market will easily absorb it. They need to push this entire site plan upward by an additional story and not leave money on the table.

Agreed. I know Houston is transitioning from 2-3 story apartments upwards. But i wish they would skip the 3-5 story phase on these large projects and go straight to 6-8 stories. This is a location that should have the increased density - just like West Avenue. A spine of these type of developments along Westheimer and Kirby would be a nice addition.

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Eh, I don't think your experience is typical, Niche.\

I wouldn't describe lower Westheimer as either loud or ugly, and I see plenty of pedestrian activity along it at all hours of the day.

I personally prefer to walk along Westheimer itself because it is much more active than nearby neighborhood streets.

As for traffic calming? The shape of the Westheimer curve combined with street parking actually do a pretty good job of that. Plus I've noticed that jaywalking seems to be becoming way more common in the area which is actually helping as well.

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Eh, I don't think your experience is typical, Niche.\

I wouldn't describe lower Westheimer as either loud or ugly, and I see plenty of pedestrian activity along it at all hours of the day.

Those people are doing it wrong. Setting retail along Westheimer back from the street even just a little makes it safer and more accessible to people using the back roads to access it.

As for traffic calming? The shape of the Westheimer curve combined with street parking actually do a pretty good job of that. Plus I've noticed that jaywalking seems to be becoming way more common in the area which is actually helping as well.

So, the fact that some pedestrians act so dangerously that traffic has to slow down is supposed to make it okay because other pedestrians stand to benefit? No. That's utterly insane and unacceptable. This is not Calcutta.

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"Setting retail along Westheimer back from the street even just a little makes it safer and more accessible..."

How exactly does it do that? Because this sounds more like your opinion based on your preferred method of navigating that part of town. I would argue that, in one respect, Westheimer is actually safer than surrounding streets because of high pedestrian activity and visibility. Drivers *have* to pay more attention. Do drunk drivers and people from out of town cause problems? Sure, but there's enough traffic on Westheimer to create a de facto maximum speed, particularly with the amount of street parking.

Ultimately I think we might just completely disagree about what we want from this city. I love Westheimer and I think it's beautiful. I love its diversity, its density, and its general liveliness. I'd like to see that increase in fact.

Jaywalking does not equal Calcutta. It's a normal part of a dense, mixed urban environment. Not to say I wouldn't support changes to Westheimer to mitigate it, but increasing setbacks would not be helpful in that regard.

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