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Rice Village Arcade "renovation" & future mixed-use

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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)

 


 

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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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Jane Jacobs example works really good when the historic area is already in an urban setting.

 

A book that's really good about discussing character of spaces and what makes for good spaces and areas with identities is Kevin Lynch's, "Image of a City". Of course there are suburban neighborhoods which should try to preserve their identity, but since the ones we talk about everyday are in areas which should have been urbanized long ago it's hard to preserve them :/

 

The growing pains that Houston is going through, and will maintain into the future, is reconciling with the fact that almost the entire city has been suburban or even "sub-rural", if you will, for so long that because of the explosion of growth and race to densify almost the entire city is vulnerable in terms of its suburban fabric and architecture. It doesn't help that the draconian laws that prevented urbanization inside the loop for two decades further solidified these areas as suburban planted on quality urban plots. I guarantee you that if those laws were not in place that whole area would already been mid-rise just keep with demand to be closer to market areas such as this.

 

It's an architectural discourse that has be presented and discussed. We will probably have these same conversations years later with more of East Downtown and more of Washington Ave get further redevelopment because they have such a low-rise architectural fabric it simply will be difficult for the city to preserve these parts of our history.

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Yes, there is no doubt in my mind that they want to make the Village more up-market.  Those verbose marketing consultants are looking over the demographics for University Place, Southampton, and West U and just drooling.  Ultimately the Village as we knew it is doomed in the name of "aspirational retailing".  

 

Which is a shame.  I've always thought that the Village could be something really unique and wonderful.  Imagine a shopping district of that size with no national chains - it would draw tourists.

 

 

 

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.

 

If you're looking for pedestrian street life, Rice Village was historically one of Houston's rare successes.  The lack of parking forced some degree of walking, there is on-street parking that is both convenient and provides a buffer between pedestrians and traffic, and the stores were right up to the street, rather than cast behind jumbo parking lots.  Without any particular planning to be so, it is almost an object lesson in effective urban pedestrian design.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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^^What Luminare?  You're approach is a little too academic on this.  Plus, you simply want to raze the entire Village and redo the whole area?  Blasphamy.  You know not what you speak of.

 

The Village has plenty of space for "snazzy" new, glassy, modernist shopping.  Leave the few interesting buildigns and hodge-podge of shops alone.

 

Like the old saying:  If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

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If you're looking for pedestrian street life, Rice Village was historically one of Houston's rare successes.  The lack of parking forced some degree of walking, there is on-street parking that is both convenient and provides a buffer between pedestrians and traffic, and the stores were right up to the street, rather than cast behind jumbo parking lots.  Without any particular planning to be so, it is almost an object lesson in effective urban pedestrian design.  

 

More like Houston replicating a Mid-west, Southwest small town topology than a "unique" success. Not to mention the entire notion you bring that frontage parking is some lesson in effective urban pedestrian design is completely daft. You are right that it's convenient, but that's the only thing that it has going for it. Frontage parking is nothing more than a modern reproduction of old west/ old small town topology's of the hitching post in front of the small retail or town building. It was simply there as a need to hitch your horse and then quick step into the place you were going into and also to have clear vision of your ride outside.

 

Now simply replace everything, but in a modern context. The saloon or oldwest/oldtown store replaced by stores of that time, horses replaced by cars (i mean we judge a cars speed in "horse power"), and finally the place where you "hitch" your car the parking lot. It's nothing more than that and any way to make it into something more than that is simply trying to recreate something out of nothing.

 

No it is not a lesson of effective urban pedestrian design. It is a historical lesson in street design of that period and nothing more. If you want good street design look at the redevelopments that happened years ago on Gray st. and Bagby. Now that is street design with the balance of dominating pedestrian presence meets needs of the automobile, meets a sense of place, meets nature, meets mid-rise. It's all there and then some. There are plenty others around the state and the country on what is effective design.

Edited by Luminare

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Jane Jacobs example works really good when the historic area is already in an urban setting.

 

A book that's really good about discussing character of spaces and what makes for good spaces and areas with identities is Kevin Lynch's, "Image of a City". Of course there are suburban neighborhoods which should try to preserve their identity, but since the ones we talk about everyday are in areas which should have been urbanized long ago it's hard to preserve them :/

 

The growing pains that Houston is going through, and will maintain into the future, is reconciling with the fact that almost the entire city has been suburban or even "sub-rural", if you will, for so long that because of the explosion of growth and race to densify almost the entire city is vulnerable in terms of its suburban fabric and architecture. It doesn't help that the draconian laws that prevented urbanization inside the loop for two decades further solidified these areas as suburban planted on quality urban plots. I guarantee you that if those laws were not in place that whole area would already been mid-rise just keep with demand to be closer to market areas such as this.

 

It's an architectural discourse that has be presented and discussed. We will probably have these same conversations years later with more of East Downtown and more of Washington Ave get further redevelopment because they have such a low-rise architectural fabric it simply will be difficult for the city to preserve these parts of our history.

 

I understand what you're saying - believe me. There's part of me that looks around Rice Village and says, "wouldn't this be a whole lot better if there were apartments above all these shops?"

 

The problem is, Rice Village is probably the largest and best neighborhood in inner Houston were you have such a concentration of interesting shops. Replacing it all with new mid-rise development would eliminate all the independently owned shops who couldn't afford the new rent, and basically turn it into Citycentre. Citycentre is great where it is, but would you want that for Rice Village?

 

Then, Rice Village is about 3.5 miles from downtown, and not on any planned rail line. If we are trying to build a denser, more urban core, don't a lot of places closer in make more sense? Is there really so much population pressure that we can expect to have an urban core of midrise buildings all the way out to a 3.5 mile radius?

 

If we save Rice Village as it is, all those midrises still get built, they probably just get built closer to downtown, or maybe they get pushed north of the existing Rice Village along Kelvin, past Hanover. In Dallas, they've saved most of the interesting low rise shops along Lovers Lane near Inwood (4 miles from downtown) and along Hillcrest near Lovers, and all the midrise development is in the closer-in Uptown, which is further along as an urban neighborhood than anything in Houston.

 

 

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More like Houston replicating a Mid-west, Southwest small town topology than a "unique" success. Not to mention the entire notion you bring that frontage parking is some lesson in effective urban pedestrian design is completely daft. You are right that it's convenient, but that's the only thing that it has going for it. Frontage parking is nothing more than a modern reproduction of old west/ old small town topology's of the hitching post in front of the small retail or town building. It was simply there as a need to hitch your horse and then quick step into the place you were going into and also to have clear vision of your ride outside.

 

Now simply replace everything, but in a modern context. The saloon or oldwest/oldtown store replaced by stores of that time, horses replaced by cars (i mean we judge a cars speed in "horse power"), and finally the place where you "hitch" your car the parking lot. It's nothing more than that and any way to make it into something more than that is simply trying to recreate something out of nothing.

 

No it is not a lesson of effective urban pedestrian design. It is a historical lesson in street design of that period and nothing more. If you want good street design look at the redevelopments that happened years ago on Gray st. and Bagby. Now that is street design with the balance of dominating pedestrian presence meets needs of the automobile, meets a sense of place, meets nature, meets mid-rise. It's all there and then some. There are plenty others around the state and the country on what is effective design.

Your argument:  Rice Village is too low density, lacks residential, lacks a "sense of place" and doesn't have any neat modern buildings.

 

A better argument:  Rice Village is a successful shopping center that could have more products like the Hannover development(s) without completely destroying the unique shops that form the backbone of Houston's most unique, albeit somewhat archaic shopping center.  A centralized parking garage that is easy to use and big enough for all the visitors to the area would help alleviate some of the parking problems.

 

You also argue that parking in front of stores is bad.  Sort of.  Parking in front of stores with 11 rows of parking is bad.  What the Village has isn't necessarily bad, it can be improved in places and surely the stretch down Rice Blvd would be better if some of the newer centers had addressed some of the walk-ability issues with more "elegant" design.  The problem is in assuming that all the Village is bad.

 

Edited by arche_757
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What you're saying is this: Rice Village Arcade - and the Village shopping areas within a few blocks are dumpy.  You want them gone.

 

I would argue there is PLENTY of space immediately north of the Village that would allow 4+ floor residential above retail spaces that wouldn't destroy the character of the Village.  Which is casual, welcoming and upscale without the pretentiousness of the Galleria or Highland Village.  Rice Village was - and should remain - Houston's "accessible" shopping district.  I'll agree there can be some remedies made without ruining The Village - one thing would be to close say a block of a lesser street like Times.  Doing that might offer a small park space to be developed between some of the existing shops.  The problem is mitigating the impact on existing shops.  Many of the Village's shops are quite old, and have been around for many years.  We had better see a better development than Hannover at the Village with its nominal retail space if that is the case.

Edited by arche_757

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More like Houston replicating a Mid-west, Southwest small town topology than a "unique" success. Not to mention the entire notion you bring that frontage parking is some lesson in effective urban pedestrian design is completely daft. You are right that it's convenient, but that's the only thing that it has going for it. Frontage parking is nothing more than a modern reproduction of old west/ old small town topology's of the hitching post in front of the small retail or town building. It was simply there as a need to hitch your horse and then quick step into the place you were going into and also to have clear vision of your ride outside.

 

Now simply replace everything, but in a modern context. The saloon or oldwest/oldtown store replaced by stores of that time, horses replaced by cars (i mean we judge a cars speed in "horse power"), and finally the place where you "hitch" your car the parking lot. It's nothing more than that and any way to make it into something more than that is simply trying to recreate something out of nothing.

 

No it is not a lesson of effective urban pedestrian design. It is a historical lesson in street design of that period and nothing more. If you want good street design look at the redevelopments that happened years ago on Gray st. and Bagby. Now that is street design with the balance of dominating pedestrian presence meets needs of the automobile, meets a sense of place, meets nature, meets mid-rise. It's all there and then some. There are plenty others around the state and the country on what is effective design.

 

Your points are well stated and well taken.  Although, to echo the others, what made the Village unique was the collection of independent shops.  Also, and this is easily overlooked, it grew up to serve the neighborhood with day-to-day needs, not chic boutiques.  It even had two supermarkets.  

 

All that said, I recognize that re-creating something like the Village would be a tough haul.  There's just not a big demand for the kind of shops that used to be there.  Obviously independent bookstores and record stores are no longer needed, and the small independent groceries, butchers, drug stores, "five and dimes", toy stores etc that were there have been replaced by jumbo national chain versions.  So I own that I might be wrong, and the the Village's future might better lie with "aspirational retailers" and the like.  

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The Village needs to form a district (perhaps there already is one?).  That district would then charge member fees, which would be applied towards landscaping/beautification projects.  Parking requirements and landscape requirements need to be addressed by this district - beyond what CoH mandates.  This would go some distance to alleviating the concerns of a someone like a Luminare.  Eliminating just 1 out of 10 parking spaces and planting a tree or other landscaping would drastically change that district too.  Plus the addition of another parking garage - as mentioned before - would be helpful.

 

Edited by arche_757

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Don't get me wrong everyone I like the shops that are already there and I want it to still have a more local feel, but just want it to really reach its full potential to meet the needs of a growing city. That is all. Definitely should try to keep what character the area does have. My biggest compliant again is frontage parking, but if anyone has seen my posts before then you know I detest the myth that is frontage parking :P

 

I completely agree with you arche_757 that this area should definitely form its own district.

 

To counter H-Town man's argument about if this area needs to be an urban core, the fact is that Houston is so spread out and so large that ideally you should have several "urban cores" or centralized city centres (of course with variety related to their specific locations not all like city centre (thats just dumb)) scattered/sprinkled around the Houston metro area. Its essentially expanding the concept that was coined in the early 90's which was that of the "satellite" city, but while the satellite city was almost all corporate with little regard to the needs of the locals, with these urban cores you would grow them in a sense to where all the areas around them start to associate more with those cores and not solely rely on the city at large which is just asking for trouble in the next 20-30 years.

 

Back on point. I would certainly word my dialogue exactly how you said it arche_757 :P Certainly my pitch is a bit academic and probably a tad bit radical, but if I have to be the one to shake things up every once in a while then thats fine xD. Not to mention I'm still learning more and more so I'm slowly crafting/honing in my own architectural language. 

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I'd also argue that Rice Village isn't missing residential. I live 8 blocks away and walk there daily. Thousands of people live within walking distance and I know tons of my neighbors who walk to eat, shop, and get their booze on.

 

Also, I'd caution outsiders wanting to upscale the hell outta the place because the demographics are similar to those of River Oaks, Tanglewood, or Memorial. While the people and bank accounts might look similar, there are in fact differences. I am speaking in gross generalizations (because I am a resident and know dozens of others), but people are drawn to this area because it isn't like the other places. I'd hate it if the Village lost what charm remains only to become littered with Restoration Hardwares, Sprinkles, Apple Stores, and more. It's fine as it is. 

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I'd also argue that Rice Village isn't missing residential. I live 8 blocks away and walk there daily. Thousands of people live within walking distance and I know tons of my neighbors who walk to eat, shop, and get their booze on.

 

Also, I'd caution outsiders wanting to upscale the hell outta the place because the demographics are similar to those of River Oaks, Tanglewood, or Memorial. While the people and bank accounts might look similar, there are in fact differences. I am speaking in gross generalizations (because I am a resident and know dozens of others), but people are drawn to this area because it isn't like the other places. I'd hate it if the Village lost what charm remains only to become littered with Restoration Hardwares, Sprinkles, Apple Stores, and more. It's fine as it is. 

 

Honestly I don't want to upscale it. Again just want some more out of it. If all they did was make the area more walkable, moved all or most parking to a larger central garage, worked on landscaping, and finally some district signage to really nail home that this is a different area of town, or accented it's main gateways then I would be a happy camper. Just as lover of urban environments i as an architectural intern always see improvement in anything lol. If all of the older stuff was still there before the arcade then YES ok keep it, but the Arcade is pure 90's typical suburban bland. Just working in that site alone to enhance the culture that is there already would be wonderful. Doesn't even have to be several stories high. maybe 3 at most so it blends in more. Maybe make the Arcade a true arcade. Arcades are suppose to be prominent center pieces of a market community not bland suburban trite. That area deserves better.

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All that said, I recognize that re-creating something like the Village would be a tough haul.  There's just not a big demand for the kind of shops that used to be there.  Obviously independent bookstores and record stores are no longer needed, and the small independent groceries, butchers, drug stores, "five and dimes", toy stores etc that were there have been replaced by jumbo national chain versions.  So I own that I might be wrong, and the the Village's future might better lie with "aspirational retailers" and the like.  

 

hmmmm... methinks (or at least hopes) that there is a bit of a resurgence in smaller, independent retailers.  Sure, the record store has probably gone the way of the blacksmith as a matter of technology - but look at all the farmers markets sprouting up, not to mention bricks and sticks places like Revival Market (for the uninitiated, a really good butcher shop with some other odds and ends), growler stores, etc.  

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hmmmm... methinks (or at least hopes) that there is a bit of a resurgence in smaller, independent retailers.  Sure, the record store has probably gone the way of the blacksmith as a matter of technology - but look at all the farmers markets sprouting up, not to mention bricks and sticks places like Revival Market (for the uninitiated, a really good butcher shop with some other odds and ends), growler stores, etc.  

 

A farmers market would be perfect here. Again going to a real arcade type concept. Or even take some examples from places like Florence in Italy. Or take the model that H.E.B has created (it's virtually the same with it's more warehouse industrial look). Instead of an H.E.B it's the same type of design, but built as an open market place with maybe a nice courtyard or plaza in the middle. Now THAT would be unique.

 

And hold the phone there guys. This area is near a college and vintage vinyl is making a comeback :P. Not to mention book stores like barnes and noble are all the rage (the cafe/ media library) kind of thing. Keep the same atmosphere or whatever, but its certainly true that some of these stores need to update with current tastes.

Edited by Luminare

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3rd attempt at replying!  Of course it is Friday the 13th!

 

So after sketching around a bit, I think the Arcade could be made more impressive and certainly change its focus a bit from having every single store with drive-up parking.  Further, I do believe that alleviating the traffic problems would be possible if every entrance and exit didn't exist as it does now.  Particularly facing University.

 

I think I like the idea of closing Kelvin to Times Blvd.  Rework Amherst (maybe even putting a light on Kirby) and focus that as the new entrance to the parking area for the west arcade.  The east arcade open up the parking area from Times (since you don't need a lot of space, and you'd take valuable real estate away by leaving the parking garage access where it is.  Put a light at Times Blvd and Kirby too.  Tear out the old Arcade(s) and link them via some kind of interesting colonnade (that could pay homage to Rice down the street) with canopy covers here and there along the southern side and form that into a two 3 floor buildings with multi-level garages contained therein.  Closing off Kelvin, and putting in new lights on Kirby will instantly reroute some traffic, making it easier to walk around.  Limiting access to the parking structures to Times and Amherst would open up the focus towards Morningside and University a bit.

 

Sounds drastic, and it would change the Village a bit, but all in all I think it wouldn't be too damaging.  I'd also demo that existing spa and make that a larger park space perhaps?  Maybe even put some parking under it?

 

I think it would leave enough of the original Village intact, and would help some businesses by moving more people down less busy streets, while allowing more pedestrian spaces on the University and Morningside Frontage.  Maybe a bit too grand?

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Maybe a bit too grand?

 

As long as we're dreaming, dream big.

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3rd attempt at replying!  Of course it is Friday the 13th!

 

So after sketching around a bit, I think the Arcade could be made more impressive and certainly change its focus a bit from having every single store with drive-up parking.  Further, I do believe that alleviating the traffic problems would be possible if every entrance and exit didn't exist as it does now.  Particularly facing University.

 

I think I like the idea of closing Kelvin to Times Blvd.  Rework Amherst (maybe even putting a light on Kirby) and focus that as the new entrance to the parking area for the west arcade.  The east arcade open up the parking area from Times (since you don't need a lot of space, and you'd take valuable real estate away by leaving the parking garage access where it is.  Put a light at Times Blvd and Kirby too.  Tear out the old Arcade(s) and link them via some kind of interesting colonnade (that could pay homage to Rice down the street) with canopy covers here and there along the southern side and form that into a two 3 floor buildings with multi-level garages contained therein.  Closing off Kelvin, and putting in new lights on Kirby will instantly reroute some traffic, making it easier to walk around.  Limiting access to the parking structures to Times and Amherst would open up the focus towards Morningside and University a bit.

 

Sounds drastic, and it would change the Village a bit, but all in all I think it wouldn't be too damaging.  I'd also demo that existing spa and make that a larger park space perhaps?  Maybe even put some parking under it?

 

I think it would leave enough of the original Village intact, and would help some businesses by moving more people down less busy streets, while allowing more pedestrian spaces on the University and Morningside Frontage.  Maybe a bit too grand?

 

well I'm about to leave work. maybe I can come up with a couple sketches of my own :P Some of these ideas could certainly work.

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Well, I always thought there was coherence in the district...a classy white-on-black typeface for every shop, even if it's a national chain.

 

I'm not opposed to national chains, I just hope that they don't change Rice Village all that much. For what it's worth, I love just walking around it. It's lost some stuff, like that little hardware store that closed about five years ago or the five and ten, but British Isles is cool, 10000 Villages has other locations but still seems like a right fit for it, and other stores that just won't work elsewhere because they're so specialized (a store of leotards, for instance--but in looking them up, they've closed too--not that I would've ever gone there of course, but you get the idea)

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Sure, sure!  The secret is out!  IronTiger prefers leotards to regular pants!

 

My "proposal" was aimed at the Village Arcade, and not the rest of the Village.  Adding a few stop lights (or is it lites?) and a larger parking garage would help.  Doing away with some of the entrances along Kirby/University/Morningside will also allow safer pedestrian areas.

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Sure, sure!  The secret is out!  IronTiger prefers leotards to regular pants! 

 

My "proposal" was aimed at the Village Arcade, and not the rest of the Village.  Adding a few stop lights (or is it lites?) and a larger parking garage would help.  Doing away with some of the entrances along Kirby/University/Morningside will also allow safer pedestrian areas.

(you forgot to put a  :P  there, buddy...)

 

Anyway...wasn't the Arcade actually supposed to be built for chains, though?

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To counter H-Town man's argument about if this area needs to be an urban core, the fact is that Houston is so spread out and so large that ideally you should have several "urban cores" or centralized city centres (of course with variety related to their specific locations not all like city centre (thats just dumb)) scattered/sprinkled around the Houston metro area. Its essentially expanding the concept that was coined in the early 90's which was that of the "satellite" city, but while the satellite city was almost all corporate with little regard to the needs of the locals, with these urban cores you would grow them in a sense to where all the areas around them start to associate more with those cores and not solely rely on the city at large which is just asking for trouble in the next 20-30 years.

 

 

Shouldn't these scattered urban cores be on proposed rail corridors?

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Rice holds a large Farmer's Market every Tuesday in the massive parking lot just West of Rice Stadium fronting Greenbrier St. 

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Well, this is Houston after all. So the only opinion that counts is that of the property owners' who need to make a return on their investment. In order to do that, they need to upscale, and bring in national chains who can afford higher rents. Some of us will miss the charm and stop going there, but a larger number of people will like the convenience and patronize the Restoration Haresres, Sprinkles and Apple stores.

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Shouldn't these scattered urban cores be on proposed rail corridors?

 

Essentially yes. It's a good way to future plan for when options like that start to come about. Mostly it just gives a centralized location to many of the suburbs that are essentially just floating out there at the periphery.

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I am new to this board after lurking for the last several years. 

 

Rice Village is a fabulous conglomeration of independently-owned businesses with a small core group who have formed their own business alliance, http://thericevillage.org/.

 

As such, there is no central planning for The Village area.  The ideas floated in this forum are really fantastic, it just takes the energy of a motivated few to raise the kind of money needed to implement any of them.  The walkability of The Village is arguably the very best in the entire Houston metro area.  The next phase of development hopefully will retain the charm, character and history of the area rather than make The Village into a fabricated Main Street similar to developments in The Woodlands or other suburban malls. Now, don't get me wrong, those are great additions to those suburbs (btw, I love the waterway concept and the development it brings with it).  But, none of them have what Rice Village already has going for it.

 

The recommendations in this forum for a parking garage near the heart of The Village are absolutely right on the money.  The amazing success of the Hanover building is proof that new development with commercial/residential space can work very well alongside the existing infrastructure.  Rice Blvd, between Kirby and Greenbriar, is the heart and soul of The Village.  You want a coffee, check!  Sandwich or croissant, check!  Beer or wine, check!  Massage, check!  Baby stroller, check!  In fact, you can even find emergency medical care if you have too much to eat/drink/shop!  What more can you ask for????  Decent sidewalks and a multi-story parking garage would be the foundation for this next phase of development.

 

I will be happy to accept donations.   :)    

 

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Essentially yes. It's a good way to future plan for when options like that start to come about. Mostly it just gives a centralized location to many of the suburbs that are essentially just floating out there at the periphery.

Point being, Rice Village isn't on one, and won't be anytime soon. There is a limit to how urban this area can get.

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I don't think anything should be done to what is arguably the most urban area in Houston and now that residential has been added its almost complete. The only thing that is missing and sorely needed is a small grocery store along the lines of a Trader Joes or something like it. It would definitely be used by Southampton and wet U. I don't want to see a Kroger or HEB flagship though. That would be overkill. Then you would have the perfect place to live. Everything is at your footsteps. I walk from my office over to Jasons,  Potbelly, or Local, several times a week although it's starting to get a little more humid and I work on Sunset, so not as much but if I chose to live in Hanover I could walk to anything I needed.

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I don't think anything should be done to what is arguably the most urban area in Houston and now that residential has been added its almost complete. The only thing that is missing and sorely needed is a small grocery store along the lines of a Trader Joes or something like it. It would definitely be used by Southampton and wet U. I don't want to see a Kroger or HEB flagship though. That would be overkill. Then you would have the perfect place to live. Everything is at your footsteps. I walk from my office over to Jasons,  Potbelly, or Local, several times a week although it's starting to get a little more humid and I work on Sunset, so not as much but if I chose to live in Hanover I could walk to anything I needed.

 

Completely disagree, except for the grocery store part (which, I agree, is very much needed!). The Village Arcade is suburban in scale and footprint. It needs to be better oriented towards pedestrians with parking better situated towards the center. It needs better public space(s), green space, and parking. It needs added density -- possibly residential, hospitality, etc. And, it's just plain ugly! Hanover did a great job. Village Arcade could be even better!

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Okay, I agree with the green space and since the arcade is already there and it doesn't really work that well I'll give you that, but I think the little mom and pop stores and the way Main street or Rice feels should remain the way it has always been. I think that  part of the special qualities that have made the village so popular is its quaintness. They really do need to figure out a way to create a nice size park now that residential has come in. Probably somewhere between Rice and Sunset are the only logical areas left to be affective for all of the residential. The village association is not the Upper Kirby District however and I don't think they are driven as is UKD.

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Yeah, the issue in the Village is the suburban-style Arcade development itself, not the little 50's era retail buildings. 

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Well, this is Houston after all. So the only opinion that counts is that of the property owners' who need to make a return on their investment. In order to do that, they need to upscale, and bring in national chains who can afford higher rents. Some of us will miss the charm and stop going there, but a larger number of people will like the convenience and patronize the Restoration Haresres, Sprinkles and Apple stores.

 

*Subdude runs screaming from the room*  

 

I would point out that the Restoration Hardwares of the world aren't really "upscale".  They are really much more middlebrow with high prices.  "Bourgeois" would be the mot juste.  Pottery Barn and the ilk.  

 

I would still prefer retailers like the Model Train Shop, Garden & Gate, Lisle Violins, World Toys, Antone's, British Isles or Alfred's Deli.  

 

 

 

I don't think anything should be done to what is arguably the most urban area in Houston and now that residential has been added its almost complete. The only thing that is missing and sorely needed is a small grocery store along the lines of a Trader Joes or something like it. It would definitely be used by Southampton and wet U. I don't want to see a Kroger or HEB flagship though. 

 

For many years there were two smaller format grocery stores in the Village:  Weingarten and Rice, so presumably a grocery could make it.  Trader Joe's is unlikely because they have their existing store close by on Shepherd.  Perhaps Sprouts might be a fit?

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Well, this is Houston after all. So the only opinion that counts is that of the property owners' who need to make a return on their investment. In order to do that, they need to upscale, and bring in national chains who can afford higher rents. Some of us will miss the charm and stop going there, but a larger number of people will like the convenience and patronize the Restoration Haresres, Sprinkles and Apple stores.

 

I think this "larger number of people" already has Highland Village, etc. I also disagree about the numbers... I think most people around a college campus want something more than an outdoor Katy Mills.

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Knowing my college, the immediate "retail" area is almost exclusively bars. There's a military surplus store, a CVS, a few sketchy convenience stores, and a tiny vintage clothing store that's accessed through a steep spiral staircase. I wish it was more like Rice Village in at least a few aspects (ethnic restaurants, please)

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For many years there were two smaller format grocery stores in the Village:  Weingarten and Rice, so presumably a grocery could make it. 

 

Also JMH, which wasn't in the Village but was within shouting distance in West U. 

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Rice's grocery store: did it close before, after, or during the time the remaining Rice stores were converted to Rice Epicurean? I *think* I read it was 2001, which was while one of my cousins went to Rice, so I'll have to ask her (no, not the two I've mentioned before, "E" has moved to New England and married, "J" has since left Rice and lives in Pearland with his wife and dog, "L" still goes to Rice as a grad student)

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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)
 
 

 

 

2500 Dunstan is only ~2 acres.  Does that mean that the land at University and Greenbriar is available for future mixed use as well?

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http://www.bizjournals.com/houston/blog/breaking-ground/2014/09/renovation-on-tap-for-rice-village-as-new-manager.html

 

Rice Management Co. recently purchased 193,000-square-feet of retail space in Rice Village for an undisclosed price with plans to renovate the property and attract new tenants.

 

Trademark Property Co. has been hired to oversee the property’s management, leasing and repositioning of the three buildings, which are known as Village Arcade and includes 50 stores and restaurants. It is working on a five-year plan that will include improvements to the landscape, pedestrian walkways, site amenities and building facades.

The property currently has a vacancy rate of about 10 percent, but future plans could also add more space to the plan.

“We will also investigate opportunities to add density and integrate other nonretail uses and possibly some common gathering areas and open space to the plan,” saidTommy Miller, managing director at Trademark.

Miami-based Duany Plater Zyberk is designing the master plan for the project.RTKL, which has offices around the world, and Boulder-Colorado-based Stantec are assisting with the design. A general contractor has not been selected.

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Thanks for sharing. Im surprised to hear people say that if only it was only more like Highland Village, then it would be cheaper and more pedestrian friendly. Perhaps we should also petition the city to make University a seven lane road to make the area more pedestrian friendly as well.

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Thanks goodness...I hate those columns.  Will be interesting to see what they come up with to individualize the storefronts

 

The only reference to Highland Village was to the storefronts there, which are undeniably more visually appealing than the Village Arcade.  Breaking up that blandness for what sounds like a minimal investment sounds great to me

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