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West Ave: Retail and Residential Complex in Upper Kirby


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That's a coin toss on that one.

I think it would have gotten lost in downtown, especially considering HP, here it stands out, and caters to the RO crowd.

The architecture on this thing far exceeded my early expectations. At night the exterior lighting is amazing.

When does the first retail portions open? I'm anxious to check some of the restaurants out when they come to be.

that's a good point but i'm just longing for some (more) residential/retail downtown like I think we all are!

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New signage looks great.        

Yes, they do if they are managed well. That is a complete generalization I have to say. In order for the city to achieve density it need to have a great mix of many things, and rental properties a

Trust me.. you don't want other developers emulating this developer. There are some ate up aspects to this project that I wish I could share.

From a design standpoint.. its okay.. but that praise should be directed towards whatever architect they hired.

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  • 4 months later...

Friend of mine just moved in a few weeks ago and I was quite impressed with it, I was a bit taken aback by how the walkways and some of the interior designs.

Was only able to get this one shot so far from the parking lot inside, but I'll see what I can get next time.

P1000307.jpg

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I actually took some pics about two weeks ago, but am having issues with imageshack. How can I upload to HAIF, anyway?

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Ok, I finally got Imageshack to work properly! I didn't want to use up too much of HAIF's bandwith and all.

Anyway, I took these pics sometime around New Years.Still quite empty, but they were putting the finishing touches on everything.

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According to this article in the Houston Chronicle one more lease will be filled by Tootsies, 34,000 sq ft of it on the ground level opening in about a year. They're hoping a monkey see monkey do effect with filling the rest of the retail space following Tootsies.

After nearly three decades as a Highland Village institution, Tootsies is relocating to West Ave, the new mixed-use development at the southwest corner of Westheimer and Kirby.

The Tootsies announcement marks the first major retail lease at West Ave, whose shop space has sat partially leased yet vacant amid a national recession where many national retailers stopped expanding and others couldn't get financing to open new stores.

A high-end boutique like Tootsies is likely to get the attention of other fashion boutiques and provide an energy boost to the project, which has nearly 200,000 square feet of retail space and almost 400 upscale apartments.

“It already has turned the heads of other prospective retailers,” said David Fitch, president and CEO of Atlanta-based Gables Residential, which is developing West Ave with Northwestern Mutual.

While the tenant roster has changed over the past year or so, about 40 percent of the retail space is leased, according to Gables. The first tenants will open this summer.

Tenants include Zaika, an Indian cafe from Houston restaurateur Anita Jaisinghani of Indika; Cru, a wine bar and cafe; Eddie V's, an Austin-based seafood, steak, and live music concept; Rome, a day spa and salon; and a new restaurant and lounge concept by Ad West, a group known for operating The Drake and Red Door in Houston.

When Tootsies opens in its new digs a year from now, it will be leaving Highland Village, a prominent outdoor shopping center that runs along both sides of Westheimer near Weslayan.

But the vacancy shouldn't be difficult to fill, local retail experts said.

“When most retailers come to Houston looking for street retail, that's the first place they want to be,” said Blake Tartt III president of New Regional Planning.

Highland Village CEO Haidar Barbouti said the old Tootsies building will be demolished and 100,000 square feet of multi-level retail space with underground parking will be developed in its place.

“With Tootsies' departure, we are excited to announce the next phase in the modernization and expansion of Highland Village,” Barbouti said.

In its new home, Tootsies will occupy 34,000 square feet on West Ave's ground level at Westheimer and Kirby.

Architecture firm Gensler is designing the space, which will be under construction this summer.

The new Tootsies location will provide more room to house the store's fashions, owner Mickey Rosmarin said.

“By moving to West Ave, Tootsies will offer shoppers a fresh retail experience.”

The deal with Tootsies has been in the works for a while.Fitch wouldn't discuss the terms of the lease.

In today's economy, some landlords have to get aggressive to fill their empty spaces. Many retailers stopped expanding when the country went into a recession and perks like free rent and build-out allowances have grown.

“The financial responsibility of landlords has increased,” said Fitch, adding that tenants that sign onto projects early on typically get more favorable deals.

While Fitch said it's taken longer to finalize deals with retailers, the apartments at West Ave have leased faster than the company expected.

The residential component is 70 percent leased for rents that average $2 per square foot, though the company is offering concessions.

“From a financial modeling standpoint, the project looks similar as originally conceived,” said Fitch, who declined to reveal the project's development cost.

Construction on West Ave is nearly complete.

Designed by Looney Ricks Kiss, the first two floors of the seven-story brick, stucco and cast stone development include two floors of retail space comprising 190,000 square feet for more than 50 storefronts and underground parking.

The top levels have 389 high-end apartments ranging in price from $1,400 to more than $3,000 per month.

“It's truly going to be the first urban project like this,” said Nick Hernandez of Page Partners, which is leasing the retail space.

One falsehood I see in this article is they mention underground parking... there is a massive parking garage... but nothing underground. Minor details.

On a side note...

For now it seems that the Phase II expansion is on hold for obvious reasons... but I'm wondering, as discussed earlier on this thread, what will become of the Chuy's property? Personally I'm most excited for the new restaurants seeing as how they are practically within walking distance from me.

Edited by Geoff8201
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It's about time Tootsies signed a lease. They have been dragging their heels for a year, antsy that nobody else was signing.... And this was causing a rippling effect because so many planned tenants were waiting to sign until they knew the pseudo anchor Tootsies had signed.

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Actually, the majority of the retail parking is underground beneath the Kirby/Kipling building and the building behind it.

Ah, I stand corrected. I didn't recall any underground work when they first started, but you are right. I took another look, even the master plan for the first level on the West Ave. website indicates the retail parking goes down to basement level(s). That's good, can never have too much parking, kinda makes it more Galleriaesque in that way.

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Landing Tootsies is huge. There are generations of uppity women who shop there exclusively. I could see several other retailers tag along after this announcement.

Agree, but this goes back to the idea of high-end retail saturation. All Tootsies is doing is moving a mile or so down the road--not adding a second store, and leaving a large hole in Highland Village in the process. Between Highland Village, West Ave and the eventual Regent Square, how much growth can we reasonably expect? I'm not seeing a net gain, just empty older space. Even wealthy people can only do so much shopping in a 5 mile radius.

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  • 2 months later...

So are there any stores open here yet? Are they even done with construction? It's been a long time since I've been by.

Hmm, well I guess those are valid questions...

I don't think yet officially.

Yes, with exception of the store and restaurant interiors. The exterior IMO looks amazing, especially at night, it makes this intersection and this section of Kirby something to behold.

Residents have been moving in, I have a good view of the garage and its looking much fuller.

After this event I'll post what I see, I wonder where this Menu of Menu thing is actually going to take place within West Ave... still empty retail area perhaps? Guess I'll find out.

EDIT: From the West Ave site:

Coming Soon- May 2010

Rome - romedayspa.com

Coming Soon – Fall 2010

Zaika – indikausa.com

Cru – cruawinebar.com

Eddie V’s – eddiev.com

Ad West

Coming Soon – January 2011

Tootsies – tootsies.com

Edited by Geoff8201
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EDIT: From the West Ave site:

Coming Soon- May 2010

Rome - romedayspa.com

Coming Soon – Fall 2010

Zaika – indikausa.com

Cru – cruawinebar.com

Eddie V’s – eddiev.com

Ad West

Coming Soon – January 2011

Tootsies – tootsies.com

Yikes, and their website says there are 50 store fronts. So in year, they will still have 44 empty retail spaces?

no bueno

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Yikes, and their website says there are 50 store fronts. So in year, they will still have 44 empty retail spaces?

no bueno

Don't think so. Unlike Houston Pavilions (downtown is still considered a deadzone for the serious retail shopper), West Ave is right across the street from River Oaks, and only a few miles from Rice Village, Highland Village and The Galleria. This is prime retail space for sure.

Also, I think enough Houstonians have been to Dallas and been jealous of how nicely the uptown developments have come together there. They want spaces like that in central Houston. Now we finally have one.

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Don't think so. Unlike Houston Pavilions (downtown is still considered a deadzone for the serious retail shopper), West Ave is right across the street from River Oaks, and only a few miles from Rice Village, Highland Village and The Galleria. This is prime retail space for sure.

Also, I think enough Houstonians have been to Dallas and been jealous of how nicely the uptown developments have come together there. They want spaces like that in central Houston. Now we finally have one.

You're thought is that even though there's only been a few retail announcements that they're gonna be picking up real soon?

With all the stuff Obama has been doing with taxes etc, I've heard rumblings that we could go into another mini dip recession. Of course that's just one school of thought, but who knows. I'd still be very cautiously optimistic that we're coming out of the recession.

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Yikes, and their website says there are 50 store fronts. So in year, they will still have 44 empty retail spaces?

no bueno

Actually, if Tootsies is indeed going to take over 34,000 sq feet of space, then it's more space than any pre-allotted amount and will most likely reduce the total number of store fronts down from the original 50 or so (biggest I see according to the original plans is 12,000+ sq feet.

Also looking at the floor plan Level 1 and Level 2 There are allotted spaces (prior to construction) for Wildfish, Social House, The Pie Bar, Swig, and a Microplex. If those are indeed still going to be present then that cuts it down to 39. Not sure the status on any of these, but they are on the plans...

One thing I wish they would have is a nice pool hall. There's really nothing super close to this area now, the Slick Willies on 59 between Weslayan and Buffalo isn't there and the only other place for pool super close in the 77098 or 77027 zip is Harlow's inside the Edwards Grand Palace movie theater. If I'm wrong please enlighten me, I miss playing pool...

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One thing I wish they would have is a nice pool hall. There's really nothing super close to this area now, the Slick Willies on 59 between Weslayan and Buffalo isn't there and the only other place for pool super close in the 77098 or 77027 zip is Harlow's inside the Edwards Grand Palace movie theater. If I'm wrong please enlighten me, I miss playing pool...

There is a Slick Willies there on Westheimer near Montrose

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Thanks fates, I knew of that one but wasn't sure if there was something closer eluding me... been a while, and been forever since I went to that particular one... it's about time though, I think.

So the Menu of Menu thing was pretty cool. Parked in the retail portion of the garage underground... they have a pretty big garage, really tall ceilings, lots of space, and escalators right up into the heart of it all.

The event took place on the ground level of Building 1 on the north half of it. So far just one big open unfinished space, but it served the purpose very well. It was super packed for a little bit, took me 20 minutes to get Sushi at the Sushi King table, but for $35 to enter and try all that food and wine (maybe I had too much wine?) it was a good time. They had a live band playing outside which was a nice touch.

Houston Press had some photos from last night Here but they are mostly to promote the event and the food, but you get s few glimpses of West Ave here and there.

Edited by Geoff8201
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  • 1 month later...

after seeing what i posted above and then reading nancy's article again, i wonder if that phase 3 might be a tower of some kind. There's not enough room to building anything else except maybe two or three levels of an extension of phase I. What do yall think? looks prime for a hotel or condo tower if you ask me :)

Also, there's TONS of room for Phase II (WAY more than Phase I)...can't wait to see what they come up for that. The rendering we have now looks tiny compared to the amount of land available.

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/business/sarnoff/5448931.html

The developers are looking at nearby tracts for what could lead to a hotel, office space, condo tower and more shopping space.
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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...
West Ave’s 390 apartment units leased briskly and are 93 percent occupied today. But the 198,000 square-foot retail portion of West Ave – an estimated 50 store fronts on the first two floors of the project – leased at a slower pace.

http://culturemap.com/newsdetail/08-01-10-mixed-use/

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Top-of-the-market apartments do tend to lease fast provided a couple of months of concessions and--oh yeah--19 months to lease up. I'd also point out that Bivins is citing units that are pre-leased, not occupied. Occupancy is 89% (meaning that average monthly absorption was 18 units, not especially impressive). The percentage of both leased and occupied units is actually down since having peaked this July.

Come on Ralph, I know you're a better writer than this. Is it that you think that stroking some egos will help you get early leads on breaking stories?

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Top-of-the-market apartments do tend to lease fast provided a couple of months of concessions and--oh yeah--19 months to lease up. I'd also point out that Bivins is citing units that are pre-leased, not occupied. Occupancy is 89% (meaning that average monthly absorption was 18 units, not especially impressive). The percentage of both leased and occupied units is actually down since having peaked this July.

Come on Ralph, I know you're a better writer than this. Is it that you think that stroking some egos will help you get early leads on breaking stories?

Maybe I've asked you this before, but where do I find out the occupancy rates of a certain place? An insider or a website? I need to bookmark if a website.

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Maybe I've asked you this before, but where do I find out the occupancy rates of a certain place? An insider or a website? I need to bookmark if a website.

If you want to pay money, you can get an account with Reis, ADS, or O'Connor & Associates.

Otherwise, call them, sound professional, and ask. Didn't you work at VCR? You should be a natural.

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If you want to pay money, you can get an account with Reis, ADS, or O'Connor & Associates.

Otherwise, call them, sound professional, and ask. Didn't you work at VCR? You should be a natural.

what type of company would this professional be working for?

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  • 4 months later...

Found this "updated" site plan for Phase II.

Looks like a hotel with a garage on the far wast side, a office mid-rise on the southwest side, mixed-use (retail/residential) on southern/middle portion (words that have "residential lobby"), two one-story retail/restaurant plats on the far east side, and "retail above" and a "theatre lobby" on the middle/northern portion.

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http://www.page-partners.com/flyers/WestAve/westave_package.pdf

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  • 1 month later...
  • 1 month later...

What? Why? Fashion boutiques are exactly what this development was aiming for.

Understood. Excepting Tootsies - look at the lineup. Two salons, an audio store, and a men's custom clothing shop. Fine for residents that are in the top 1%, but isn't going to bring much foot traffic. I give Bang & Olufsen eight months before they relocate.

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  • Highrise Tower changed the title to West Ave: Retail and Residential Complex in Upper Kirby

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