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If this goes well, it is going to be SWEET! I can see it now...mid rise retail with apartments/lofts facing Post Oak....and other stuff behind it!

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From a HBJ article back in March 04

New group rolls out lofty plan to revamp Pavilion on Post Oak

Nancy Sarnoff

Houston Business Journal

Yet another plan has surfaced to redevelop the enigmatic Pavilion on Post Oak.

And the latest scheme includes just about every concept ever proposed for the beleaguered shopping center on Post Oak Boulevard between San Felipe and Westheimer.

The newest proposition -- currently being shopped around to banks and mortgage brokers -- includes almost 2 million square feet of space.

The plan consists of two condominium towers, a five-star hotel, office space, retail space, a private leisure and dining club, an entertainment venue, a culinary arts center and meeting facilities.

The $353 million proposal is the work of a newly formed group called Urban Resorts Development LP.

The principals include Fenner Weller Jr. of local broker-dealer shop Weller, Anderson & Co.; Gene Duckworth; and Boston-based Robert Bryant, formerly of real estate consulting firm Economics Research Associates.

The Jerde Partnership International Inc.; Rosewood Hotels & Resorts; Boulder, Colo.-based CommArts Inc.; architecture giant Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum; Economic Research Associates; and general contractor E.E. Reed/Beers Skanska are also mentioned as members of the project team.

An investment package obtained by the Houston Business Journal outlines the lofty development, dubbed RivaPlace.

Some 220 residential units will be housed in two towers.

The residents would receive 24-hour access to the hotel facilities and services, including housekeeping, laundry and room services as well as multi-lingual concierges, doormen, security and valet parking.

The hotel could include 175 rooms, including 53 suites, and additional condominiums for sale.

The materials say that after the Houston development, the team will consider launching similar projects in such cities as Miami, Atlanta, Boston, San Diego, London and Berlin.

When asked to comment on the Houston deal, partner Weller shared few details, as his team is still on a fundraising mission.

"The concept is an urban resort," Weller says. "It will be very friendly to the individual -- a lot of greenery, not too concrete intensive."

One name was oddly absent from the package: Mishael Radom.

The head of Houston-based Radler Enterprises Inc. has owned the 13-acre Pavilion property for years.

In the past, Radom has been in talks with numerous developers and hotel operators, but the center has remained as a retail and restaurant hub.

The two-level enclosed mall, with an underground parking garage, contains more than 286,000 square feet of space.

Some of the tenants include Americas Restaurant, Esther Wolf, Hermes of Paris and Hunan Restaurant.

Radom could not be reached for comment.


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A little more background from June 20th of last year:

Two developers face off in battle across the street


Copyright 2004 Houston Chronicle

ON a busy strip of Post Oak Boulevard, a retail war is taking shape.

A pair of developers has purchased rival shopping centers on opposite sides of Post Oak at the San Felipe intersection.

On one side of the street is Fashion Square, owned by Wulfe & Co. The 42,000-square-foot strip mall is home to Eatzi's, Cafe Annie and a few small boutiques.

On the other side is Levcor's Post Oak Plaza. Tenants include Linens 'n Things, Luby's and California Pizza Kitchen, to name just a few.

The developers are planning to overhaul their centers in an effort to spiff up the properties and draw more big-name tenants.

Currently these centers, just a few blocks from Houston's ultimate retail landmark the Galleria, are low-slung and forgettable.

While the developers are not showing all their cards, speculation is that both centers will be turned into multilevel structures with parking garages.

When renovations are completed, the centers' new designs could mark the beginnings of a major shift in the way shopping centers are built in Houston.

Historically, Houstonians have shunned multistory strip centers with parking garages.

Most of us are used to parking and walking just a few steps to our destinations without having to climb stairs or wait on elevators.

But land prices have reached a point in this part of town where developers can't make much money if they build just one level of leasable space and a huge parking lot.

Scott Shillings, vice president of Staubach Retail, said multistory retail developments with structured parking are the wave of the future.

"In your very urban areas, that's what life is all about these days," said Shillings.

Competition promises to be lively between the developers, who have big reputations to live up to.

"We're probably both talking to the same people," said Joan Collum of Levcor, which just bought the 128,000-square-foot Post Oak Plaza.

Levcor is meeting with national tenants about leasing space in a newly renovated Post Oak Plaza, which "needs some updating," Collum said.

Indeed, the center was built in the 1960s, and its design is, well, uninspired.

Some of the larger tenants have good frontage on Post Oak and San Felipe, but most of the stores sit back from the street, hidden by a sea of cars.

Collum said parts of the center could be torn down to make way for a multilevel retail center. A parking garage also could be in the mix.

But such changes will be tricky. Many of the tenants at the Post Oak center have leases that don't expire for a while, so it would be difficult to make wholesale changes.

"There are a lot of moving parts in that center," Collum said.

But the project across the street is primed for a change.

Houston retail developer Wulfe & Co. bought Fashion Square earlier this year. And unlike Post Oak Plaza, tenants are said to have cancellation provisions written into their leases.

Without giving specifics, president Ed Wulfe said a plan to redevelop the center is in the works.

Sources familiar with the project say the existing property will be torn down and a two- or three-story center built in its place.

Wulfe is said to be acquiring additional land along the street behind the center to make more room for a larger project.

Other developers are finding alternative ways to provide more parking without asking customers to change their habits

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I will bet that it won't look like that picture. They already are saying just one highrise.

Where in the today's article does it specify one highrise? It appears to me that the plans are not yet that specific. It mentions "several hundred high-rise residential units, a hotel, four-story apartments and brownstones". They never say that they are going to put several hundred high-rise residential units and a hotel all in one building. It may well involve several high-rise structures. Ed Wulfe is a retail developer, not a residential or hotel developer. He will work with, sell or lease land to hotel and residential developers.

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Hmm..As long as they add a bit more variety than the current Uptown offerings. Sure, those Interfin buildings nearby are nicely done, but a slightly more diverse style is needed.

Now..could this be the location of the Turnberry tower? (42 stories)

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But wait, what's going to happen too Eatzi's, I can't survive without my Eatzi's! I won't make it if they tear it down and I have to wait until they build something new!

From the sound of the article they are going to try and keep the businesses there, and it sounds like when they start construction they will try and build a piece, move the retailers, and then start the next piece.

"He hopes the current tenants will relocate to the new development.

Wulfe plans to coordinate the construction schedule so tenants won't suffer while the pro-ject is being built."

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But wait, what's going to happen too Eatzi's, I can't survive without my Eatzi's! I won't make it if they tear it down and I have to wait until they build something new!

Ditto on that. But with the booming business EatZi's seems to be doing I doubt they'll leave the Uptown Houston market. One way or another I'm sure they'll still be around.

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  • 2 weeks later...

From the HBJ

Wulfe expands Post Oak holdings with Pavilion center

Last week's purchase of the Pavilion on Post Oak clears the way for Wulfe & Co. to demolish a total of 21 acres in the heart of Houston's prestigious Galleria area to construct a luxury, mixed-use development.

The new project is designed to include an upscale hotel, high-rise residential property, several restaurants and upscale retail stores including a major bookstore. The open-air, pedestrian-friendly project has been in development for more than a year.

Boulevard Partners, a partnership led by Wulfe & Co.'s Ed Wulfe and Bob Sellingsloh, acquired the Pavilion retail center on Post Oak Boulevard between San Felipe and Westheimer last week from Radler Limited Partnership. The sales price was not disclosed.

The 13.24-acre property consist of 286,000 square feet of retail, including Hermes, Americas and Esther Wolf.

Wulfe and Sellingsloh are also general partners in the entity that owns the 8.1-acre Fashion Square retail center, located at the southwest corner of Post Oak and San Felipe. That property, which includes Cafe Annie and Eatzi's Market & Bakery, is adjacent to the Pavilion.

The 8.1 acres actually stretch west of Fashion Square to Skylark Lane, and include wooded land with single-family homes.

Wulfe says the existing buildings on the Pavilion and Fashion Square sites will be demolished, probably beginning in early 2006.

"We have to do it in stages, so everybody can operate while we do it," says Wulfe, who would like to retain all of the existing tenants.

Wulfe, who also redeveloped Meyerland Plaza and Gulfgate Center, wants to lease space to retailers like those in Highland Village. That center includes mid- to upper-end stores, but not ones that have a single exclusive location.

Wulfe plans to talk to a number of hotel operators for the site, confirming that he has already met with Ritz-Carlton.

He seems confident about finding a developer to execute the residential piece of the deal -- whether it encompasses condominiums or apartments.

"The high-rise residential will happen easily," he says. "We've just got to get the right one, designed the right way."

The Pavilion was originally built in 1972 with a Saks Fifth Avenue anchor store, and was expanded in 1988 to include other high-end retailers. The Radler group acquired the center after lenders foreclosed on the property in 1995.

While the retail center has been maintained cosmetically, it has struggled with vacancy issues.

"It didn't have the critical mass of enough traffic generators," explains Wulfe. "Market conditions are different now. Luxury goods this past Christmas were the hot items."

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Oh, and the original had a plan for only 220 residential units. the new one may have SEVERAL HUNDRED units. Could it be..the new one is better than the old proposal?


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  • 4 weeks later...


yeah, riva place.


i live one block over from this area and haven't seen any activity there as of yet.

:) This is nice.

I hope it actually gets built. Maybe, being built in the Galleria area will prompt the Light Rail to speed up plans to extend to that area.......

THEN........maybe midtown will see the success of such a prestigious complex and build something REALLY nice there........

I would love it if this would spark a friendly (who can build the more beautiful complex) war between Uptown and Midtown. How fun..........and pleasing to the eye........and fantastic for the Houston economy.


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Yes, this place is moving forward. I would jump for joy too fast. The first phases will be mostly the retail portions. The towers will be later. Worst case is if the retail doesn't transfer into good profits, it may hinder the residential portions. Although, as long as people will want to live in the proposed towers and put up reservations, they may move forward.

I agree that this would be reall nice in midtown. Possible with the light rail and main street going through it with a current station under it.

Uptown will be a great host to it also. The project will destroy one of the couple of the strip center eyesores in uptown. Strip centers are ok for the burbs, but not as part of the fabric of an urban setting.

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