Compare and contrast the 2 images above, which together show the former Village Arcade at University Blvd. west of Kelvin Dr. both as is and as it may become. The rendering above appears in a marketing brochure released earlier this year by Trademark Property, which manages Rice University’s Village-area properties. The brochure shows potential update plans to a number storefronts in the former Village Arcade buildings (which Trademark is collectively rebranding as just “the Rice Village“); the changes range from simple color swaps to major reshaping and remodeling.
The U-shaped patio above, which currently houses a fountain and a bronze copy of the Italian boar statue Il Porcellino, is shown in the corresponding rendering housing tables in front of a round kiosk ringed with bar-style seating. The drawing also depicts those PoMo-style pediments of the second floor facade replaced with a large sign labeling the structure as Rice Village Market. The building also appears to be painted white.
Earlier this year, a previously released rendering from the set got some grounding in reality when the former Sprint storefront on University west of Kelvin was whitewashed, to prep the space for beauty supply shop Blue Mercury:
North of that corner, renderings in the brochure also show glassy updates to the rooftop parking lot access stairs:
Here’s what that same spot on the west side of Kelvin looks like currently, behind the construction fencing blocking off the road from University to Amherst St.:
More white paint appears to be in store for the storefronts to the east, just north of where Amherst dead ends into Kelvin; that strip currently houses Ann Taylor, right next to the shopping center’s Kelvin-side parking garage entrance:
A rendering in the Trademark flyer shows the Ann Taylor space with a new ghostly pallor, though retaining its existing brick patterns. The same drawing also depicts Chico’s in the currently vacant spot next door, just south of the Le Creuset at the far end of the strip:
But that spot may not be where Chico’s is planned to wind up by the end of the center’s renovations. Another set of renderings shows Chico’s back in its current spot on Amherst next to Papyrus, though with a significant reshaping. Here’s how things look at the moment, facing southeast on Amherst toward the intersection with Kelvin:
And here’s the same view of Amherst made over, including a wider pedestrian zone and new landscaping:
Papyrus’s logo appears above a patterned arch decoration that looks a whole lot like the one currently hanging out in the stretch of facade between the 2 stores, over the covered walkway that divides the spaces. That gap is shown in the rendering with a Rice Village Alley label, and appears to be sheltered by a light-admitting cover, shaking up the existing indoor hallway feel:
There’s even an appearance in the brochure by Shake Shack, which announced yesterday morning that it would take over the La Madeleine spot at the corner of Kirby and Amherst as its second Houston location:
The rendering depicts the La Madeleine space going gray and taking a few snips off the top. Here’s the current facade:
A few other store names show up in the renderings, some but not all of which do belong to real businesses:
Boutique glasses store Warby Parker shows up fuzzily in the foreground of the above rendering; the business was mentioned specifically by a Trademark spokesman as a possible (or at least hoped for) tenant, in a December 2014 Houston Chronicle article discussing the property’s planned post-Weingarten redesign. (Other stores mentioned at that time: Toms Shoes, Anthropologie, and Bonobos.)
The logo for women’s clothing shop Madewell also makes an appearance in the renderings, as does a sign for a business just 1 letter off from Dallas-based upscale hunter-gatherer-themed rooftop patio bar HG SPLY CO.:
Here’s a before-photo and an after-rendering showing what appears to be more whitewashing around the Morningside Dr. parking garage entrance, currently flanked by Black Walnut Cafe to the left and D’Amico’s Italian Market Cafe to the right:
That’s the former Baker St. Pub space in the back right, with a wooden privacy screen covering its front entrance (visible just above the stop sign). A comparable rendering angle shows the area in front of D’Amico’s, bar 55, and the Baker St. space sporting a new shade structure, as well as patio seating in an area currently taken up by parking:
Here’s another view, of shops along Times Blvd.:
The brochure includes a map of the existing developments being managed by Trademark (dark blue), along with orange markers of future development plans:
The bulk of that orange-highlighted development looks to be slated for the block north of University Dr., west of Greenbriar Dr. from the Rice Stadium and the Greenbriar parking lot:
Much of the orange-tinted land is currently occupied by only grass or asphalt, though the orange footprint does partially step on the existing Rice development and alumni relations building (shown above to the right), as well as a couple of residential buildings on Chaucer Dr. (above to the left). The grassy lots in the foreground of the shot above also contained homes for decades, prior to their collective demolition by the end of 2007.
- Rice Village Est. 1938 [Trademark]
- Previously on Swamplot: Shake Shack Will Take Over La Madeleine’s Rice Village Space; Bricks Turn White in the Rice Village as Arcade Makeover Unfolds; How Rice University Might Mix Up Its Rice Village Properties