Bricks Turn White in the Rice Village as Arcade Makeover Unfolds

Blue Mercury, 2506 University Blvd., Rice Village, Houston, 77005

The western corner space at University Blvd. and Kelvin St. in the Rice Village now has a coat of white paint over its brick facade, though the storefronts to either side have yet to follow suit. The space, last occupied by a Sprint store prior to a multi-year vacancy, appears to be setting up as the next link in the Blue Mercury cosmetics-spa chain, while street and utility work progresses at the corner.

The former Village Arcade (now being rebranded as, simply, the Rice Village) consists of the shopping centers on University on either side of Kelvin St.; the buildings were acquired from Weingarten in 2014 by Rice University, which already owned the land beneath the center and employs the same St. Joe brick in many of its campus buildings. Rice also employs development company Trademark to manage the Arcade property; the company released a few renderings of the first phase of the center’s intended makeover last fall, just before work began:


Rendering of Proposed Rice Village Arcade Renovations, 2506 University Blvd., Rice Village, Houston, 77005

Planned renovations include a new parking management system, and what appear to be some glassy additions to the Kelvin St. side of the western strip:

Rendering of Proposed Rice Village Arcade Renovations, 2506 University Blvd., Rice Village, Houston, 77005

Meanwhile, in the eastern block of the complex, Trademark has booted out Baker St. Pub, which closed its Morningside Dr. branch on January 3rd after 15 years of operation. Trademark’s longer term plans for the former Arcade are intended to eliminate the center’s “master-planned community” feel.

Images: Spencer Howard (photo), Trademark (renderings)

University Redo

9 Comment

  • Painting over brick is a tragedy we will regret in the coming years. Its been going on in residential for a while and I hate to see it happening in commercial centers. While I don’t mind painting over the occasional piss yellow colored bricks, all to many classic looks are getting white or gray washed. A crime was committed when flippers painted over 5155 S Braeswood. On the other hand I am impressed with the fine brick work on the new townhomes at 3767 Bellaire. Im convinced this and the painted furniture trend is a conspiracy started by paint companies on pinterest.

  • This is both a waste of money and also uglier. Why would you take paint good brick white? The natural brick color unified the Village with the rest of campus. I can’t believe Rice University would let this happen.

  • I always have felt that was a nicely designed retail center. Painting the brick, to me is a mistake, but owners at times feel, a fresh look is required. In 10 years they can get a fresh look by discovering there is pretty brick under that paint, and remove it.

  • Judging by this and most of their new and upcoming campus architecture, Rice seems to have gone mad when it comes to aesthetics. They are really doing some ugly stuff.

  • Agree w/all above. Looks cheap, lacks imagination. Just clean, tuck point if needed, and, by the way, change out the well-endowed boar in the fountain. Maybe substitute a bunny.

  • I have a large brick building that I’ve toyed with painting. It’s over 75 years.

    There are some spots of graffiti that the city has insisted I paint over. It would be hard to do without making it look worse (unless I did a huge amount of painting)

  • Horrible! But don’t worry, soon the buildings will be torn down soon to rebuild something bigger and “better”. Its what we do in Houston.

  • I am not normally a fan of painted brick either, but the Village Arcade hardly sports a “classic” look or antique brick. Its design and facade choice was a gigantic middle finger, both out of scale and with differing design sensibilities, to every other part of Rice Village. Yes, its true that in about ten years that the paint will have a slightly grimy and unclean look to it, and IMO that’ll be a modest improvement over what’s there right now.

  • Paint on brick????

    Awk! PLEASE tell me it isn’t so.