The ambitious mixed-use “eco urban” project shown here — intended for the site of the former AstroWorld — was the idea of a south Florida developer who had the property under contract for an extended period of time, a source tells Swamplot. Called Epicentre Houston, Vantage Plus Corp.’s gargantuan development was meant to be a “city within a city” — combining typical mixed-use elements (1.6 million sq. ft. of shops, 5.2 million sq. ft. of offices, 1500 hotel rooms, and 1840 residences) with 1.9 million sq. ft. of medical space, all within walking distance of Reliant Park, the light-rail line, and the South Loop Sam’s Club.
The developer was scheduled to close on the property approximately 5 months ago, but was unable to, says the source. The 104-acre lot just south of the South Loop has since been sold to Fort Worth developer Michael Mallick, who doesn’t appear to be hiding any fancy renderings of transparent banana-shaped multipurpose buildings up his sleeve.
Oh, but what might have been! More zoomy images of the theme-park redo:
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The complex plan for Vantage Plus’s now-defunct project was developed by Miami’s UrbanicaGroup and the local office of SWA Group, working with Buro Happold engineers.
Retail and office spaces are huddled in a triangular area at the northwest portion of the site; the southeast triangle is the residential and medical zone. A new Epicentre Blvd. cuts through the site from corner of Kirby and West Bellfort diagonally to Fannin, just below the Loop.
A central component of the design is a “three story folded structure + softscape” — a green surface that conceals parking and service areas, connects various levels across the site, and descends into retention ponds at the edges of the central boulevard.