Houston Pavilions is to be renamed in honor of 2 urban features the troubled 5-year-old Downtown outdoor mall had so far shunned, its new owners announced yesterday: greenery and streets. The newly dubbed GreenStreet appears to be taking a few cues also from Discovery Green, the younger but far more successful urban attraction a few blocks to the east. Midway, which with Magic Johnson’s Canyon-Johnson Urban Funds bought the 3-block-long mixed-use center out of bankruptcy last August (and the adjacent parking garage on Clay St. between Main and Fannin a few months later), plans 6 to 9 months’ worth of renovations to the property as well, to turn it into a CityCentre-style event hub.
The new design, by Houston architects Muñoz + Albin and the Office of James Burnett, a local landscape firm, will try to soften and connect the 3 separated interior courtyards and make them come across as more park-like. Additional changes won’t exactly make the famously inward-looking mall turn itself inside-out, but they do appear to make a few stabs at poking through to Dallas St., adding signage, storefront windows in some places, and a few outdoor seating areas along its northern edge.
A few of those features are on display in the rendering above, taken from the corner of Dallas and Fannin. There’s some Dallas St. patio seating shown at the replacement for the departed Yao Restaurant, and new windows upstairs. The second-story rotunda that hovers over Fannin St. will somehow become a “public gathering space,” according to the developer. More dramatic changes are planned underneath it: The street will be raised to be level with the sidewalk, and stone-paved crossings will encourage pedestrians passing from one GreenStreet courtyard to the next to brave traffic in the middle of the block.
A similar treatment is planned at the San Jacinto crossing, including additional landscaping and outdoor patios under the bridge at Guadalajara del Centro and House of Blues. The Chronicle‘s David Kaplan reports that Midway hopes to convince city officials to give it permission to close San Jacinto St. (depicted above) during some of the bigger events it plans.
From Main St., visitors hopping off the rail line will find a new water fountain and B-Cycle bike rental station in front, new greenery-bedecking above the escalator, and a few totemic is-this-Houston palm trees astride the new paving. A new exterior skin will show up on the parking garage a block south.
Inside the courtyard, there’ll be more palm trees, pavers in place of the concrete, new wood cladding, more growies on the escalator canopy, and restaurant patio seating.
Midway plans to clear out some building areas from the central courtyard, to remake it into this plaza with a central lawn pinned at the corners by more palms and anchored by a wooden event stage. The elevator shaft behind it will be wrapped in wood; there’ll also be another fountain nearby and more restaurant patios.
The complex’s major signage is reserved for its Caroline St. end, angled toward Discovery Green and signaling a realigning of the Downtown compass. The building’s east end, waving to park-goers and sports fans, is now more likely to be seen as its front entrance. With a new eastern face looking onto 3 sports stadiums, the GRB, and Discovery Green, GreenStreet hopes to be recognized as an event space too.
- Developers announce plans to reinvent Houston Pavilions [Prime Property]
- New name, new look in store for Houston Pavilions downtown [Houston Chronicle ($)]
- Houston Pavilions coverage [Swamplot]