- 7914 Stratford Hall Dr. [HAR]
Ralph Bivins tells Swamplot that lots of dirt is being shoved around on the foreclosed former site of the WaterLights District project, west of 288 and just south of the Beltway where all those heads of former heads of state used to hang out. Pearland’s Ivy District is now being planted on the site instead: plans for the $300-million development include a multifamily complex, condos, a senior living community, townhomes, office buildings, and room for retail.
Part of the project’s funding will come from the EB-5 visa program, which allows wealthy foreigners and their immediate families to immigrate to the US in exchange for a necessary investment expected to create at least 10 jobs. Sueba USA and Beijing-owned American Modern Green are developing the site; American Modern’s parent company Modern Land of China has worked on projects in China (including Steve Holl’s twisty Linked Hybrid in Beijing) and Vancouver, but the Ivy District is its first US venture.
American Modern Green bought the land straddling the Harris-Brazoria county line back in late 2012 following the 2010 foreclosure. Here’s the breakdown of what will go where, per the current plans on the Ivy District’s website:
COMMENT OF THE DAY: INNER LOOP REUNION OF THE EX-PRESIDENTS’ HEADS “I wish someone would get all of the presidents back together! They are very sad now. A kind donor, say perhaps the magnanimous Landed Gent who always boasts of his splendor here on Swamplot, should cut a deal for the Wilshire Village property and foster the development of a Presidential Park. I’m sure it’s like a buy 20 get one free sort of deal, so maybe we could get that nifty telephone too.” [Bobby Hadley, commenting on Pearland Heads Cut Off: The WaterLight District’s Giant Presidential Bust]
COMMENT OF THE DAY: WHERE THE WATER AND THE MONEY WERE “wow. in 2007 lenders doing 66% debt on raw land. raw land that looks flood prone. wow.” [JPSivco, commenting on Pearland Heads Cut Off: The WaterLight District’s Giant Presidential Bust]
The property intended to be home to the Waterlights District — the proposed mixed-use shopping and eating extravaganzorama in Pearland — has been posted for foreclosure by its main creditor, Amegy Bank. The 1.9 million-sq.-ft. development was to feature condos, luxury apartments, office buildings, retail space, restaurants, 2 hotels, a conference facility, a “water wall,” and a Venice-like “Grand Canal.”
The site, off the Shadow Creek Pkwy. exit on the west side of Hwy. 288, has been marked for more than 2 years now by a curious semicircle of David Adickes sculptures, a preview of the development’s Presidential Park and Gardens. That park was to feature giant white busts of all 38 U.S. Presidents. But unlike Adickes other presidential suite, I-45’s Mount Rush Hour just north of Downtown Houston — in which each of the sculptor’s busts rests on its own podium — in the Waterlights grouping the 7 Presidents moved to the site appear from the freeway to be buried in the earth up to their chests, somehow managing to keep their heads above the often-times-soggy land around them. Yes, it was the perfect marker for a freeway-side development buried in debt and treading quicksand just to keep itself afloat:
The drive-thru mall with extras known as Pearland Town Center opens this Wednesday, at the intersection of 288 and FM 518! But it’ll be so much more than just a collection of chain stores arranged neatly in a giant parking lot:
Sixty-two apartments rest on top of retail stores, giving residents a downtown feel without the hassle of daily traffic. Granite countertops complement the kitchen of each unit along with stainless-steel appliances.
The above-retail units will be available for leasing July 30 while another set of 238 freestanding residential units will be accessible in late 2009. One-bedroom apartments will lease for $1,300 per month, and two-bedroom loft apartments will lease for $1,900 per month.
75-percent of the 85-percent-leased mall will be open Wednesday, reports David Kaplan in the Chronicle.
Plan of Pearland Town Center: CBL & Associates
A reader sent in a larger version of the above photo to the Brazosport News. It shows the first giant presidential heads in place at Pearland’s new Presidential Park. Eventually, the remaining 37-member contingent of very-white sculpted U.S. presidents will join them, and the surrounding swampland will be transformed into a lovely green space, separated from a new shopping, retail, office, and hotel development by . . . a watergate! For now, though, the scene sure does look like only a few presidential giants have managed to keep their heads out of the mud.
The winners of an online vote to select which five of sculptor David Adickes‘s giant busts should be the first to move to the park were Washington, Franklin Roosevelt, Lincoln, Jefferson, and Kennedy — even though more recent Oval Office residents had far better ballot position. But democracy has its limits: Richard Browne, developer of the adjacent Waterlights District, decided to include the statue of former president George H.W. Bush in the first group anyway. All six made their head-turning trip down 288 from Adickes’s First Ward studio on Presidents’ Day.
Missed your chance to participate in the online presidential headcount? A separate ballot asks you to select which chain restaurants you want to appear in the Waterlights District, though its unclear if polling has already been closed.
Read on for a sketch of the Waterlights District, and another view of ex-presidents keeping their noses clean. Plus: a dated image of President John F. Kennedy, cut out of our version of the photo above . . . because he was too far to the right.
Why do we need the Grand Parkway? To connect all those new green-living communities spreading way out into the Texas prairie!
An Arizona development company is master-planning a master-planned community for a tiny 4,000-plus-acre plot in Alvin, linking the Grand Parkway, FM 1462, and highway 288. Yes, that’s bigger than Shadow Creek Ranch.
It’s called Inspiration at Alvin, if you believe the mayor, or Inspiration @ Chocolate Bayou if you believe the Aperion Communities website.
Alvin mayor Gary Appelt announced that the expected population when the project is built out — in 30 years — is 25,000 people. That’s just over six people per acre. No wonder they’re calling it green!
Inspiration is the first lifestyle enhanced sustainable community model ever created. It’s where Aperion’s programs for energy, health, business and transportation are connected directly to your home.
The company website lists the development at a just-slightly larger 5,500 acres, which means residents will have even more room to spread their windmills. Aperion is also threatening a 6,000-acre development called Inspiration @ Lake Houston. All in all, there are five Inspiration communities proposed for Texas and two for New Mexico. That’s more than 36,434 acres of currently wasted farms and ranchland transformed into sustainable, productive living spaces. Go green!
Pearlanders excited about the Dillards, Macy’s, Barnes & Noble, and other typical mall fare that will become available to them when the new Pearland Town Center opens next summer will likely find even more excitement when they learn they’ll be able to drive right up to their favorite stores!
And no, it won’t be a Big Box center. (At least . . . not at first.) It’ll be just like a mall, except it’ll be open-air. It’ll be just like an outlet mall, except the streets will be tighter and more “urban.” It’ll be just like a downtown shopping district, except . . . it’ll be surrounded by a sea of parking!
And just what premium will shoppers be willing to pay for the chance they might be able to grab one of the few head-in spaces right in front of the Great American Cookie Co.? Once they’re in the outer parking areas, will they take a chance and wait patiently in traffic for the possibility there might just be a head-in space available there, or maybe in front of Victoria’s Secret?
Or . . . will all those premium close-in spaces go valet?
How much of a traffic backup will this new mall design cause? More on that, plus more artist renderings of the new mall, after the jump.