11/06/17 11:00am

THE NEW GALLERIA STORE THAT TRACKS YOUR GLANCES Dwight Silverman explores the tech offerings at products-from-startups-showcase b8ta, which opened in the Galleria last month a couple doors down from the new Saks Fifth Avenue: “The stores are also bristling with cameras, which is common in modern retail stores. However, these cameras — 170 of them in the Galleria store — don’t necessarily capture video. [b8ta CEO Vibhu] Norby said they turn images of individuals into data, and then track them as they move about the store.’ We are not tracking the person’s face, we are tracking the geometry of their face,’ he said. ‘We hash it, then we watch the hash as it’s interacting with products. There’s no identification information; this is just a blob doing these behaviors.’ Behavioral data are then shared with the product makers. Someone who walks into b8ta may look at two or three products before they buy one. Their pathway is provided to b8ta’s vendors.” [Houston Chronicle ($)] Photo: Vibhu Norby

05/17/17 11:30am

Now hanging in the newly remodeled central nook on the Galleria’s curved facade along Westheimer Rd.: these strips of hexagonal rings spotted early last week by a passing bus rider. (That curved wall is where Saks Fifth Avenue used to be, before the store scooted into the boxy new building next door.) The rendering up top was released last fall, around the time Simon Properties confirmed that Nobu and Fig & Olive would be taking up 2 of the 4 restaurant spaces shown.

For comparison, here’s what the entry through the Philip Johnson-designed facade looked like as of last August, after the new windows had been cut (but before the top edge of the facade got trimmed off): 

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Westheimer Faceoff
10/28/16 12:45pm

Rendering of Shake Shack Houston, 5015 Westheimer Rd., Uptown, Houston, 77056

The first Houston Shake Shack will be opening on November 4th near the mall’s new parking lot jewel box pad site, a rep for the New York burger chain announced this morning. On the menu, on top of the usual fare: a handful of concretes made with donuts from Morningstar on N. Main, Houston roaster Greenway Coffee‘s coffee, and baked goods from Fluff Bake Bar on the western edge of Midtown. On the exterior: a living moss wall created by Austin-based Articulture Designs, as seen in the rendering released back in January. The firm designed a plant-covered wall for the Shake Shack that opened in Austin last year as well — here’s a shot of how that one turned out, with an accompanying succulent planter out front:

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Side of Greens
04/07/16 3:15pm

Proposed 30-story tower on former Macy's site, Galleria, Houston, 77056

This morning Simon Property Group released renderings of a planned residential highrise in the Galleria, shown here at the corner of W. Alabama St. and Sage Rd. in what’s left over of the land previously occupied by the mall’s second Macy’s. The tower is slated for the same spot previously colored purple for “future retail/office residences” on one of the developer’s Galleria redo maps back in 2014. (That map didn’t mention a highrise specifically, but previous info on the redevelopment plans floated the idea.) Simon says it plans to break ground on the tower by the end of 2017, with a 2019 or 2020 opening in mind.

The rendered view above looks northeast over the Berachah Church across W. Alabama at the glassy highrise, which may hold somewhere between 75 and 100 residential units atop 220 hotel rooms (with separate amenities areas for permanent and temporary residents). The design shows 2 pool decks; the nearby Westin Galleria’s existing pool can be spotted on the right, past an existing parking garage.

Here’s the view from the other side, looking south down Sage across Westheimer Rd. over the new Saks Fifth Avenue building (set to open at the end of the month):

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One Tower to Live Above the Mall
12/04/15 2:30pm

SIMON SAYS: SHAKE SHACK IS DEFINITELY COMING TO THE GALLERIA Hypothetical Shake Shack, Galleria, Uptown, Houston, 77056 It’s confirmed: A Shake Shack will be coming to the Galleria’s west end (currently undergoing extensive cosmetic procedures that will relocate Saks 5th Avenue and open up new retail space). A description of the project included in a marketing document from mall owner Simon Property Group mentions Shake Shack as one of 35 “luxury retailers and feature restaurants” coming to the reconfigured space. Speculation that the burger chain would make its Houston debut at the Galleria intensified last month following Simon’s publication of a rendering showing the restaurant in place among the mall’s updates. [Simon Property Group] Image: Simon Property Group

What’s Cooking in Uptown?
04/20/15 3:15pm

Framing of Galleria Jewel Box, 5085 Westheimer Rd., Houston

Framing of the new “Jewel Box” on-garage drive-up pad site Galleria add-on has begun. A reader sends in this view from above, showing how the building has been perched onto the next-to-top level of the Blue Garage, which underlies the mall’s parking-lot approach from Westheimer. Westheimer runs from left to right at the top of the photo.

Photo: Swamplot inbox

Drive Up Luxury
02/10/15 11:00am

Construction of Galleria Jewel Box, Galleria, Houston

Construction crews have begun digging into the surface parking lot along Westheimer in front of the Galleria for the construction of the fancy new pad site building mall owner Simon Properties is referring to as the “luxury jewel box.” Foundation work for the structure, which will sit in front of the Cheesecake Factory and house as many as 3 high-end retailers (Cartier and Chanel are portrayed in renderings of the structure from early last year), will be a little tricky — because underneath the surface parking lot lies the Galleria’s multi-story Blue Garage.

A Swamplot reader sends in the above photo showing the scene as it appeared yesterday; here’s the same view with a bit more of a zoom-out:

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Digging Deep
11/20/14 3:15pm

Galleria-blue-lot-jewel-box

As of December 1, Galleria tenants and workers who park in the Blue Garage fronting Westheimer (labeled “Construction Zone” in the above site plan) will have to find another place to stash their rides. Explains an official “communiqué from the management office” of Unilev, operators of Galleria Tower II: “This relocation is to due to impending construction by Simon Properties of a free-standing retail structure that will be erected on the surface lot directly above the Blue Garage.” That structure will be going on the 14,000-sq.-ft. pad site in front of the portals to the Cheesecake Factory; it’ll be known colloquially as the “luxury jewel box.” Simon Properties intends the building to house up to 3 high-end retailers.

A user going by the name of JJ18 posted these renderings of the proposed structure to HAIF back in March:

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Bling!
10/07/14 12:00pm

BIGGER GALLERIA APPLE STORE FOR BIGGER IPHONES OPENS THIS WEEKEND Apple Store Closed for Construction, Houston Galleria, HoustonOnly a few weeks after beginning sales of a pair of embiggened iPhones, Apple is ready to unveil its latest enlargement: the newly expanded Galleria Apple Store. That’s it hiding on the second level in the photo at left, behind the 60-ft.-long black wall. A grand reopening is scheduled for this Saturday. The store moved to a temporary location over the summer to allow for the widening, described in detail here. [Previously on SwamplotPhoto: David Ruiz

06/16/14 11:30am

COMMENT OF THE DAY: MY GALLERIA DREAM IS BIGGER THAN YOURS New and Imagined Buildings for the Houston Galleria“The Ritz Carlton Hotel & Residences (50+ Floors) or W Hotel and Residences (50+ Floors). Both are deciding where to locate in Houston, and either would be great there. As for the church across the street, it will move or be incorporated/absorbed into Galleria 5 (which a new relocated Dillard’s will anchor with additional shops). Galleria 5 will also feature a 2nd new state-of-the art ice-skating chalet. I have a developer friend in New York who says Donald Trump wants in on the Houston action, and plans to use the old Dillard’s and its parking lot for a major development. Three 55 story towers surrounding an elegant courtyard: Trump International Hotel, Tower & Residences: Houston Galleria.” [KB, commenting on If You Really Want To Live in the Actual Galleria, This Is Where Your Home Might Go] Illustration: Lulu

06/13/14 11:30am

Aerial View of Planned Construction at the Galleria, Houston

Sure, there are plenty of highrise towers to live in in the Galleria . . . area. But what if you want to live in the Galleria mall itself? As in, step out the front door and take in a little Burberry, L.K. Bennett, or Apple Store, maybe still in your Neiman Marcus PJs? The folks at Simon Property Group, the mall owners, began mentioning the possibility of a 300-unit residential highrise at the corner of West Alabama and Sage last fall, when they announced the big Galleria III redo (going on now), which is scooting Saks Fifth Avenue over to the former Macy’s spot fronting Sage and open up about 100,000 sq. ft. of new retail space in its wake. And now they’ve gone and shown on a map where the new tower might go.

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Mall Residential or More?
09/24/12 2:26pm

THE PLAN TO MOVE RICE UNIVERSITY CLOSER TO THE WOODLANDS — OR TRADE IT FOR THE GALLERIA It’s true, and was apparently taken reasonably seriously at the time. From the Rice Thresher in February 1973. [marmer, commenting on Headlines: Calculating Lower Westheimer’s Hip Factor; Westbury Gardens’ Walkable Kitsch]

12/24/08 2:51pm

Today’s as good a day as any to highlight the work of YouTube user hcp051000, aka Senior Airman Pan, who has compiled an impressive array of videos documenting the performance of some of this city’s finer vertical conveyances.

What’s it like to ride in these Houston elevators, really? Now you can find out — and shop for your favorite — from behind the comfort of your own computer screen.

Here’s S.A. Pan’s ride in the colorful cab of a Dover elevator at the Kemah Boardwalk Inn Hotel:

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10/08/08 11:34am

Bice Ristorante, Houston Galleria

An austere bit of stationery is taped to the door of Bice Ristorante in the Galleria, indicating that mall owner Simon Property Group has changed the locks until Bice comes up with $164,731.37 in rent. The letter is dated from mid-July. And somebody has finally noticed!

“Seriously, how do you fall this far behind on rent?,” asks Tasty Bits author Misha. A few pix below:

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