02/24/16 10:30am

Construction of Hotel Alessandra, Fannin St. at Dallas St., GreenStreet, Houston, 77002

Here’s the latest glamour shot of Hotel Alessandra, looking sharp at the northern edge of the GreenStreet complex (and being photobombed by the former Sakowitz building from across Dallas St.). The hotel — initially planned around a 25-story question mark before it was reigned in to a less introspective 21-story design — was issued a set of floor-by-floor building permits at the end of January following its September foundation pour.  Only 20 floors-worth of permits were issued, though, and Midway’s partner-in-highrise Valencia Group has updated its online description of the hotel’s specs to match the lower number since last spring.


Growing at GreenStreet
03/26/14 3:30pm

Proposed Hotel Alessandra, Dallas and Fannin Streets, GreenStreet, Downtown Houston

The lobby for the new 25-story luxury Downtown hotel announced yesterday — an add-on for the GreenStreet conversion of the former Houston Pavilions — will be on its top floor. A pool and bar will sit above it on the roof level. Its highlighted contours tracing a giant question mark, the sleek modern 225-room tower will be planted on top of the remains of former Houston Rockets center Yao Ming‘s flopped restaurant. It’ll sit back from Main St., behind XXI Forever, hugging Fannin on the block also bounded by Polk and Dallas. But the Hotel Alessandra isn’t meant to spike the retail flow in the failed-mixed-use redo project — instead, it’ll include 7,000 sq. ft. of retail and restaurant space on its bottom floors, and connect to the project’s Main St. shops and Fannin skybridge.

Here’s a view from Main St., looking southeast along Dallas:


25 Stories
04/05/13 9:56am

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.


03/05/13 5:00pm

HOUSTON PAVILIONS TO BE RENAMED, REBRANDED Clearly, former NBA star Earvin Johnson knows the value of renaming — and Houston Pavilions, which Magic and other investors bought back in August, will be given a new moniker of its own, reports the Houston Business Journal’s Shaina Zucker: Today, @HouPavilions tweeted an invitation to a party on April 4 at San Jacinto between Dallas and Polk during which the mall-ish complex will reveal its new name and new brand strategy. “[R]etailers and restaurants,” the invitation says, “will have booths featuring complimentary tastings and interactive activities including Wii Bowling, a basketball hoop-off for the chance to win a signed Houston Rockets basketball and more.” [Houston Business Journal; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Flickr user cjt3

12/26/12 4:57pm

Christmas Eve was the last day of business for Houston’s only Books-A-Million location, in the Houston Pavilions sorta-mall. Workers at the 1201 Main St. store are now packing the bookstore’s remaining inventory onto pallets (at left), which will be shipped off to the national chain’s warehouses or other locations. (That means there’ll be no goodbye sale.) Books-A-Million had threatened to leave the space back in January of 2011; a quickly arranged sweetened rent deal from its landlord allowed it to stay. But that agreement has now expired, and Pavilions has new owners: A group headlined by former LA Lakers point guard Magic Johnson bought the 3-block complex — out of bankruptcy — this past August.

Photos: Downtown Houston Management District (store); Swamplot inbox (pallets)

09/28/12 4:53pm

A restaurant owned by family members of former Rockets star center Yao Ming has been shut out of the space it leases from the Houston Pavilions — for nonpayment of rent, according to a sign posted on the door by Midway Management. Yao Restaurant and Bar opened in the space near the corner of Dallas and Fannin — a few blocks from the Rockets’ home court at the Toyota Center — more than 2 years ago. A story in the NY Daily News earlier this year had owner Bill Wang saying business had been good since Ming’s retirement from the Rockets in 2011, but also giving a shout out to the Rockets’ latest star: “We want this place to be the home restaurant of Jeremy Lin.” A group headlined by former LA Lakers point guard Magic Johnson bought the 3-block Houston Pavilions complex out of bankruptcy earlier this year.

Photo: Wolfgang Houston

06/19/12 12:25pm

A reader who works in Downtown sorta-mall Houston Pavilions has decided that a mysterious problem with broken windows in the complex’s 11-story office building is “becoming a situation.” A notice sent out to workers in NRG Tower recently, according to the reader’s report, declares that they are no longer allowed to exit the building from the first floor onto Polk St. The concern? That someone might get hit by falling glass. The reader explains: “The part of the building that faces inside the pavilion has an overhang on the second floor so we can walk into the building. The Polk street side has no such overhang.”


05/11/12 9:34am

CITYCENTRE OWNER BUYING HOUSTON PAVILIONS Houston’s Midway Companies, along with an unnamed New York Partner, is set to acquire Houston Pavilions from the receiver who took over the Downtown mall last year, according to a report in today’s HBJ. Reporter Jennifer Dawson notes reports to the bankruptcy court indicate that the development’s retail space is now 66 percent leased, and the property has a positive cash flow — before debt service. In the year before its default, Pavilions’ original developer made no payments on its original $120.6 million 2007 loan. [Houston Business Journal; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Haynes-Whalley

04/17/12 3:31pm

Looking down onto the roof of the couple-month-old Scott Gertner’s venue downtown, you can see the steel parts of the new rooftop bar soon to be made into a pavilion . . . atop Houston Pavilions. A reader sends this photo of the scene, taken from the Pavilions office tower. At the top left of the photo is the intersection of Fannin and Dallas:

The blue box area located in the middle of the set beams has been there since they started construction for roof access (It used to have the words “No Step” on it). We’ve seen construction workers go in and out of it since then. Most of this work was done last Friday and over the weekend. I’m guessing because of the steel beams they had to close off part of the street to crane it up there.

That’s a good guess, judging from this photo posted on the bar’s Facebook page on Sunday:


03/22/12 12:27pm

THE DEEP RETAIL DISCOUNTS AT HOUSTON PAVILIONS Four years after its opening, the troubled Downtown mall-office complex known as Houston Pavilions may sell for $50 to $75 million below the cost of its construction. To avoid foreclosure on a loan valued at $130.7 million, the developers turned the property over to a receiver late last year; Transwestern is now marketing the project for sale. Offices are fully occupied, but the big problem is the 59-percent-vacant retail portion of the project, says Real Estate Alert: “More than half of the retail tenants haven’t been paying full rent because the overall retail occupancy rate remains below the prescribed threshold cited in their leases. A buyer could convert about 42,000 sf of vacant retail space into offices to exploit downtown Houston’s booming office market . . . However, a conversion of all the retail space isn’t an option, because doing so would make it impossible to meet the retail occupancy threshold necessary for the existing tenants to pay full rent.” [Real Estate Alert; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Flickr user cjt3

05/05/11 11:19am

GETTING CASH OUT OF THE HOUSTON PAVILIONS The Downtown Redevelopment Authority this week approved a loan of $3.3 million to the developers of the Houston Pavilions. But the mall’s developers likely won’t need to pay it back. According to a 2006 agreement that included a promised $14.3 million of TIRZ reimbursements and grants for the sleepy downtown redevelopment project, the developers would only receive the last $3.3 million payment once the retail portion of the project was 70 percent leased. At the moment — thanks in part to efforts by management earlier this year to prevent Books-A-Million from closing up shop there — the retail spaces are 62 percent full. Not a problem: The interest-only loan will tide the developers over until they can get their numbers up. Also coming to Houston Pavilions, as part of the deal: new outdoor eating areas and an HPD “special operations” storefront. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Flickr user Scott DeW

01/04/11 6:16pm

A source tells Swamplot that “an even sweeter deal” has just been struck between Books-A-Million and the management of Houston Pavilions, and that the bookstore chain has decided that its Downtown Houston store will remain open. “It seems the story has forced the company’s hand,” says the source. Swamplot reported yesterday that Books-A-Million had decided to close its store in the mall at 1201 Main St., even though the company was paying only $3,000 a month for the 2-story, approximately 23,000-sq.-ft. space.

Photo: Flickr user Holcombe of Hidalgo

01/03/11 6:09pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: HOW TOUGH WOULD IT BE TO TURN HOUSTON PAVILIONS INSIDE OUT? “This was mentioned before with the Pavilions…but worth mentioning again—who designed the layout? I agree with other posters—if you drive by you hardly notice the Pavilions exist. The stores face inward so things may be noticeable if [you’re] passing (i.e. walking) through it….but not if you’re driving by from the streets. This is Houston…we don’t exactly walk outside. If the Pavilions had the resources, they should spend it on revamping the outside so people can see what businesses are there from the streets.” [Chris, commenting on Books-A-Million Bailing out of Houston Pavilions; previously on Swamplot] Photo of Pavilions model: Jim Porter [license]

01/03/11 12:46pm

Update, 1/4: Reverse! Books-A-Million is gonna stay put.

Southeastern U.S. chain Books-A-Million has decided to close its Downtown Houston store on January 15th. The decision has left management of Houston Pavilions feeling rather put-out: Managers at the downtown mall reportedly had lowered the bookstore’s rent on the 2-story, approximately 23,000-sq.-ft. space facing the light rail line at 1201 Main St. to just $3,000 a month — in hopes the concession would prevent it from shutting down. A source insists the store “wasn’t a huge flop,” but says that the Katy Mills Mall Books-A-Million typically brought in more than 5 times the sales of the Downtown store — even though the 2 locations are about the same size.

Another factor that may have played a role in Books-A-Million’s decision to close: A pending lawsuit filed against the company after the location’s former manager reportedly kicked a man and his wheelchair-riding, apparently mentally disabled son out of the store. “At some point [the son] soiled himself and the [manager] took this as a vagrance and kicked them out. Needless to say the boy’s family were outraged,” a source tells Swamplot. The manager is no longer with the company, though reportedly for “unrelated” reasons.


12/02/10 1:45pm

Skybar owner Scott Gertner has found a new space for his jazz club. It’ll be on the 3rd floor of Houston Pavilions — one block west of the House of Blues and Lucky Strike, and directly across the open-air mall from “swing space” originally planned for retail but now being leased as office space by an energy company. Scott Gertner’s Skybar, on the 10th floor of the office building at 3400 Montrose, closed over the summer, after Gertner tired of dealing with building maintenance issues left unaddressed by a new owner.

Houston Pavilions’ 3rd floor is pretty high up there, but Gertner says the new venue will drop the SkyBar name for the multi-level space (it’ll just be called Scott Gertner’s). At 13,000 sq. ft. (and a capacity of 700), it’ll be slightly larger than the old club too. He tells Chronicle reporter Joey Guerra the new interior, designed by Uptown Sushi architect Isaac Preminger, will feature 3 outdoor patios, an “arena-style” stage, and a full kitchen. Directly downstairs from the club, at the corner of Dallas and Fannin: BCBGMaxAzria and McCormick & Schmick’s, shown above.

Photo: Flickr user sabotai