01/26/09 12:46pm

“Ronald McDonald will soon have all of his parking spaces back,” writes Swamplot tipster Michele, who also sends in these photos from yesterday. They show the sales office for Randall Davis’s canceled Titan highrise — which hung out in the McDonald’s parking lot on Post Oak for many months — boarded up and readied for its next location and rebranding assignment.


12/31/08 4:11pm

Swamplot mentioned the cancellation of Randall Davis’s Titan condo project in passing yesterday, announcing at the same time that the project had scored the first-place spot in the hotly contested Most Grandiose Development category of the Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate. But really, if any 2008 event in Houston real estate deserves its own separate post on Swamplot, this is it.

Davis told the Chronicle‘s Nancy Sarnoff that slow sales convinced him to shut down the 25-story highrise project. There’ll be no rearranging of the deck chairs, no putting the project “on hold,” no “My Heart Will Go On.” It’s all over.

But the Titan will be sorely missed.


11/21/08 1:14pm

What effects have difficulties with bank financing stemming from the global financial crisis had on some of those big new developments planned for Houston? The Houston Business Journal‘s Jennifer Dawson weighs in with a “Where Are They Now?” roundup:

06/18/08 9:43pm

Giant Fountains on Parking Garage, Cosmopolitan Condominiums, Post Oak Blvd., Houston

A reader sends photos of some recent construction on the garage podium beneath the Cosmopolitan tower and asks:

What are those three giant urinals affixed to the east exterior wall of Randall Davis’ latest glass-clad erection, the one on Post Oak where James Coney Island used to be? . . .

Where is the Colossal Statue of Constantine when you need him? (Well, he’s in Rome, but that’s no help to Post Oak Boulevard!)

Sure, there’s the vaguely Roman theming going on with the marketing for Davis’s next tower across the street, the Titan. But these new constructions might be something much more contemporary . . . think Marcel Duchamp by way of Claes Oldenburg: The big fountains!

Below: the Colossal Head of Constantine . . . and the Colossal Heads of the Cosmopolitan, on display!


02/26/08 8:36am

Still from Video of The Titan, Randall Davis’s Proposed Condo Tower on Post Oak Blvd., Uptown, Houston

If you’re looking for clues to help you figure out what the McDonald’s on Post Oak is gonna look like when it gets rebuilt, the flashy new website for the Titan doesn’t help much. There’s a video that shows Randall Davis’s latest theme-heavy condo tower from all sorts of dramatic angles, but it never answers the question most of us have been asking since the project was announced last fall: How, exactly, is the drive-thru gonna fit next door?

Davis told the Houston Business Journal last September that the new McDonald’s would be a “long, skinny building” facing Post Oak, between the Titan and the new Alexan Post Oak apartments directly to the north. In the new video, though, there are no Golden Arches, and camera angles artfully block the most direct views of that portion of the building site.

There’s no mention of the McDonald’s on the Titan website. There is, however, a welcome second confirmation that another fine food establishment will be built down the street at Boulevard Place:

A newly planned Whole Foods Market, only half a block away, places hard to find gourmet items at your fingertips.

Okay, so it’s just advertising copy. But it’s recent!

After the jump, more views of the Titan — none of which show where the real Big Macs are gonna live.


02/21/08 4:48pm

Penthouse View, Randall Davis’s Proposed Titan Condo Highrise, Post Oak Blvd., Uptown Houston

All the condos in Randall Davis’s new Titan condo tower on Post Oak will be named after . . . industry titans! Get it? On the 18th floor, for example, you’ll have units named after J. Paul Getty, Coco Chanel, Pablo Picasso, and . . . Bill Gates! Now that’s a party. Floor 14? More people of brilliance, though a few of them might not actually get along so well with each other: Frank Sinatra, Winston Churchill, Ernest Hemingway, Rudolph Valentino, Steven Spielberg. Isn’t that clever?

It gets better: The Brin/Page is . . . a two-bedroom! Strangely, the Buffet has a Kitchen and Dining Room that are separated from the rest of the unit’s living space. And the three-bedroom penthouse named after Mies van der Rohe — whose neighbors are of course Rupert Murdoch and Neil Armstrong — has a Great Room with a curved wall in it, and is connected to the Entry Foyer by a long hallway.

One unit on floors 23 and 24 is simply named The Titan. But there’s no reason for Randall Davis to be so bashful — he really ought to go ahead and name it after himself. Is there anyone else in Houston who even comes close to his stature in the themed-condo market?

The Titan is a break from Davis’s earlier projects, though — because it seems to have so many different themes! Put all those architects, movie stars, musicians, Silicon Valley insiders, oilmen, and suicidal novelists together in a tower styled vaguely like a comic-book rocketship, add in Michelangelo’s sculpture of David as the naked brochure-and-website coverboy, and you’ve got the Titan’s winning marketing formula! A bit confused? Sure. But if anyone can mix all this stuff up and make it work, it’s Randall Davis.

After the jump, floorplans that prove what we all know already: Designing a great building is just like planning a great dinner party that includes a few famous dead people!


11/08/07 11:22am

Randall Davis’s Proposed Titan Condo Tower on Post Oak Blvd. near the Galleria, Houston

Now that a drawing of the Titan condo tower has been posted on the proposed Galleria development’s website, it’s clear why Randall Davis wasn’t so worried that potential buyers would be distracted by the McDonald’s that’s gonna be rebuilt next door. One look at the Titan tower poised on top of its launch-pad parking garage, and you’ll likely become more concerned about lift-off than drive-thru.

Where are the rocket boosters? And will the heat-shield tiles stay on? Don’t worry — as with most Randall Davis projects, the Titan will only reach a comic-book-level approximation of its theme. To confuse things further, Michelangelo’s statue of David appears to have been chosen as the tower’s mascot.

10/17/07 9:41am

Future Site of the Titan on Post Oak Blvd., with the Cosmopolitan Tower in the Background

Future residents of the Titan, the latest cartoon-themed condo to be announced by Randall Davis, will be pleased to learn that the two-story McDonald’s currently sitting on the tower’s proposed site on Post Oak Blvd. is not going away. It’ll just scoot over slightly—so that the 26-story, 80-unit luxury highrise can share the 50,000-square-foot site.

And just how prominent will those golden arches be at the Titan’s entrance?

Sure, it’s easy to poke fun of the luxury highrise next to the Mickey D’s, but think about it: If McDonald’s hadn’t been willing to risk its reputation by redeveloping next to a Randall Davis project, the Titan would never have had a chance:

The prime real estate, located across Garrettson from Willie G’s Seafood & Steak House, has been sought-after by developers for more than a year.

“We’re approached every day of the week,” says Kathy Burns, McDonald’s regional real estate manager in Houston. “We have brokers calling us all the time.”

Davis — who is replacing the former James Coney Island restaurant a block away with the Cosmopolitan high-rise — was able to strike a deal with McDonald’s because he was not set on a super-sized development.

“I was like everybody else. I wanted to buy the whole site,” Davis says. “But they didn’t want to give up the store.

“I figured out how to divide the site,” he adds. “I managed to fit my building on there, and leave them enough room for their prototype new store.”

Davis has once again demonstrated a remarkable talent for negotiating with fast-food restaurants. Only a few years ago, he was able to convince the owners of the lot across the street that his 20-story hot-dog Cosmopolitan tower (now under construction) would be a worthy successor to the James Coney Island that stood there. Of course, turning over a big bite of the development to the James Coney Island folks didn’t hurt his prospects either.

Expect the cars to be lining up in front of the newly recycled Titan sales trailer already on the McDonald’s lot. Okay, so maybe they’ll just be battling to get to the drive-thru, but there’ll be traffic!