In case it hadn’t already become obvious from watching the construction, that uh . . . “stealth” four-level parking garage in back is the real game-changer for the River Oaks Shopping Center.
Clearly, what’s unfolding is a strategy even more ingenious than anyone could have imagined. With a new monster garage looming behind the next targeted would-be landmark, Weingarten will soon have people begging it to rip down more of the north side of the center and build something taller, just to screen those four stories of cars from West Gray. Meanwhile, focusing attention on the complaints of a few pesky neighbors in back is a classic outrage-bait move. Throw in a little hush money to make sure those protests aren’t too loud, but then make sure news of the offer gets leaked, so the decoy works. Send in the demo crews, redevelop, and repeat!
The site plan above comes from a Weingarten variance request that will go before the Planning Commission on Thursday. The city’s landscape ordinance apparently requires the new development to switch out some of those existing sickly-but-iconic palm trees for live oaks. Naturally, Weingarten wants to save the palms!
- Offer made for silence over River Oaks shopping center [River Oaks Examiner]
- Weingarten Realty Investors Letter to Brentwood Residents (PDF) [River Oaks Examiner]
- New River Oaks Shopping Center: a hazy deal? [Houstonist]
- How To Demolish Houston Landmarks [Swamplot]
River Oaks Shopping Center landscape plan: Heights Venture Architects, via Houston Planning Commission