Across and a little bit down the street from the site where the company proposes to tear down an already altered section of the River Oaks Shopping Center and erect a 29-story apartment tower with 2 floors of underground parking, Weingarten Realty has more plans to make changes to the landmark art deco center. At the corner of West Gray and McDuffie, the company wants to tear down the 2-story western end of the south half of the 1948 section of the shopping center — which now houses a California Pizza Kitchen and the remains of the Evolve Fitness Studio upstairs (and was previously the site of a Birraporetti’s with Sherlock’s Pub above it) — and reconstruct the section as a 12,730-sq.-ft. Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille with significantly taller first and second stories.
The design, by Chicago’s Aria Group Architects, “will maintain historical features” of the building at 1997 West Gray St., the submitted plans (PDF) explain. But not exactly in the same order. Stick-on stone facing was stuck onto lower portions of this section of the art deco structure in 2007 when it was given a new stucco-batter coating and turned into a CPK; the new design shows a tall curved panel of limestone wrapping the corner, but this time on the higher second floor, suspended above a rebuilt portion of the center’s signature curved soffit.
Because the center was designated a historic landmark by the city back in 2007 (as the company tore down a different portion of it), Weingarten is required to submit its plans to the Houston Archeological and Historic Commission for approval. The hearing — for this project as well as for the demolition planned on the site of the tower across the street at W. Gray and Driscoll — is scheduled for 3 pm this Thursday at the City Hall Annex at 900 Bagby Downtown. If the HAHC does not approve a “certificate of appropriateness” for either project, however, it won’t prevent Weingarten from knocking anything down: Under the rules for landmarks in this category, the company is allowed to proceed with its project after waiting 90 days. (The city has a separate class of landmarks, called “protected” landmarks, which is more restrictive.)
- Weingarten Realty moves forward on River Oaks Shopping Center demolition and alterations [Preservation Houston]
- Certificate of Appropriateness Application (PDF) [Houston Planning & Development]
- Previously on Swamplot: Here’s That 29-Story Apartment Tower Weingarten Wants To Tag Onto the End of the River Oaks Shopping Center, and Where You Can Complain About It If You Don’t Like It; Where Weingarten Plans To Stab That 30-Story Residential Highrise into the River Oaks Shopping Center; Café Ginger To Move Into Mama Fu’s Place Some Time Before the Highrising Starts; Weingarten Hoping To Improve Classic Taste of Art Deco River Oaks Shopping Center with New Cheese Topping; How To Demolish Houston Landmarks
- River Oaks Shopping Center coverage [Swamplot]
Images: Weingarten Realty (photos); Aria Group Architects (drawings)