What a Hotel, Conference Center, and Condos Might Look Like in Uptown

Here’s a concept that HKS came up with for a site just behind the Hotel Granduca, Montebello, and Villa d’Este towers in Uptown Park. The concept shows how it might go if you wanted to build a conference center and a combo hotel-condo tower on 14 green acres between Tilbury and N. Wynden off S. Post Oak, just west of the Loop. This rendering shows the boxy exterior of what appears to be the conference center flanking a linear park shooting off from the banks of Buffalo Bayou.


The website of HKS claims that this “vision” was done up for Hines, though a rep from Hines tells Swamplot: “It is not our project.” And it’s unclear, to say the least, from these renderings how the development might or might not work around the 26-story condo tower the Belfiore, which has also been proposed to go up here on N. Wynden Dr.

In the site plan below, S. Post Oak is at the left, and Uptown Park at the right. If you followed that green space to the northeast, you’d end up wading into Buffalo Bayou:

Images: HKS

23 Comment

  • That is sexy!

  • wow, nice work HKS!!!!

  • Looks like one of those buildings from a program from the LBJ era on “The Future” or a UH grad students project on an example of a building considered futuristic during the Age of Aquarius. I like the grounds however, even if at the end you end up in the Bayou.

  • Hope they’re careful where they locate the guest parking…

  • Dang, there goes the neighborhood. I always found that street a hidden private oasis in the Galleria area, now it’ll be way too crowded. I’ll just stay put behind my giant wall of deed restrictions.

  • I don’t spend as much time in Uptown as I do downtown, but I’m curious to know what attracts so many large-scale projects to Uptown, while so many people continue to dismiss downtown’s development potential. The population density of Uptown has to be getting up there now. And judging from a drive down 610, it sure looks like the high rise mecca one would expect from any downtown area. Is parking and traffic really less of a problem in Uptown than the other? I honestly don’t know.

  • I would argue traffic is significantly worse in uptown than downtown.

  • Uptown is located right between Houston’s two highest-income residential areas. That is the basic reason for its investment popularity and the biggest difference from Downtown.

    Parking is more straightforward in Uptown than Downtown, though increasingly it is becoming more crowded and you’re more likely to have to pay for it.

    Most folks would probably find traffic and access (especially regional access) to Uptown to be worse than Downtown, especially in terms of congestion. Some folks don’t seem to like the one-way streets you have to navigate in Downtown, though they personally don’t bother me that me that much.

  • I like it. It’s got some Euro-style panache.

  • Reminds me of the Jetsons

  • Uptown does indeed have easier access than Downtown, especially if you’re very familiar with the area and numerous side streets. Also Uptown has a very clean and upscale image, bums are generally chased off, streets are clean and well maintained, and the crowd in restaurants and bars is a lot more upscale than downtown/midtown.

  • I can’t believe Uptown has easier access. But maybe that’s because my primary experience is with the cluster**** that is the Westheimer/610 exit. I’ve complained about the perceptions of downtown many times. I don’t understand why people think parking in downtown is a problem. So they don’t want to pay a few bucks to park; okay. It’s a dumb thing to complain about if you’re going down there for more than an hour or two, but whatever. But if the surrounding neighborhoods have to do with it–and it sounds like a plausible reason–I should think downtown will come around soon enough.

  • Belfiore is planned for the corner of South Wynden. http://www.belfiorehouston.com/site-map.html

  • I like it … it has some actual architectural panache rather than the boring boxes and a lake that have dominated this town for the last few years. For this area of town it should be a perfect fit.

  • Apparently Commonsense isn’t familiar with The Muffin Man. He’s the one legged guy outside Needless Markup who sings “The Muffin Man” song every time I give him $$$. Or the bum that plays guitar. Whenever I give him $$$, he lets me play a few riffs on his guitar. Or the guy that plays the trumpet. Or the guy that begs with his wife and two kids. And this is all right outside Needless Markup. Then there are the several traveling bums who take up residence under the 610 bridge at Westheimer. Obviously Commonsense has never even been to The Galleria

  • Yep, there are a few bums in the Galleria. The Neiman Marcus cross walk at Post Oak is the worst of it. It’s nothing compared to the urine soaked areas of downtown though. Having said that, I’ve worked in both areas and prefer downtown.

  • It’s not like this will actually get built, do we even know who owns the land? Is it indeed Hines? The style is very unlike Hines. I’m certain something grand will be built here, it’s just too perfect a location, but I’m doubting it will be this design.

  • I once saw The Muffin Man shriek “You Are So Beautiful” at a group of lovely Japanese tourists, sending them running against traffic to the Dillard’s. Worth a dollar.

  • “Uptown does indeed have easier access than Downtown, especially if you’re very familiar with the area and numerous side streets.”

    In my early twenties I was a courier in Houston for awhile, driving ~1,000 miles a week on Houston’s streets. If I had to think of the 5 worst traffic situations I ever experienced downtown, in terms of how long it took to move half a mile, they wouldn’t even make the top 50 worst traffic experiences in Uptown. And yes, I knew the side streets.

  • I did say bums are Generally chased off, I even threw one out of the Starbucks patio personally. But it doesn’t even come close to the urine district that is Downtown and Midtown.

  • I gotta say, Local Planner and Commonsense pretty much nailed it down. But I would add, there are many parcels of contiguous land that are larger than the standard downtown block size of 1.4 acres. That gives both developers and architects some additional flexibility and also wind up increasing the efficiency of the site plan; in some instances that factor by itself can make or break the pro forma.

  • Speaking of singing bums, I got a lesson in stereotyping once when I was approached by a haggard African American fellow outside the Greyhound bus station downtown. He assured me that he was not going to beg for a dollar, but would rather earn it by singing any song I requested. I looked him over and told him to sing “The Chair” by George Strait and I’d give him the fiver I had in my wallet. I kid you not, not only did he sing every word of it, but he sang it quite well, too. I happily handed over the five dollar bill and wished him the best. A pain in the neck turned into one of the more pleasurable experiences I’ve ever had with one of our downtown street denizens.

  • From what I hear, Uptown project’s are to go vertical rather than horizontal, because properties are too valuable not to.