What else might change as Weingarten plants the 30-ish story residential tower it announced yesterday on a spot currently occupied by a few of the River Oaks Shopping Center’s northeastern storefronts? Specifics on the design of the 300-plus-unit project (which the company hinted at in late 2015) are still scant, though construction may start as soon as next year. The planned footprint of the highrise, per the site map above, stomps out the far end of the building housing Cafe Ginger, Local Pour, and the King Ranch Saddle Shop, spreading out past the edge of the non-protected city historical landmark toward the would-be alignment of Driscoll St. The Hanover-developed tower will reportedly replace those storefronts with some 10,000 sq. ft. of retail space on its ground floor (leaving room, potentially, for a few more Starbucks).
Will this new development prompt yet another round of eyebrow-raising facial reconstruction surgery for the shopping center, formerly known for its art deco visage before Weingarten’s turn-of-the-decade stuccover? Whatever the answer, the project will likely need to be run by the Houston Archaeological and Historical Commission (though Weingarten has waited out negative rulings from that body before). But true Houston preservationists can take heart: The site plan implies that the double row of head-in parking between the center and the sidewalk out front will be left intact! What better way to honor what’s perhaps the strongest legacy of the grandaddy of all Houston strip centers?
- Weingarten To Add 30-story Tower to River Oaks Shopping Center [Houston Chronicle]
- River Oaks Shopping Center coverage [Swamplot]
Image: Weingarten Realty