New Construction Barricades Herald Pending Arrival of River Oaks Shopping Center’s Biggest Corner Tower Yet

Orange barricades now flank the far east side of the northern portion of the River Oaks Shopping Center where a 30-story highrise — dubbed The Driscoll — is planned in place of Café Ginger’s original corner spot on W. Gray. The saucer-like tower shown in the photo above was appended to the retail building as one of many modifications its owner Weingarten Realty has made to the originally Art Deco structure over the years. When the new apartment rises, it’ll tower over 5 storefronts in the retail center, as opposed to just one.

Café Ginger’s northern neighbor Local Pour also shuttered in the portion of the building that’s replaced by The Driscoll’s lobby in the rendering below from architect Ziegler Cooper:


The view from across W. Gray:

Photo: Urban Jungle Survivalist. Renderings: Ziegler Cooper

The Driscoll

12 Comment

  • These high-rise/mid-rise boulevard popups are creating little pocket skylines along them, Kirby and W. Gray are happening now then along with neighboring areas like Allen Pkwy and Greenway they all start bumping into each other and the wabi-sabi waffle iron really starts taking shape.

  • Glad to hear they’re adding, rather than subtracting, retail space. That’s the most important thing here. It also looks like the design seen at street level will be coherent with the styling of the rest of the shopping center. With all of that said, it’s going to be a little strange to have this near-skyscraper jutting up by itself from the middle of a mostly one-storey commercial street. That’s Houston for you, though.

  • The residents of the tower will take up all the surface retail parking.
    It is much easier to park at the front door than to drive into a parking garage and then up 7 or 8 levels.

  • Weingarten is slowly tearing down and replacing each building of this historic center. While nice looking on its own, the tower is grossly out of scale with the surrounding center. I have a sneaky suspicion Weingartens long term vision for this historic property is something similar to BLVD Place in Uptown.

  • I’m all about Historic conservation, but let’s be honest, there’s not much that’s really “historic” about these buildings being torn down, which are around 80 years old. Our friends in Europe or Asia don’t get out of bed for something younger than 500 years or so.

  • @Michael Forlenza: If that happens, which is possible but I think unlikely (people who can afford to live there will want to protect their BMWs and Porsches), then I suppose River Oaks SC will have to go the way of Rice Village and meter its parking.

  • @Michael Forlenza: Non-sense. These kinds of buildings have valet to park the resident’s vehicle for them

  • Heights Humper House meet the Historic Retail Mixed Use Hard On-Add On.

  • Here’s how to deal with the parking problem: get rid of all of it.
    Add additional structured parking behind the retail on the north and south sides of Gray. Divert traffic from the current roadway to two one-way 2-lane streets where the current surface parking is in front of the retail. Then build a 70-ft wide by 500-ft long new retail building where the current roadway is. Instant placemaking! It’ll be a hit.

  • @hooligan: How did our friends in Europe and Asia ever get 500 year old buildings if they tore them all down when they reached 80?

  • I’ll give you this, hooligan: you’re aptly named. The original River Oaks Plaza, and its thoughtful 80’s restoration deserve to be preserved.
    Weingarten’s wacky alterations are already dated. ‘
    Angostura: that’s an intriguing idea. Since W. Gray is basically a dead-end there anyway, and Weingarten’s argument that the original signage wasn’t commercially viable would be rendered moot.

  • Yes, Art Deco rocked. I loved the old River Oaks Shopping Center, now its just become a sad facsimile of its former glory. I mean at least this high rise has some of the style of the original property. In all honesty, it’s the best we could hope for in Houston.