Now we know why the Morgan Group, the developer that applied for a variance last year to allow for a Pearl on Smith apartment complex to fit onto the block surrounded by Elgin, Smith, Brazos, and Rosalie streets, later withdrew the request: To expand the project so that it could include a 40,000-sq.-ft. Whole Foods Market on its ground floor. And here’s a rendering of the design of the whole thing by Houston’s Ziegler Cooper Architects.
The view is across Elgin St., with a high-ceilinged vehicle entrance coming in off Smith, a one-way street with traffic flowing south. What looks from the exterior like the store’s second story will be a mezzanine — similar to the one in the Post Oak Whole Foods. The Chronicle‘s Nancy Sarnoff reports that parking for shoppers will be in 2 underground levels; residents of the 260-unit apartment complex, she says, will have room for their cars on 2 levels of parking above the store.
When a Whole Foods moves in to an urban area, Morgan’s president Alan Patton tells Sarnoff, “it moves the center of the universe to that location.” In this case, it also appears to close streets: Sarnoff reports that the developer is buying the block of Rosalie St. between Smith and Brazos. The building’s footprint will extend to a portion of the block to the north. The Smith St. vehicle entrance (and presumably another one on the opposite side, facing Brazos, for cars coming off the Downtown Spur) appears to be aligned with where Rosalie sits today.
The WPA-era building at 3100 Smith St. that last housed a Social Security office will have to be demolished before construction on the new 8-story structure can begin — early next year. The market is expected to open at the end of 2017.
- Midtown project to combine Whole Foods, luxury apartments [Houston Chronicle]
- Previously on Swamplot: New Whole Foods Market Midtown Store Will Go on Site of Shuttered Social Security Office; An Apartment Developer’s New Midtown Pearls Are Missing
Renderings: Ziegler Cooper Architects