Where Downtown’s New Residential Tower Will Go

This crumbly parking lot at 1625 Main St. will be where a 24-story, 336-unit residential tower called SkyHouse will begin going up in April. Concrete’s already been poured to improve the sidewalks and make planters for token landscaping to shade the street. A rep from the architecture firm Smallwood, Reynolds, Stewart, and Stewart tells Swamplot that renderings and site plans for the luxury highrise aren’t available; the photo here shows a similar development, SkyHouse Midtown in Atlanta, from the Atlanta-based firm.


Nancy Sarnoff reports that the building’s a direct result of the city awarding a tax abatement to the developer. Similarly designed SkyHouse towers have also been built in Austin and Orlando. The lot shown below is bound by Fannin, Leeland, and Pease. SkyHouse’s neighbors will be Houston House to the east and to the west, the photo shows, what remains of the Savoy.

Photos: Allyn West (lot); Novare (SkyHouse Midtown)

20 Comment

  • Great news. Just in time for Macy’s to close.
    I am glad for more residential in downtown, but I hope it won’t always be ‘luxury housing’. Something is better than empty lots, however.

  • One of the articles that I read about SkyHouse said that there would be more regularly priced units to attract non-luxury tenants.

  • Also heard a rumor that someone is fixing to close on the Savoy. Not sure if they were hearing redevelopment or demo.

  • @Glen W. – I suspect any and all new developments you’ll find inside the loop will call themselves luxury, despite the level of fit and finish. Residential developers have gotten loose with the term to the point where it might as well just mean “new construction.” Just toss in some granite counters and stainless and Houston’s happy to pay quite a bit more. It’s mostly something to make middle class folks feel like they’ve arrived (me being a self-aware member of that group).
    The truth is, most genuine luxury properties don’t need to use the word. A discerning buyer/renter can tell the difference by the way a property presents itself — word choice, pictures, and of course, word of mouth from the right people.

  • What’s happening to the Savoy crack house?

  • Glad to see more residential going up downtown. However, it seems almost everything being built these days is just rental units. Wonder if they’ll ever build more condos for sale downtown.

  • The condos don’t sell very well. The high fees get to everyone. That is why they do rentals.

    Speaking of, any news on the Ashby Tower? Seems if they were going to build it, they would in this market.

  • Regarding Ashby, it looks like the residents are being cleared out as I saw no visible cars parked in the carport area along Bissonnet on Sunday. FYI they have also now fenced off the property around the old Fiesta. Quite a number of active projects along Dunlavy now, between Allen Parkway and Bissonnet.

  • Although the term “Luxury” is being thrown around loosely, it’s is a shorthand for New Construction with Upper Market Price. The truth is that from a developer’s perspective that’s the only thing that makes financial sense, there’s no money left in low end markets unless its government subsidized. Go big or go home.

  • #9, your post just goes to show how buying power has been sucked out of the middle class over the last decade and deposited into the bank accounts of the top 10% ( or 1%, or .01%, whatever is bandied about). Top end real estate, retail, etc. is where it is at right now.

  • One Park Place is over 90% leased at rents of about $2.50-$3.00/SF. (In short, it’s doing very well) With those rents, it better be high end with amenities.

    Interesting fact about OPP, 1/3 of the tenants have a unit as a 2nd home.

  • @Shadyheightster – While I would agree that there has been some bifurcation of wealth and income in American society in recent decades, I think there has also been a significant shift in what is considered to be “middle class.”

    When I was a kid growing up in a middle class neighborhood (Mission Bend, when it was fairly new), brands like Coach or Polo were considered very upscale and unaffordable. Almost no families I knew had 2 newer cars; most had 1 newish one and one older car. And Red Lobster was considered a nice resturant and going there was a treat for my family.

    Fast forward 25 years; now to be “middle class” your high school daughter has to have a designer purse (Coach at a minimum, if not LV). The car and SUV in the driveway have to each be under 5 years old. And you have to view someone to be of low class if they say they enjoy eating at Red Lobster.

    So now, because of this change in perception of what constitutes “middle class,” the family that is living in a manner similar to the way I grew up, views themselves as being poor. Except, they are no poorer, in terms of quality of life and material ownership, than the “middle class” of 25 years ago.

    So yes, while the changes in the distribution of income in America may be to blame for some of the shrinking/dissapearance of the middle class, I’m also certain the shifting perception of what constitutes “middle class” has had significant impact on its “shrinking” as well.

  • Whatever the middle class is now and however much they are getting shafted, at least we are helping the people who can afford $1600 a month for an 800sf apartment with subsidies that make these expensive apartments more affordable. Now the relatively well off finally get a piece of that pie that all the people in government housing have been taking from all these years.

  • A good way of seeing class bifurcation is to look at new homes being built. In most of the mid-century neighborhoods in Houston, houses range from 2 bedroom 1-story to 4 bedroom 1-story. It’s hard to think of many mid-century neighborhoods, even in the nicest parts of town, where houses are not modest in size.

    Flash forward to today, and you have farms of 4,000 footers popping up all over the city. Where did all the modest 1-stories go? Some of the people who would have bought 1-stories in 1950 “made it” and got these big new houses, while a lot of them “didn’t make it” and are living in our many new apartment complexes.

    So yeah, there is a wealth divide, and the middle is getting smaller while the ends are getting bigger, and some of it has to do with the contrasting policies of people named Roosevelt and Reagan while some of it is just due to factors beyond anyone’s control.

  • The class divide is definitely here and it’s here to stay. I don’t see it as a good or a bad thing, simply as a fact and study it to “know my customers”. In my opinion if you want to grow a substantial business, you have to be either Walmart or Cartier, the only thing that may survive in the middle are small mom and pop niche businesses which only provide a living for the proprietors but do not really grow wealth.

  • Walt, you describe the striver effect, where people who have just enough income strive to purchase items that otherwise might not be affordable to them based on their income. There is a much stronger pull of a consumption economy today than there was when you were growing up in Mission Bend. And maybe the need to purchase a Coach or LV purse for your 14 year old daughter ( along with an iPhone) is one of the reasons people in the middle income brackets feel they are struggling to get along and pay their bills. But the last sentence of my previous post backs up what you are saying when I said “top end real estate, retail, etc. is where it is at right now”.

  • Were a month away from construction and we don’t have a rendering yet?

  • SkyHouse Atlanta, SkyHouse Orlando, and SkyHouse Austin all look the exact same, so I’m assuming ours will look the same as well.


  • purdueenginerd, if you want a rendering, go to any SkyHouse site on Google and you will see the same basic design, whether in Atlanta, Orlando, Austin, or here. One size fits all! All seem to be around 23-24 floors, under 300′ in height, and around the same number of apartments. I guess they really don’t need to produce any new renderings?

  • The construction fence went up yesterday. I’m looking forward to watching this project from my office window over the next couple years.