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The Most Overlooked Niche in Houston? – Historic Redevelopment Appeals to Woefully Underserved Market

Rendering of the Westin Medical Center redevelopment, which will have significant street-level retail. Image: Pearl Hospitality

HOUSTON – (By Kyle Hagerty for Realty News Report) – Seven new food options are coming to the Texas Medical Center, known for its lack of eateries  despite a work force that numbers over 100,000 employees and the millions of patients that are treated annually.

Pearl Hospitality’s Westin Houston Medical Center is set to open in early 2020. The new Westin, 1709 Dryden, sits between Fannin and Main streets, about a block from the Rice University campus.

The 24,000 SF retail footprint will be on the street level of the historic Medical Towers Building currently being converted into an 18-story Westin offering 273 rooms.

In addition to the guest rooms, the Westin will deliver something the Medical Center sorely needs: food. New street-level tenants MOD Pizza, Roti Modern Mediterranean, Poke in the Bowl, Antone’s, JuiceLand, SusieCakes and The Halal Guys have all signed 10-year leases, joining existing tenants Starbucks, Chipotle, Salata and Cliff’s Grill.

“The Texas Medical Center market brings a unique mixture of visitors, employees, students, physicians and patients that interact in a concentrated area every single day. Pearl Hospitality’s creation of this sophisticated urban street level experience featuring high-quality food and beverage is the perfect amenity to serve such a diverse community and is unlike any other project in the City of Houston,” said Shop Companies’ Christie Amezquita, the landlord representative.

The project isn’t Houston-based Pearl’s first. Pearl Hospitality has a proven track record of acquiring distressed properties and converting them into top-tier hotels, recently converting 806 Main Downtown to a JW Marriott. An entity affiliated with Pearl Hospitality purchased the medical center property at the end of 2014, revealing its intent to redevelop the property via renderings and a site plan of the future project marketed not long after the deal.

Considered an architectural gem of the Texas Medical Center, the historic Medical Towers Building, originally constructed in 1956, won several design awards in its time. Pearl will seek to maintain the sleek, minimalist aesthetic with renovated storefronts wrapping the entire street level façade, and lush, curated landscaping.

While the hotel itself won’t open till early next year, expect the fast-casual restaurants to begin serving it up by the end of the year.

Real estate people involved in the leases include Emily Durham of Waterman Steele Real Estate, Edward Le of Rubicon Realty Group, Chris Reyes of Shop Companies, and Lunden McGill of Baker Katz.

June 3, 2019 Realty News Report Copyright 2019

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