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MXU in Montrose: Large Project, with Public Library, to Rise at Prime Westheimer Intersection, as the Memory of Felix Tijerina Grows Dimmer

The Montrose Collective is being built at Westheimer and Grant, across the street from the former Felix Mexican Restaurant, 904 Westheimer.

HOUSTON – (Realty News Report) – Radom Capital and institutional investors advised by J.P. Morgan Asset Management have broken ground on the Montrose Collective, a mixed-use project near the intersection of Montrose Boulevard and Westheimer.

The project will include over 100,000 SF of creative office space, 50,000 SF of retail space and a 10,000 SF public library.

When complete in late 2021, Montrose Collective will create space for six new dining outlets, along with 15 boutique retail spaces.

Montrose Collective has been designed by Michael Hsu Office of Architecture “in the spirit of the neighborhood.”

Gone from the neighborhood, via demolition, is the Tijerina home on Grant Street. The site of the two-bedroom house, built in 1920, will soon be covered with the new Montrose Collective.

Across the street from the Grant Street home, Felix and Janie Tijerina operated Felix Mexican Restaurant, a Houston institution known for its unsurpassed cheese enchiladas and chili con queso. The distinctive Felix restaurant building is now occupied by Uchi, an upscale Japanese sushi restaurant serving things like thinly sliced flounder, bigeye tuna and candied quinoa.

Today, as progress moves ahead, there is a historical plaque outside Uchi’s front door. Mr. Tijerina was an immigrant who worked his way up from being a low-paid restaurant worker to owning a chain of Felix Mexican Restaurants with six locations in Houston and one in Beaumont.

In 1956, Mr. Tijerina was elected national president of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and he served in that position for four years, creating a legacy of service and philanthropy. He founded the Little School of the 400 program to teach children English before they entered elementary school. Under Mr. Tijerina’s leadership, LULAC rose in national prominence.

The mighty oaks that were planted in the Tijerina’s front yard will provide shade for the new development.

The new Montrose Collective project marks the fifth Houston collaboration between Radom and Hsu. The new development threads three new-construction boutique workspace and retail buildings with two repurposed historic structures.

“We worked to infuse the creative character and energy of the Montrose neighborhood into every aspect of the design,” said Michael Hsu, founder and principal of Michael Hsu Office of Architecture.

In a press release, the planners say the design team “prioritized the human experience, designing Montrose Collective around a mature heritage live oak canopy, connecting wide sidewalks with a half-acre public garden room, and interjecting shade with a network of canopies and covered walkways. Large balconies and terraces at each level offer the building’s occupants access to the outdoors, overlooking heritage live oaks, cypress groves” and views of downtown.

“Montrose has always been Houston’s epicenter for art, the birthplace of our cafe and counter-culture, and one of our most open and complete neighborhoods,” said managing principal Steve Radom.  “We envisioned Montrose Collective as a public space that respects the existing context, weaving together community gathering spaces and porous buildings that welcome neighbors and guests.”

The project team includes landscape architect OJB (Office of James Burnett), structural engineer HOK, civil engineering firm Kimley-Horn and MEP firm DBR. D.E. Harvey Builders is the project contractor. JLL provided capital market services and CBRE is handling the project’s office leasing.

The project’s new library will replace the city’s Freed-Montrose Library, which is now located in the former sanctuary of the historic Central Church of Christ, 4100 Montrose Boulevard. The beautiful church was designed by architect William Ward Watkin.

The University of St. Thomas, which has aggressively expanded its Montrose campus in recent years, is reportedly eyeing the Church of Christ property for additional expansion of the university’s vast real estate holdings.

Feb. 11, 2020 Realty News Report Copyright 2020

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