HOUSTON – AmReit has announced a $1.2 billion plan to redevelop the 17-acre Uptown Park, a European-style shopping center on the west side of Loop 610 at Post Oak Boulevard not far from the Galleria in Houston’s Uptown area.
The first part of the redevelopment effort will be the demolition of a building occupied by several retailers, and replacing it with a high-rise residential tower atop 20,000 sf of retail.
The existing one-story shops and restaurants will be demolished at a gradual pace replaced with taller buildings that yield more revenue, says the center’s owner, AmReit, a Houston-based development firm.
AmReit’s master plan, developed by Kirksey architecture, designates seven high-rise or midrise structures on the property. At build-out, the project will have a hotel, 850,000-sf of office space, three residential buildings, and more than 300,000 sf of retail.
It will take years to redevelop the 17-acre 169,000-sf center, which currently has tenants including McCormick & Schmick’s, Longoria Collection, High Gloss, Crave Cupcakes, Café Express and about 40 other stores and eateries.
The first part of the redevelopment plan will be the demolition of a building on the north side of the center occupied by several retailers, including Baker, an upscale designer and manufacturer of home furnishings; Peluche Décor and Bella Rinova.
AmReit said “has reached an agreement with a major national developer to build a luxury residential tower” on the “Baker site.”
The Uptown Park center, located north of San Felipe, was developed by Interfin in 1999 and purchased by AmReit in 2005. The Baker store is on the north wide of the Uptown Park center.
The Uptown Park redevelopment points to the future development patterns of the Uptown Houston area, which is becoming more dense with high-rise projects replacing smaller buildings, says John Breeding, president of the Uptown Houston District organization.
“It’s the next generation of Uptown development,” Breeding says.
One-story retail buildings and small apartment complexes will be torn down to be replaced with high-rise development that makes maximum use of the underlying land, Breeding says. The 24-Hour Fitness near San Felipe was torn down and the 30-story BHP Billiton office tower is under construction there.
The Galleria mixed use development on the south side of the Uptown area was built in the early 1970s and it has been a defining catalyst, bringing more retail, office, hotels and residential units over the years along Post Oak Boulevard, west of Loop 610.
After a long dry spell, two new office towers (a Skanska building and Stream Realty’s BBVA Compass tower) opened up in Uptown last year and more office space is under construction now along with several high-rise residential towers. With 23 million square feet of office space, more than 7,000 hotel rooms and 1,000 stores, the Uptown area is bigger than the downtowns in many cities in America.
In the meantime, all of Uptown’s one-story buildings are being scrutinized by developers who want to see if money can be made by building high-rise projects there. AmReit, for example, told its shareholders Tuesday that tearing down the Baker building in Uptown Park and putting in a high-rise residential tower instead will result in a 200 percent increase in net operating income for that parcel.