I don’t know about you, but when I think about mixed-use development in Houston, I’m usually picturing it inside the Loop, or maybe in the Galleria area. But there’s no reason it can’t be farther out from the core.
The new CityCentre in west Houston may be the most fully realized example of the [mixed-use] concept, according to Scott Shillings, president of Riverway Retail, a Houston-based retail/tenant representative.
He noted that CityCentre has the four main components of mixed-use: residential, retail, office and hotel. And it is a pure mixed-use development, he maintains, in that it isn’t adjacent to a mall. And unlike some other local mixed-use projects, CityCentre has retail anchors: a cinema and a huge fitness center.
“The term ‘mixed-use’ gets thrown around a lot, but, to me, this is the first time that Houston has actually seen it in its full depth and breadth,” Shillings said: “Architecturally and functionally, they’ve done a great job.”
Located near Interstate 10 and Beltway 8, the 37-acre site houses clean-lined contemporary brick buildings, brick streets and pleasant landscaping.
CityCentre has an elegant luxury hotel, Hotel Sorella; a sleek movie theater, Studio Movie Grill; and Norris Conference Center.
CityCentre contains several residential projects: the recently opened 370-unit Domain apartments and 35-unit Brownstones at CityCentre, which are for sale.
The 250-unit apartment project the Lofts is set to open next month.
CityCentre is next door to Town & Country Village, which has a Randalls and numerous shops and restaurants.
Town & Country Village is a big benefit to CityCentre, said Anita Kramer, senior director of retail and mixed use development at the Urban Land Institute.
“You can build these places that are walkable but have no connection to anything else,” she said. “It’s very useful to the CityCentre residents” to be next to Town & Country Village.
Certainly having it near a grocery store is a good thing, especially if there’s a pedestrian connection between the two. It kinda defeats the purpose if you have to always drive from one to the other.
I’ve been to CityCentre, though I didn’t give it any thought at the time. Tiffany and I saw “Julie & Julia” at the Studio Movie Grill about two weeks ago. It’s a theater like the Alamo Drafthouse in that it has full restaurant and bar service, which you order from your seat. We went there because we wanted that experience without having to drive halfway to San Antonio to get to one of the Drafthouse locations. We enjoyed it, and will look there first the next time we want to do that.
In case you’re wondering, this site is where the old Town and Country Mall used to be. I’m glad to see it turn into something this cool.
I will say that I think there is, or at least there should be, a fifth component to mixed-use development. That would be nearby transit options, to further minimize the parking requirements. The good news is that it looks like there’s a plan for that.