Luxury Retailers Multiply At River Oaks-Area Development
December 8, 2014
Luxury Retailers Multiply At River Oaks-Area Development
Houston Chronicle

NEW YORK - The developer of River Oaks District, the mega-mixed-use project under construction along Westheimer just inside the 610 Loop, has secured more than two dozen new tenants.



They include such international fashion brands as Giuseppe Zanotti, Roberto Cavalli and Dolce & Gabbana, as well as five restaurants and a luxury spa.



These tenants, many of which are new to the Houston market, represent a significant portion of the 650,000-square-foot development expected to open next fall.



A number of other high-fashion brands have already signed on. They include Hermes, Dior, Cartier and Tom Ford.



The shops are being "carefully curated," Dene Oliver, the San Diego-based developer of the Houston project, said Monday at his company's showroom in New York City.



The project will combine upscale retailers with "younger, progressive brands," said Oliver, CEO of OliverMcMillan. He was referring to such new tenants as men's apparel brand Bonobos and Warby Parker, an eyeglass retailer. Both companies have significant online businesses.



To OliverMcMillan, the new tenants represent years of work.



"Each one involved unique twists and turns," Oliver said Sunday night at a cocktail party the developer hosted on the eve of New York's annual retail conference of the International Council of Shopping Centers.



The 14-acre River Oaks District is being built where the Westcreek apartments used to stand at Westheimer at Kettering, between the Galleria and Highland Village.



The project is being built near some of the most affluent neighborhoods in Houston.



"What they're building is in the right area, and that's the customer base to attack," New York-based retail consultant Howard Davidowitz said. "It's Fifth Avenue in Houston."



The project has been designed with an urban-style street grid system with sidewalks and curbside parking.



It broke ground more than a year ago after the developer negotiated for a $19 million financial incentive package from the city.



The agreement was part of an economic incentive program that allows developers to essentially be reimbursed for public infrastructure improvements from taxes created by the projects.



Work will be done to enhance traffic flow and flood control. New street lights and green space will be added, and utility lines will be buried.



In addition to 252,000 square feet of shops, restaurants and an eight-screen iPic Entertainment movie theater, the complex will have 279 residential units and 92,000 square feet of office space.



A five-story stone and glass office building will house retail space as well.



The project's design team includes Gensler, Papageorge Haymes and Hoerr Schaudt, a landscape architect.



Dallas-based VCC is the contractor.



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