May 15, 2015
River Oaks District Tailors High-Tech, Convenient Parking to Lure Luxury Shoppers
Houston Business Journal
Luxury retailers and restaurants live and die by their shoppers and diners, who can be a fickle bunch.
After all, unlike office tenants or apartment renters, shoppers and diners don’t sign a contract to patron a particular place. If traffic is troublesome or parking is a mess, shoppers and diners won’t return.
OliverMcMillan Inc. knows that brutal fact better than most. The San Diego-based developer, known nationally for its high-quality mixed-use projects, understands it must make it easy for people to park and shop at the River Oaks District, the company’s first Houston luxury retail, dining and entertainment project currently under construction.
To that end, OliverMcMillan has thought of details, big and small, to make the shopping and dining experience convenient for guests — starting with improving traffic and parking.
“We took great effort to coordinate traffic,” saidGreg Wattson, senior managing director of OliverMcMillan. “If I’m frustrated (by parking), I’m not going to come back.”
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River Oaks District — located at 4444 Westheimer Road — will offer a mix of valet and free self-parking. There will be a 1,200-spot parking garage as well as four valet parking stations spread throughout the 14-acre development.
The parking garage features a spiral ramp instead of the typical sloped ramps to make it easier for female shoppers wearing heels to walk to their car. It also willfeature overhead lights that indicate free parking spots to drivers.
Patrons who use valet parking can use a smartphone application to hail their car from anywhere inside the complex. That means they could dine at a gourmet restaurant along Westheimer, then walk through the shops and hail their car from the other end of the complex when they’re finished.
“You don’t have to walk back to your car at the end of the night,” Wattson said.
Traffic will be directed north, away from Westheimer and toward Bettis Road, where drivers can access San Felipe Street and the west 610 Loop. Those roads are less congested and will alleviate traffic concerns within River Oaks District, Wattson said.
“Westheimer is always backed up,” Wattson said. “We tried, but we can’t fix Westheimer.”
Link to original article here.