An urban village designed to be a top culinary destination for Houston is taking shape on Allen Parkway across from neighboring Buffalo Bayou Park at the Autry Park mixed-use development in Montrose.
The first two apartment buildings have opened at the project, a development of Houston-based Hanover Co. and Lionstone Investments, a Houston-based real estate investment firm, on 14 acres along Allen Parkway, just east of Shepherd Drive on the edge of River Oaks. Up to six additional buildings, including two apartment two or three office buildings and a hotel are planned in future phases.
Since January, the first residents have been moving in at Hanover Autry Park, a 24-story apartment tower with 324 units, and Hanover Parkview, an eight-story mid-rise with 421 units. The developers are still building out spaces for 20 shops and restaurants, each designed with a unique look, on the ground floors. Openings are projected to begin in late fall or early in the holiday season.
Ben Berg, owner of Berg Hospitality Group which operates B&B Butchers & Restaurant, The Annie and B.B. Lemon, among other concepts, will bring Annabelle’s, an American brasserie serving breakfast, lunch and dinner in glass-front space facing Allen Parkway, and Turner’s Cut, a luxury steakhouse, to Hanover Autry Park.
Other restaurant tenants to sign up so far include Lick’s Honest Ice Creams, an Austin-based maker of artisan ice cream using ingredients from local farmers, and Auden, a vegetable-centric restaurant created by husband-and-wife team Kirthan and Kripa Shenoy of Nitecap Hospitality in the Hanover Parkview mid-rise.
Not just for residents, Autry Park is envisioned as a destination for joggers and bicyclers at Buffalo Bayou Park, a linear park stretching from Shepherd Drive to the Port of Houston. The design is inspired by the park, incorporating plants and colors found along the bayou. Residents enter off of Allen Parkway on an elevated new street called Buffalo Park Drive, which extends southward to Dallas Street. At the top of the hill is a central park with oak trees from 60 to 130 years old relocated from other areas of the site.
“We want it to feel like you’ve crossed Allen Parkway and you’re almost still in Buffalo Bayou Park,” Matt Ragan, director of retail programming and operations at Dallas-based Rebees, which is marketing the property. “It’s just that lush, that beautiful and that green.”
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At the park, three small cylindrical buildings, two made mostly of glass, will light up at night like lanterns, Ragan said. Two will be occupied by food and beverage operators, while the other will house public rest rooms.
“If we’ve done this correctly, this will feel like this has been here for 50 years,” Ragan said. “It will feel like it’s just been part of the city.”
The project comes online as Houston posted its strongest year for apartment demand with more than 37,500 units absorbed in 2021, up from 11,900 in 2020, according to ApartmentData.com, a Houston apartment research firm.
Apartment development is booming in the Montrose area, and higher rents are holding, according to ApartmentData.com. Rents at the top class of apartments in Montrose climbed to an average of $2,028 a month in February, after falling as low as $1,665 in Dec. 2020.
The area is filling in with big projects. Sterling at Regent Square, a 590-unit mid-rise with 55,000 square feet of retail space surrounding two central lawns, recently opened across the street. Alta River Oaks opened last summer with 364 units.
Hanover Autry Park, which commands some of the highest rents in Houston with average rates of $3.25 per square foot — equating to $3,250 for a 1,000-square-foot apartment — is 21 percent leased, according to Blake Cardwell, a senior property manager at Hanover. Eight penthouse units on the top two floors rent from $6,500 to $15,000 a month and offer views of downtown and the Galleria.
Work is still under way on amenities near the top of the tower, including a gym, resident lounge and rooftop pool. Other amenities include a dog park, dog washing salon, valet parking, an area to drop off dry cleaning and a room for secure package deliveries. The valet area, located within the apartment tower, has a television and couches for residents and retail guests.
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Hanover Parkview’s amenities include a movie room, clubhouse with catering kitchen, coworking lounge, pet spa, resort style pool and gym. Rents go from $1,550 for a studio apartment to $4,200 for the largest two bedroom unit. The project, which opened 150 units in the first phase, is 11 percent leased.
The Austin firm Michael Hsu Office of Architecture designed the retail spaces, while Houston-based OJB Landscape Architecture designed the streets and park spaces. Houston-based Ziegler Cooper Architects designed the tower.
Publication: Houston Chronicle