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Houston's MarqE Entertainment Center Is Getting A Big Face-Lift

A rendering of the new retail and creative office building planned for the MarqE Entertainment Center.

Levcor is planning to redevelop the 350K SF MarqE Entertainment Center in Spring Branch East, incorporating updates to existing storefronts, extensive landscaping and the construction of a new building for both office and retail tenants, it announced this week.

The Houston-based developer said it intends to build a new two-story building at the front of the complex facing I-10, which will provide about 49K SF of retail, restaurant and entertainment space for tenants, as well as about 20K SF of office space.

Levcor Vice President Justin Levine told Bisnow that the details of the new building are still being finalized, including the square footage. The firm gained experience in leasing creative office space at its 7800 Washington Ave. mixed-use project, but Levine said other types of office users could also work in the building.

“We have experience in leasing to that type of tenant,” Levine said. "But frankly, the tenancy there could be anyone from creative office to small offices to small business, and even if a large tenant wants to take the entire floor."

He noted that the proximity of the Galleria and the accessibility of I-10 make the MarqE Entertainment Center an attractive location for future office users.

“We feel as though there's going to be strong demand for it,” Levine added.

Another rendering of the new retail and office building at MarqE Entertainment Center in Houston.

Other planned improvements to the site include shaded structures between buildings, updated storefronts for existing retailers to allow more natural light and enhance their visibility from I-10, and oversized art and play structures to create interactivity with the center.

An extensive landscaping plan will add large, canopied trees, enhanced hardscape and flower beds to balance the updated exterior architecture. Outdoor conversation areas will be equipped with WiFi to provide meeting and lounging spots for the surrounding business community.

Levine said that MarqE hasn't undergone any major improvements since it was converted from an indoor mall to an outdoor mall in 2011. Levcor acquired the property in 2014 from a joint venture of Canyon-Johnson and Fidelis Realty Partners, with the intention of eventually performing significant updates.

Levcor began working with Kansas City-based BRR Architecture on the design to redevelop MarqE in 2019, but the coronavirus pandemic forced the company to hold off on announcing their plans for the site, Levine said.

Initial construction is slated to begin in May. Levine said that it could take two to three years for the redevelopment to reach completion.

While the redevelopment is underway, all retailers, restaurants and services not affected by temporary pandemic-related closures at MarqE will remain open.

“This is a long-term generational asset for us, as a company,” Levine said. "And so we knew that over the long term, we were always going to invest money into this project to make it bigger and better and brighter and bolder."