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Houston's Inner-Loop Mixed-Use Makeup

Inner Loop development is getting dense and intense. As the price of land continues to climb, developers are increasingly turning to mixed-use projects to pencil out the substantial cost of Inner Loop real estate. But with Houston in the middle of an oil downturn, some projects have stalled while others have surged forward. We rounded up each of Houston’s Inner Loop mixed-use projects in development, some much further along than others.

Kirby Collection

Kirby Collection

Thor’s Kirby Collection has made serious headway despite Houston’s oil downturn. Ahead of its debut later this year, Thor Equities has secured three new retail leases at the Upper Kirby mixed-use asset. A Ma Maniére will debut its first Houston store in approximately 2,200 SF, offering luxury streetwear and footwear brands. Chef Sunil Srivastava is relocating his award-winning Great W’Kana Café Indian restaurant to a 2,900 SF space in the asset, and high-end hair salon Atelier Isabelle Rose signed a long-term lease for 3,800 SF.

The asset's retail component is now roughly 65% leased. Thor previously leased 33K SF of retail space at Kirby Collection to Pinstripes, a dining and entertainment venue. The company also recently signed three long-term office leases totaling 36K SF at 3200 Kirby, the office component of Kirby Collection with 186K SF of Class-A office space.

The Allen

Buffalo Bayou

Thompson Hotels plans to build Thompson Houston at DC Partners and Tianqing Real Estate Development's mixed-use development at the southeast corner of Allen Parkway and Gillette. In June, DC Partners CEO Roberto Contreras said the luxury hotel would have between 150 and 180 rooms with an expected delivery date around 2020. Plans for Thompson's future Houston mixed-use home are still in the works, but work is expected to begin soon. The project will feature 200K to 250K SF of Class-A office space and a residential tower. HOK designed the overall master plan for the site. A 3D rendering of the site's future can be viewed here. 

The RO/Exxon's Former Buffalo Speedway Campus

3120 Buffalo Speedway

Earlier this year Spear Street Capital teased renderings of its plans for Exxon Mobil’s former Buffalo Speedway research campus. The glossy new view looks west across Buffalo Speedway to show three new high-rises planted on the Upper Kirby site — the stockiest of which rests atop a three-story windowed pedestal likely to house retail between West Alabama and a new roadway. Do not get too attached to that idea — Transwestern Development Co. said Spear Street Capital’s renderings reflected an early version of a plan that has meaningfully changed, and a name that has not been decided upon. Site work is still being completed. 

Kirby Crossing

Northwest corner of Kirby and West Alabama

H-E-B plans to develop a mixed-use project with Midway in Upper Kirby. Neither was willing to release details at this time, but in February, H-E-B closed on a tract of land near the northwest corner of Kirby Drive and West Alabama. H-E-B's future store on Kirby, if it pursues the location, will have stiff competition. The property is within a 2-mile radius of 11 other grocery stores: two other H-E-Bs, a Central Market (owned by H-E-B), Whole Foods, Costco, Trader Joe's, two Randalls and three Krogers. Nearby, Giogetti Houston and Hanover River Oaks, two luxury condo towers, are underway. 

Post HTX

Barbara Jordan Post Office

Last year, plans for Lovett Commercial's redevelopment of the 16-acre campus around Houston’s shuttered Barbara Jordan Post Office at 401 Franklin St. found their way online. Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas and his Office for Metropolitan Architecture designed a 530K SF project that included the world's largest urban rooftop farming operation, a 40K SF food market and connections directly to the Buffalo Bayou.

There is no word on the status of the project. In the meantime, the asset has played host to several high-profile events like Day For Night, a musical and digital art festival. 

Buffalo Heights

Buffalo Heights Construction

Midway, the mixed-use developer behind projects like CityCentre, is at it again. This time, the developer is working with H-E-B on Buffalo Heights. The first phase will include the 96K SF H-E-B with multilevel parking, a five-story, luxury multifamily community of 232 units, approximately 37K SF of office space and an additional 2K SF of ground-floor retail. The project was designed by Ziegler Cooper and is under construction with an expected delivery date in spring 2019. 


In the high stakes of Houston mixed-use development, these ventures are only scratching the surface of potential projects. Heard about another project? Seen construction fencing going up? Drop us a line at


CORRECTION, March 20, 12:45 P.M. ET: A previous version of the story stated The Allen was designed by Gensler. HOK took over the design of the project.