Uptown Development Authority's Bus Rapid Transit project will be completed by spring.Screengrab from Google street view
It is such a strange sensation to drive along Post Oak Boulevard between Loop 610 and San Felipe; it feels like entering a canyon of steel and glass monoliths. Out of all the pockets within Houston this one seems to have changed the most dramatically. No longer home to the largest McDonald's in Texas — the fast food eatery was downsized a while back to make room for the Astoria — and shaped in large part by developer Randall Davis, Uptown has become a high traffic, high concentration urban environment.
Aspire Post Oak is under construction at 1650 Post Oak Boulevard.
Rendering by Gensler
Aspire Post Oak, 1650 Post Oak Boulevard
But now the boulevard is being transformed again with construction for Aspire Post Oak at the corner of San Felipe. Developed by The Dinerstein Companies and scheduled to be completed by the first quarter of 2022, the futuristic building will feature 383 residential units on 39 floors, 15,343 square feet of retail space, and will sport a Walk Score of 89.
There's much speculation about which high-end restaurant will go into the almost 6,000 square feet of space on the lower levels at its southern tip. Surrounded by affluent River Oaks, Tanglewood, Memorial and West University, and with nearby high-end restaurants boasting alcohol sales of as much as $6.453 million per year (Steak 48) and $14.9 million per year (The Post Oak, Mastro's, Willie G's), whomever takes the space will be best in class.
The architecture buffs at Houston Architecture Info are all atwitter over this futuristic building that was designed by Gensler. Yes, it's stunning in its sleek architecture with a planned sky lounge on the top floor, and a garden deck with swimming pool and other luxe amenities. But schadenfreude is at the heart of this discussion, because nothing irks an architecture aficionado more than bad design.
The Cosmopolitan's parking garage, with its white facade, needs some oomph.
Screengrab from Google maps
Right next door to Aspire Post Oak (highlighted in yellow) is the Cosmpolitan, a 22-story high rise at 1600 Post Oak Boulevard. The building seems nice enough with its symmetrical design, but it's the boring white facade of the lower level parking garages that leaves much to be desired. So there were plenty of photos and shouts of hurrah on HAI's forum when the new construction finally obscured the Cosmo's parking garage. Sounds like it's time for a few muralists to enter the scene, or even a large digital billboard.
Props to Gensler's architects for its own design, however. Retail spaces are a creative way to hide the parking areas for Aspire Post Oak, while the building's own architecture is as respectful as possible to its neighbor to the north. Though we predict some of the southern-facing units at the Cosmo will soon be going on the market or available for rent.
So how much will it cost to live along this stretch of Post Oak Boulevard? Rents at Aspire Post Oak will average about $3,500 per month, with an average of about 1,200 square feet for one-, two- and three-bedroom units. For information about Aspire Post Oak at 1650 Post Oak Boulevard, visit aspirepostoak.com. Restaurateurs or retailers interested in leasing space should contact Chris Pitts, broker and partner at Streetwise Retail Advisors.
Penthouse 2601, a five bedroom with 10,100 square feet, is listed for sale by Patrick Ashiofu with Realm Real Estate Professionals - Sugar Land for $6.5 million.
Unit 2701, a three bedroom with 4,403 square feet, is listed for sale by Kellie Geitner with Martha Turner Sotheby's International Realty for $3.9 million.
Unit 1501, a three or four bedroom with 3,136 square feet, is listed for sale by Albert Cantu with Nan and Company Properties Christie's International Real Estate for $1.59 million. It's also available for lease at $8,500 per month.
Penthouse unit 3307, a three bedroom with 3,464 square feet, has a base rent of $12,249.
Unit 707, a two bedroom study with 1,827 square feet, has a base rent of $3,929.
Unit 605, a one bedroom study with 1,159 square feet, has a base rent of $2,369.
Unit 408, a one bedroom with 839 square feet, has a base rent of $1,639.
To read about the Uptown Development Authority's Bus Rapid Transit project, a dedicated busway in the median of Post Oak Boulevard from Westpark to the intersection of Post Oak and IH-610, visit ridemetro.org/Pages/UptownBRT.aspx.
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Susie Tommaney is a contributing writer who enjoys covering the lively arts and culture scene in Houston and surrounding areas, connecting creative makers with the Houston Press readers to make every week a great one.