Gulf Coast Commercial Group is nearing completion on the first phase of Lower Heights, a 24-acre mixed-use district formally announced last summer, according to a news release.
The project, which reimagines industrial sites just west of downtown and abutting the First Ward Arts District, fronts Interstate 10 between Studemont and Sawyer streets.
The entry point off I-10 is newly marked with a vintage-style marquee sign that recognizes the commercial beginnings of the area, and a mural commissioned by Gulf Coast now wraps the side and rear of the Outfront Media building on the corner of Studemont.
Created by Guatemalan-born graffiti artist Gelson Danilo Lemus Lopez – aka w3r3on3 – the geometric mural creates an optical illusion.
In early August, Gulf Coast will debut a landscaped, crushed granite hike and bike trail running along the eastern edge of the property, linking the development via the MKT Trail to Stude Park and its Heights neighborhood namesake directly under I-10. Immediate access is also available to existing hardscape trails that traverse through the First Ward.
The first retail component of the development at 2857 Katy Fwy. already welcomed Total Wine and Ulta openings late last year. A new commercial addition at 1440 Studemont St. is an approximately 35,000-square foot, two-story building with street-level retail below loft-like offices opening to terraces.
Build out is currently underway for its inaugural tenants, both of which are slated to debut early next year.
Central Bank will occupy 3,687 square feet on the western end cap of the first floor. SheSpace, a first to market, multifunction coworking and meeting space for women, has leased 6,000 square feet on the second floor.
“We looked at upwards of 25 potential sites around Houston for SheSpace,” founder Stephanie Tsuru said in the news release. “Lower Heights put us at the epicenter of our target demographic while also providing an unmatched level of convenience factors for clients – from freeway access to the proximity of walkable businesses including grocery, retail and restaurants.”
According to Jerry Alexander, Gensler project manager and principal, “Our goal in the design of Lower Heights was to purposefully intertwine the curated mix of urban amenities with the quirky charm of the historic Houston Heights.”
The Gensler team also provided consulting services to help inform building material choices and configuration of just over 15,000 square feet of ground level retail and office space within Alexan Lower Heights, the district’s multifamily hub developed by Trammell Crow Residential.
Additionally, Gulf Coast Commercial Group is building out a new headquarters in Lower Heights.
According to Gulf Coast president Tom Lile, “We are extremely excited about the vibrant environment we’re creating at Lower Heights and looking forward to being in the midst of it with our new office space.”
Future phases of the development call for a movie theater, additional retail businesses, office space and multifamily housing.