N.Y. developer unveils plans for massive Kirby mixed-use

February 03, 2015

Houston Business Journal

New York-based Thor Equities told the Houston Business Journal that it is gearing up to break ground on the $125 million Kirby Collection, a million-plus-square-foot mixed-use project in Upper Kirby, despite the current oil slump.

"The oil issue is a silver lining for us," said Jack Bousquet, a developer at Thor. "We think we'll get more favorable construction costs and some of the competition will fade."

Demolition of the site's former buildings is finished, and construction is set to start in April or May, Bousquet said. It's slated to be complete in the third quarter of 2017.

The project, which will encompass the block bounded by Kirby Drive, West Main Street, Colquitt Street and Lake Street, will include a 25-story, 385,000-square-foot residential tower; a 13-story, 210,000-square-foot Class A office building; and 67,000 square feet of high-end retail along Kirby Drive, including two white-tablecloth restaurants flanking the Kirby Drive entrance.

"I think we're going to set our mark here in Houston and get some national attention with this project," Bousquet said.

The residential tower will include 199 apartments averaging just under 1,500 square feet. There will be seven two-story, ground-level townhomes along Lake Street, and the sixth-floor plaza level will have seven two-story residential loft spaces with private yards.

The plaza level will also include lobbies for the residential tower and the office building, as well as a divided, landscaped open area. The residential side of the plaza will include a pool with cabanas, fire pits and a bar area.

Los Angeles-based Richard Keating Architecture, which has worked extensively in Houston, is the design architect. Los Angeles-based Dianna Wong Architecture and Design is the interior designer. Houston-based Kirksey is the architect of record. Houston-based Walter P. Moore is the structural engineer on the project, Houston-based Wylie & Associates is the MEP engineer, and Sugar Land-based EE Reed Construction is the general contractor.

CBRE's Steve Rocher, Kristen Rabel and Parker Duffie are the office brokers. Thor's George Stanchfield is the retail broker.

"Houston is an extremely diverse economy now, and we know oil is coming back," Bousquet said. "To start now and open in 2017, we're excited for that."

Thor bought the land in 2008. In May 2014, Thor's request to replat the property from commercial use to unrestricted was approved through the Houston Planning Commission, the Houston Chronicle reported at the time.