The highly anticipated River Oaks District hosted style mavens, philanthropists, media and government officials for breakfast, mimosas and cappuccinos at its Opening Celebration this morning. The grand affair, organized by Todd Events, was held on a crisp (at least by Houston standards) fall morning under the canopy of mature oak trees planted in the courtyard in front of Dior.
Dene Oliver, CEO of developer OliverMcMillan, shared the story of how the impressive luxury development came to fruition, thanks in part to his wife, Elizabeth, a fifth-generation Houstonian who taught him about the city and its residents. OliverMcMillan acquired the property in 2006 and saw an opportunity to “create an urban grid and do something different.” River Oaks District emphasizes the importance of people-watching and attractive streetscapes, and he says they intend the development to exist for hundreds of years.
Cartier was the first store to open, this past month; 20 to 25 additional stores are set to open in October, and many other retailers will follow suit in the coming months. Ninety-five percent of the tenants to come are new to Houston.
Oliver noted that the project, which features walkable streets and sidewalks as key features, would not have happened without the support of Mayor Annise Parker. Councilman David Robinson, who represented the mayor at the event today, applauded the design and landscaping, and joked that he loved the new streets because they were not full of potholes. Robinson then presented Oliver a proclamation from the city: October 1 is hereafter to be known as River Oaks District Day.
Oliver and Colin Moussa, OliverMcMillan’s director of marketing, said River Oaks District will support the arts locally through philanthropic endeavors. Then they introduced the Houston arts community’s most avid and stylish ambassador, Lynn Wyatt.
“I believe the arts are the soul of any city,” Wyatt said. “Now there’s even more reason to visit our cosmopolitan, welcoming city. Are you hearing me, world?”