Fashion / Shopping

Houston Shopping District Undergoing a Dramatic Renovation: New Restaurants, New Nightlife and a New Look On Tap for Uptown Park

BY // 05.24.18

One of Houston’s premier shopping districts is on the up and up. Uptown Park, the stylish European-style shopping center roughly one mile north of The Galleria, is getting dramatically revamped in a multi-phase development.

Construction is already underway on its fresh, updated look. All of Uptown Park’s stores will stay open throughout the renovation.

New restaurants, stores and services are coming with the facelift. Arizona restaurant Flower Child is set to open in Uptown Park this fall. Flower Child is the first new restaurant that will  join the scene.

Uptown’s real estate owner, operator and developer EDENS is thrilled to sign on the health-centric foodie spot.

“Bringing them to Uptown was a big win for us. It has a really fresh presentation and brand,” EDENS managing director Tom Kiler tells PaperCity.

Flower Child is all about natural and organic food, with every single bite made from scratch. Dairy-free, sugar-free and gluten-free are all options.

Introducing Pêche

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“You feel better after you’ve been there,” Kiler says.

The fit vibe fits in well with EDENS’ vision for Uptown Park: give it some vitality, some verve. “We love the operators that are there, but from an aesthetic point of view it’s started to feel a little dated,” Kiler says. “There’s not a ton of energy pulling you all the way into the project.”

The Uptown renovation is geared toward making the center more dynamic and enticing. “We can capture your time,” Kiler says.

Think about your day, he adds. The new Uptown Park will have options that fit a person’s entire schedule. Looking for a quick bite in the morning? Kiler sees Uptown Park as the place to go for a much-needed coffee run at Starbucks.

Want to while away the afternoon with a little indulgence? Make a sweet pit stop at Crave Cupcakes or Araya Chocolate. Date night? Head over to Etoile Cuisine et Bar for an unforgettably French experience. Getting ready for a gala? Pick up a dress at Elizabeth Anthony and get your glam on at Drybar. The list goes on — and that’s just a few of the existing stores.

“We’re bringing in Flower Child, who I think will stack up against the great operators that are already there, but be something new and fresh,” Kiler says. “We’re going to round out offerings and make it so much more comprehensive.”

Flower Child is the first reveal, but Kiler’s hinted at some other sectors he’s interested in. “Some of them are a little more entertainment focused, because what do you do after dinner? That’s a category we’re very focused on for the project,” he says.

These new spaces will be destinations in and of themselves.

A New Neighborhood Uptown

There’s also be upscale spots for convenience. “Boutique fitness ­— the fitness category is interesting. Prepared food, pick-up groceries… we don’t have anybody specific yet,” Kiler says. “Salons, a manicure and pedicure place, because that’s a part of your week. Whether you’re making a quick convenience trip or going on a date or out with your girlfriends, Uptown Park can hit all those different moments.

“We want to be more ingrained. we want to be in the fabric of the community and create an enriching experience. That’s what we’re driving for.”

The construction is scheduled to wrap up later this year. You can expect a series of new Uptown openings through 2019.

“Really what we’re doing is trying to clean it up and bring a little more modern aesthetic,” Kiler says.

But that’s just for the facades. Kiler and EDENS have a dramatic take on what all of Uptown Park could be: its own little enclave, its own little neighborhood. It’ll take extensive redevelopment, with an emphasis on Uptown Park’s expansive outdoor space.

The project is designed to transform Uptown Park from a discrete series of shops to an approachable band of well-connected shops, joined by shaded pathways and trellises. The goal is to be welcoming, comfortable, inviting.

“The buildings were their own separate pods, not speaking to each other,” Kiler says. “You’d walk through arcade corridors behind them, really nice spaces. But they haven’t historically been used the way they should.”

Instead, Uptown Park should feel like a space far removed from the highway, its own little world of shopping and entertainment.

The new visual will be more seamless and the stroll more pleasant. All around the abundant green space, there will be areas for patrons to chat and unwind.

“We’re creating stronger connections between the buildings, bringing intimacy to spaces where you and a girlfriend could find a nook and have a glass of wine and people watch at the same time,” Kiler says.

In future, EDENS will even bring in innovative elements to the shady spaces, such as a kiosk serving cold margaritas, a beer garden, or even an artist working on a piece. If you’re looking for a quiet spot to lounge solo or get some work in, take advantage of the free center-wide Wi-Fi.

This is a whole new Uptown.

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