The shopping district has been undergoing a major transformation since late September, according to Rice Management Company, which owns and operates multiple city blocks in the area as an endowment arm of Rice University.
Besides a refreshed look, Rice Management Company sought to improve walkability, update landscaping, provide more patio space and implement tenant-inspired architecture, according to a Nov. 4 news release. The goal is to tap into the 83-year-old shopping district’s roots while maintaining new and updated landscaping upgrades.
Cosmetic improvements, meanwhile, include paint refreshes, architectural upgrades, seasonal plantings and flowering art installations.
“We’re focused on the longevity of Rice Village,” said Rice Management Company investment manager Morgan Lera in the news release. “Our strategic approach for placemaking and merchandising is laying the groundwork for the next generation while remaining committed to the unique character and foundation of the village.”
Renovations along University Boulevard and Kelvin Drive have been completed, according to a Rice Management Company spokesperson, with similar upgrades to Times Boulevard coming by the end of 2021.
The transformation comes as new tenants have made or will soon make the move to Rice Village, most entering the Houston market for the first time, according to the release. The village recently welcomed tenant additions such as CB2, Christina Greene Jewelry, SkinSpirit, Duck Camp and Badolina Bakery and Café. Rice Village also recently announced Sprinkles Cupcakes, the relocation of Sweet Paris and the upcoming addition of a new culinary concept by Aaron Bludorn, set to open in summer 2022.
“This transformation has been in the making for quite some time, and we’re excited for Houstonians to experience these exclusive concepts,” said Burdette Huffman of the Blue Ox Group in the news release. “Our premiere tenants further enhance an environment of approachable sophistication—offering a differentiated experience through some of Houston’s only storefronts for these new restaurants and new retailers.”