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HOUSTON-Crescent Real Estate Equities Co. will spend more than $10 million on the first phase to reposition 190,729 sf of retail in 4 Houston Center. Part of the plan, which has a three-year schedule, removes the Parks Shops name from the only mall in downtown Houston.

The project is the first overhaul of the multi-level retail component since the high-rise opened in 1983 at 1200 McKinney St. Jane Page, senior vice president, asset management and leasing for Fort Worth-based Crescent, tells GlobeSt.com that the project will be completed in phases and seeks to be at the “heart of the activity” in the CBD’s east end, the epicenter to a revitalization resulting from the Houston Rockets Arena, convention center hotel and Minute Maid Park.

Page says the first phase will take a year to complete. The west end lobby will be remodeled and the exterior upgraded, including new signs around the mall perimeter. The completion will bring three anchor spots, two of which are earmarked for restaurant and the third will be a shop. The makeover will add 6,500 sf of shop space on the project’s west side while lobby changes will bring granite and ceramic tile floors, ornamental column covers and stone-and-stucco wall finishes. Subsequent phases will include reworking the balance of the public areas, upgrading the food court and shifting the east end entrance.

A Crescent spokeswoman says the mall is 67% leased, but negotiations are under way to take occupancy to 80%. The newest name for the roster is Chicago-based Restaurant Development Group, which signed a 7,500-sf lease for a 200-seat Red Star eatery, ticketed to open in December. The Texas newcomer will open in an area created from the former shop of jeweler Bailey, Banks & Biddle and public space.

“With the exciting redevelopment of downtown Houston, the new Houston Rockets arena, and the expansion of the convention center and Minute Maid Park, we feel this dynamic area has just the right synergy for our next location of Red Star,” said Roger Greenfield, the chain’s founder and president.

Bob Hustwit of Crescent and Michele Dawson of Williams Jackson Ewing represented Crescent and Marc Offit of the Sierra Group Inc. negotiated the lease terms for the restaurateur. Crescent has hired the Development Design Group of Baltimore as the architectural design consultant and Williams Jackson Ewing, also from Baltimore, as the leasing and merchandising consultant. Morris Architects of Houston is the project’s main architect.

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