Chinese project will add to Houston's skyline

By MAY ZHOU in Houston | | Updated: 2017-02-03 06:23

Chinese project will add to Houston's skyline

David Du, president of Tianqing Real Estate Development, talks about the milestone of the Allen Parkway development. [MAY ZHOU / CHINA DAILY]

The $500 million real estate project of Tianqing Real Estate Development LLC (Tianqing RED) and DC Partners has attracted an upscale anchor.

Thompson Hotels recently signed an agreement with the two companies to build Thompson Houston on their mixed-use development site at the corner of Allen Parkway and Gillette Street.

Thompson Hotels is a New York-based luxury boutique hotel chain which owns about 10 hotels in the US and Mexico. It is also in the process of entering the Texas market by building hotels in San Antonio and Dallas.

"Thompson is a contemporary-style luxury hotel chain; they chose our project because of its prime class-A location. Their participation in our development is a confirmation of our project. It also means that our project is moving forward as planned," said David Du, president of Tianqing RED, a US subsidiary of Tianqing Group Real Estate Company, the largest real estate company in China's Gansu province.

According to Du, the Thompson Houston hotel will be 36-38 stories high with condos on top floors. The first phase also includes a saucer-shaped lifestyle center with a high-end fitness center, spa and retail stores.

"We want to emphasize the concept of living, working and playing at one place and bring it to the next level. There will be 24/7 concierge service for both hotel and the condos, which enjoy a postcard view of downtown Houston," said Du.

Another advantage of the development is its proximity to Buffalo Bayou, a long stretch of public green space with a waterway that the city of Houston has spent more than $80 million on improving.

"We plan to build a bridge from the complex leading to Buffalo Bayou to bypass the traffic lights and make it more convenient and safer for people to reach the park across the street," said Du.

The first phase is expected to begin construction at the end of 2017 or early 2018, and be completed by 2020.

"Houston's economy has been slowed down by the oil price slump, and we expect it to pick up its pace beginning in 2018. By 2020 the market will be in prime condition for us to enter. We are confident we will ride the peak of the economic cycle," said Du.

The development will partially be financed by EB-5 programs to lower financing costs. "However, we're not relying entirely on EB-5 financing, we have enough funding to go ahead with the project regardless of how much we raise through EB-5," Du said.

"The architectural team is carefully designing the project to ensure the quality of a landmark structure at a prime location in Houston. We want it to be a ‘wow' stop for people," said Du. The development will be a new addition to Houston's skyline.

Tianqing RED and DC Partners have hired top global architecture design firm HOK to masterplan the project. The finalization of the conceptual design is expected in a month and construction design will begin after that.

Phase two of the development will include a high-rise office building and a small theatre is under consideration for phase three.

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