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A new Hotel ZaZa is rising in Houston: Luxury outpost will be Whole Foods' neighbor in snazzy, new complex

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MetroNational Lifestyle Block Whole Food Bunker Hill Hotel Zaza
A mixed-use project comes to Bunker Hill and I-10 with major Texas brands allegedly on board. Developer MetroNational already owns much of the block. Image by Tyler Rudick Courtesy of Google Maps
Memorial City_Gateway_Tony's_construction drawing
The developer also owns Gateway Memorial City, the Westin tower and the Hermann Memorial building (all pictured above) as well as the Memorial City Mall. Courtesy of SkyscraperCity.com
MetroNational Lifestyle Block Whole Food Bunker Hill Hotel Zaza
Memorial City_Gateway_Tony's_construction drawing

With its Gateway Memorial City development officially open, development firm MetroNational is teaming up with two notable Texas brands on another nearby project.

A new Hotel ZaZa and a new Whole Foods will anchor a new mixed-use center on a currently vacant parcel owned by the developer at the southwest corner of I-10 and Bunker Hill Road, a source close to the project tells CultureMap.

Renderings posted on the Houston Architecture Information Forum reveal a 12-story apartment tower surrounded by a seven-level building housing a Whole Foods and additional retail areas. On top of the grocery store portion appears to be space for a hotel, including a large pool deck with views facing west. This will be the site of the new Hotel ZaZa, the second one in Houston and third in Texas.

Plans to create a so-called "Lifestyle Tract" along  the block date to 2011.

Dallas-based architects Humphreys & Partners prepared the drawings, according to the forum post.

More than two years ago, Swamplot unearthed MetroNational's plans to create a so-called "Lifestyle Tract" across much of the I-10 block from Bunker Hill to Memorial City Way. At the time, a preliminary site map carved out a large "future development" corner lot now reserved for the upcoming mixed-use project.

The development firm has demolished buildings on the far Bunker Hill portion of the block — including an aging strip center, a Spec's and a Shipley Donuts — as it built a LEED-certified office mid-rise for Nexen Petroleum at the southeast corner in 2012. The developer also owns the Fountains at Memorial City apartments west of Nexen as well as office towers on the block's two western corners.

MetroNational's other area holdings include the Memorial City Mall as well as towers on Gessner Road for Memorial Hermann Hospital and the Westin hotel.

An employee of a nearby MetroNational affiliated business tells CultureMap that staff had been informed about the forthcoming grocery store complex, but not specifically the hospitality component.

Meanwhile, Hotel Zaza president Benji Homsey neither confirms nor denies involvement in the mixed-use project, saying only that there is "nothing to report." Both MetroNational and Whole Foods did not return requests for comment.

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