chip off the old block

Historic downtown Houston building emerges as new dining and shopping destination

Historic downtown building emerges as dining and shopping destination

The Americana
The historic Americana building will be home to restaurant and retail tenants.  Image courtesy of Capital Retail Properties and Identity Architects

Call it revitalization, call it a renaissance, but downtown is clearly on a major upswing, as evidenced by the myriad new food halls, park upgrades, and now, the development of a key — and historic — structure.

A familiar space at 811 Dallas St. is poised to become a pivotal shopping district, crafted as a smart nod to downtown’s past. Over the past year, the former Americana building has been whittled down to its original, six-story podium, which was completed in 1957 by Houston developer Melvin A. Silverman and his Manhattan collaborator Bennett Rose.

The new Americana project is led by Houston-based Capital Retail Properties and Identity Architects. It runs from Milam to Travis Street and will mark the western gateway to a future shopping district conceived by the Downtown Retail Task Force in cooperation with the Downtown District.

The project boasts availability for 31,000 square feet of premier street frontage space — with an additional 63,000 square feet below — plus 550 parking spaces, all in the heart of the central business district, according to a release.

Stretching east towards La Branch and the George R. Brown Convention Center, the project neighbors Midway’s GreenStreet mixed-use development. An added bonus: The Americana offers tunnel access.

Several local restaurateurs are said to be eyeing the new space, according to representatives of Capital Retail Properties, which  is also marketing The Americana as a site for a fitness park with several operators sharing locker facilities.

For visual appeal, architects are creating a "live green wall" system and wood-like material interspersed throughout the façade. The building’s iconic signage has been recovered and repaired and signature details from the Lloyd & Morgan (Three and Four Allen Center, American General Building, and Greenway Plaza) design have been revealed after nearly two decades, per the release.

The eastern side of downtown has seen increased development in the past couple of years. Openings like the Marriott Marquis, the new restaurants along Avenida de las Americas, and the imminent arrival of The Rustic have given the area new life. The Americana looks poised to become another valuable addition to the area.