Red-hot Houston crowd revs up posh Porsche palace's grand opening
The highly anticipated opening of an luxurious automotive and lifestyle brand’s landmark locale recently revved up Houston’s social season.
More than 500 partiers and car enthusiasts joined Dr. Kjell Gruner, president of Porsche North America, and Sonic Automotive CEO Dave Smith and president Jeff Dyke to pack the posh new Porsche River Oaks.
More of a showroom and architectural/design gem, the new outpost is so much more than a typical dealership. Those familiar with the area will no doubt recognize the space on 4007 Greenbriar Dr. as Stahlman Lumber Company’s former home.
Local event guru Deborah Elias of Elias Events engineered a red-hot affair that spanned two floors and more than 40,000 square feet. Aside from drool-worthy Porsches of every type (including gorgeous classic rides), the grand opening soiree featured a surprise performance by country singer Clint Black, and an appearance by Houston’s “Rocket” Hall of Fame pitching legend Roger Clemens and Dynamo icon Brian Ching.
As they arrived, guests were greeted by (literally) high-flying aerial acrobats, then with glasses of champagne topped with sugar cubes emblazoned with the iconic Porsche logo.
A shimmering wall step and repeat, pyrotechnics, and 360 photo booth, plus DLG Ice Factory’s ice wall raw bar (featuring the Porsche logo), and a cocktail chemistry station with drinks created in tail-pipe-inspired vessels set the mood. As visitors strolled, they were met by balloon clouds, a strolling sax player, and a psychedelic, interactive art installation with motion tracking.
Then it was time to hit the pop-up nightclub, which was held in the dealership’s spotless shop, and boasting multiple bars, digital 3D mapping elements and motion lighting, and tasty treats by Los Angeles-based Gastro Garage.
Upstairs, the second-floor showroom starred a “rockestra” band and delicious, cheese wheel pastas tossed with truffle. The car crowd was quick to check out the Fitting Lounge, where customers can choose everything from leather finishes to shift knob designs, doubled as a Porsche design watch showcase.
Aside from the show-stopping, collectible vehicles, artwork came courtesy of The Whale Tail Project, an eye-catching sculpture series from European artist Johans Lamic, which reinterpreted the iconic 930 turbo spoiler and mingled with stunning red rose arrangements.
Also upstairs, Clemens, the Hall of Famer and former Astros legend, shared a stirring story of how he offered his beloved Porsche for charity and how it moved him in a speech that inspired laughs and thunderous applause.
Clearly, no one was eager to leave, but when they did, those departing were gifted with pina colada popsicles and goodie bags of Porsche swag. More partners making the night a success included Bravo Entertainment, Premier Sound and Lighting, Louie Balloonieville, Kirksey Gregg Productions, and AFR.
While brand new on the scene, the new dealership is hardly a secret: One guest shared with us that he’s already placed an order for the coveted and wildly rare ride that’s set for delivery soon. In all, it was a grand prix night for an elite new venue.
Seen on the scene: Roger Clemens, Brian and Mary Elizabeth Ching, David Gow, Marcelo Saenz and Adrian Duenas, Elizabeth and Alan Stein, Andrew Pappas, Kyle Rottet, Ally Ondarza, Jose Ocque, Heather Almond, Jessica Rossman, Jennifer Roosth, Hayden Jefferies and Isrel Fonseca, Dom McGee, Lisa Gochman, Chong Yi, Kayvon Sohrabi and Dr. Roland Maldonado, Beth Muecke, Roz and Alan Pactor, and many more.