Photo by Analee Micheletti

A well-known luxury high-rise had to be evacuated amid possible structural issues. The Royalton at River Oaks, which overlooks Allen Parkway, is recognizable by its crown rooftop.

The high-rise condominium complex is popular with wealthy Houstonians, including Senator Ted Cruz in the past.

According to an email sent to residents on Thursday August 11, structural engineers were called to evaluate the building after concrete on the first floor buckled. The whole first floor is a mess, with water and sand all over the bottom floor of the building. Water main lines also ruptured on some residential floors, according to the email. Two remediation companies were working to repair the "extensive" water damage.

Residents were told to evacuate around 9 pm Thursday, and tell ABC13 that some of them heard kind of a boom or a loud noise. One couple reported that water started coming into their condo unit.


Continue reading this story, with accompanying video, on our news partner ABC13.

Photo courtesy of DC Partners

Haute Houstonians toast luxe new high-rise's artsy ambassador

Better Together

As all of Houston eagerly awaits the arrival of its newest luxury high-rise, the Residences at The Allen, a major step has been made with regards to its design.

Adrián Dueñas, CEO and partner of Houston’s luxury European furniture and design house BeDesign, was recently named an official brand ambassador for the development.

Future residents and guests toasted Dueñas with Veneno Tequila cocktails at a gathering held at the onsite sales gallery, which showcases furniture exclusively by BeDesign.

"BeDesign's understanding of our vision and their dedication to delivering a luxury experience was completely in line with what the Residences at The Allen offers," says Roberto Contreras, CEO of DC Partners. "So much so, Adrián and Marcelo purchased a home in the building. Adrian’s keen eye for style, Italian design and furnishings, and his diverse connections with people from all over the world make him a natural ambassador for all that the Residences at The Allen have to offer."

The Residences at The Allen features 99 luxury condominiums atop Houston’s first Thompson Hotel.

Floorplans consist of one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and three-bedroom condos, as well as 17 thoughtfully designed penthouses ranging, all ranging from 919-10,000 square feet.

Residents will enjoy floor-to-ceiling glass, kitchen and bathroom cabinetry by PEDINI, ample art gallery wall space, private outdoor living with summer kitchens, optional sky gardens, or a uniquely engineered pet relief area on the balcony.

BeDesign offers premium upgraded custom closet systems by luxury Italian craftsmen Molteni&C as a special amenity to buyers of the Residences at The Allen.

Unmatched services and full amenities provided by the Thompson Hotel are also standard, including 24-hour resident valet and concierge, room service, a lavish spa, signature restaurants, and breathtaking views of the city on the pool deck with cabanas.

The helistop will be available to hotel guests and residents and is engineered to accommodate drone deliveries and transportation of the future.

The Residences at the Allen is expected to deliver in 2023 and is currently 65 percent sold.

"It means a lot to be partnering with one of, if not the strongest, development projects in the city," says Dueñas. "To represent this company with their portfolio is a one-of-a-kind opportunity. DC Partners believes in me and my brand, and my brand believes in the project. In turn, that means I can go anywhere in the world and talk about the project, and my personal home, with the same passion I have about my brand. I am very proud to be a part of it."

The Allen includes a luxury, mixed-use development anchored by the Thompson Hotel and elevated by the Residences at The Allen.

The $500 million landmark project is situated across six acres at the southeast corner of Allen Parkway and Gillette Street in Houston, overlooking the award-winning Buffalo Bayou Park.

Adrián Dueñas is an official brand ambassador for the Residences at The Allen.

Photo courtesy of DC Partners
Adrián Dueñas is an official brand ambassador for the Residences at The Allen.
Rendering courtesy of StreetLights Residential

Posh new Boulevard Oaks tower replaces controversial Ashby high-rise

introducing the langley

Some 15 years ago, a turf war ensued between Boulevard Oaks/Rice University-area residents and the developers of a mixed-use tower, then dubbed the Ashby high-rise.

While locals filed a suit against Buckhead Investment Partners, a judge eventually sided with developers in 2016, though the embattled property at 1717 Bissonnet St. has yet to be developed.

That all may change, as national developer StreetLights Residential has teamed with El Paso-based Hunt Companies, Inc. to now construct The Langley, a new luxury rental community. The targeted completion date is 2025, per StreetLights press materials.

The Langley will offer 134 apartment homes in two- and three-bedroom floor plans, according to a press release. Aimed at luxe renters and downsizing empty nesters and single-family-home owners, the project promises “the valet and concierge services of a five-star hotel and the craftsmanship of a custom home,” per StreetLights.

Average rental unit spaces are just under 3,000 square feet and are targeted to long-term leases. The Langley’s approach will mirror StreetLight’s other Houston properties: The James and The Ivy, neighboring projects in Highland Village, and upmarket community The Carter.

“The Langley will be a high-rise residential building with stunning views that match the surrounding community's standard of excellence,” said Stephen Meek, senior vice president of development for StreetLights Residential, in a statement. “Nestled between Rice University and the Museum District, and drawing inspiration from the historic charm of the immediate Boulevard Oaks and Southampton neighborhoods, The Langley’s location demands the highest level of detail in building design, amenities, finishes, and services.”

First proposed in 2007, the Ashby high-rise consisted of a 23-story tower with 17 floors of units. In effort to blend with the community, developers planned an aesthetic that matched that of nearby Rice University. However, the project drew widespread protests from area residents who objected to the potential influx of traffic it would create in the affluent, Inner Loop neighborhood.

At the center of a walkability/quality of life maelstrom, the Ashby space was either damaging to the neighborhood, traffic flow, and residents’ privacy, or, a boon to Inner Loop development—depending on the source.

With petitions and familiar “Stop the Ashby high-rise” signs and bumper stickers en vogue at the height of the years-long quarrel, tensions have since died down. Time will tell how area dwellers will respond to this new iteration.

The Langley takes the place of the embattled Ashby high-rise.

Rendering courtesy of StreetLights Residential
The Langley takes the place of the embattled Ashby high-rise.
Rendering courtesy of Ziegler Cooper Architects

New mixed-use tower planned for Uptown aims to elevate scene

going up in uptown

The Uptown/Galleria area is set to add an elevated, mixed-use destination to its skyline. Real estate investment firm DeisoMoss will develop a new, 43-story, mixed-use tower located at 2120 Post Oak Blvd. set to break ground next year.

Commercial Observer was first to report the news.

According to Commercial Observer, DeisoMoss secured $26.1 million of funding from Manhattan-based Northwind Group to secure the 551,905 square-foot development. Plans call for 355 multifamily units, 100,000 square feet of Class A office space, and high-end retail, which should be a fit with the upscale area offerings.

“The pre-development loan with Northwind is instrumental in bringing us through to a foundation excavation to get to the floor-up construction loan,” Andrew Deiso, founder of DeisoMoss, tells Commercial Observer. “It’s probably the most coveted piece of undeveloped dirt in Houston.”

Renderings provided to CultureMap from acclaimed Houston firm Ziegler Cooper, the 2120 Post Oak’s project architect that is also behind some 45 familiar high-rises including The Driscoll, Autry Place, and Granduca Residences, reveal a tree-lined roof replete with a pool overlooking the bustling street.

Notably for foodies, Deiso adds that his firm has already attracted interest from “nationally recognized white-tablecloth” restaurant chains for the retail/dining space.

Touting a “work, play, live” approach to the destination, which is still unnamed, DeisoMoss founder Taylor Moss tells Commercial Observer that this new project will match those in other major markets.

“You see these mixed-use towers in other primary markets like New York, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, but it’s kind of a novel concept for Houston,” he notes. ”We’re taking the model of these other primary markets and other very successful developers that have come before us and taking a page out of their playbook and trying to introduce these luxury high-end, what we call “Class double-A” [assets] to the Houston market.”

Future apartment tenants can expect a considerable price tag for rent. “Uptown rental rates are growing at a rapid pace,” Moss tells Commercial Observer. “We are looking to continue that trend with our product.”

For some perspective, as the Houston Chronicle points out, rents at the nearby new luxury Aspire Post Oaks apartment towner range from $2,300 to about $6,000 per month.

Promising a “work, play, live” approach, the new 2120 Post Oak Blvd. high-rise promises a rooftop pool.

Rendering courtesy of Ziegler Cooper Architects
Promising a “work, play, live” approach, the new 2120 Post Oak Blvd. high-rise promises a rooftop pool.
Photo courtesy of Nan and Company Properties

Houston's second-priciest penthouse sells in posh Post Oak high-rise

the (really) high life

With more locals opting for the lock-and-leave lifestyle, elevated living is on the rise. Little surprise, then, that a highly coveted penthouse, Houston’s second-highest priced, has just sold.

Located on the 28th floor of the tony Astoria (1409 Post Oak Blvd.), the high-rise was listed at $6.9 million by Nancy Almodovar of Nan and Company Properties. While the final sale price wasn’t disclosed, it’s estimated to be between $5.8 million and $6.76 million, according to the Houston Association of Realtors.

Boasting six bedrooms and six 6 bathrooms, the 9,500-square-foot space features sweeping views of the Post Oak area. Amenities start with a private elevator entrance, Italian Bardiglio marble flooring, a four-screen video wall, floating shelves, and custom lighting fixtures. The unit is marked by high ceilings and wide windows.

In the dining room, Calacutta gold marble floors balance two contemporary chandeliers while opening into a modern chef’s kitchen. The cooking/gathering space is home to custom Eggersman cabinetry, quartz countertops and glass backsplash, stainless steel Miele appliances, and a butler's catering kitchen that is also home to an ample amount of storage space, per the property description.

Oenophiles will no doubt make use of the 600-bottle, climate-controlled wine room featuring custom cabinetry and considerable storage space. Cinephiles, meanwhile, can enjoy a private movie screening room with a 125-inch screen, Milliken carpet, and 12 sound-deadening wall pads. A game room has nine — yes, nine —large screen TVs and a view of downtown.

After watching sports, sporty residents can take a swing in the private, 3D golf simulator room outfitted with Astro-turf, or hit the weights in a private home gym with its wall of full-length mirrors, built-in TV monitor, and direct access to a private outdoor space.

A private, cull-cedar sauna and steam room with built-in aromatherapy, cooling sprays, shower and speakers provides a post-workhouse paradise.

The primary bedroom provides floor-to-ceiling windows, a custom see-through fireplace, a spacious private outdoor balcony, a coffee bar and coved floor, and ceiling lights. Its spa-like primary bath features a standing glass shower, soaking tub, his and her Japanese Toto separate toilets, and mirrored TV. Details aren’t spared in the bedroom closets; they come with custom, Calacatta marble countertops.

Though dwellers couldn’t be blamed for staying indoors exclusively, outside, the penthouse features a private oasis pool that overlooks the city with over 1,300 square feet of space outfitted with lush turf for outdoor fun.

This Astoria high-rise is the brainchild of Randall Davis and DC Partners; lobby and residential areas were designed by Eric Clough of the award-winning firm, 212 Box.

The outdoor space features a pool and sweeping views.

Photo courtesy of Nan and Company Properties
The outdoor space features a pool and sweeping views.
Rendering courtesy of Greystar

Luxurious new high-rise elevates living near Memorial Park

introducing the westcott

The resurgence and renewal of Memorial Park means thousands of more visitors and, not surprisingly, more nearby development. Towards that end, a new high-rise community aims to elevate the lock-and-leave just steps away from the Memorial Park trails and golf course.

Dubbed The Westcott — and smartly located at 929 Westcott St. — this new development promises luxurious amenities and white glove service — especially for young professional who flock to the Washington Avenue/Memorial Park area. The Westcott’s 315 residences all feature balconies that showcase vistas of Memorial Park and city skylines.

Floorplans include 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom options, ranging from 788-square-feet one-bedroom and one-bath apartments to 3,235-square-feet penthouses featuring three bedrooms and three baths with 29 floorplan options in between.

Select penthouses boast layouts that reflect traditional inspiration with gallery entries, primary suites with large sitting rooms, a study, and a wine cellar, per a press release.

Amenities and lifestyle perks include valet service and a rideshare lounge, athletic club, and a pool with private cabanas. Those working from home can get busy at the conference room or the outdoor mezzanine lounge. Speaking of outdoors, the emerald sky deck overlooks downtown and is home to a wine bar and piano lounge, perfect for unwinding after a day at the office.

Busy residents can get an assist from the concierge staff, who help with personal trainers at the athletic club, dinner reservations, tee times at the Memorial Park course, or even a groomer for the onsite coat trim for fur babies. Onsite dry cleaning means no waiting in line at the cleaners.

A new promotion offers the first 40 leases signed access to the Founders’ Club, which delivers branded gifts, experiences, and exclusive services.

“The Westcott offers a charm that is rare when paired with the caliber of the community’s services and amenities,” said Mai Olaussen, director of development at Greystar, in a statement. (Greystar partnered with J.P. Morgan Global Alternatives on the development.) “There’s something special about every square-inch of this property.”


The Westcott; 929 Westcott St.; 713-929-9292 or The Westcott online.

The Westcott boasts views of Memorial Park.

Rendering courtesy of Greystar
The Westcott boasts views of Memorial Park.
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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Luxe plastic surgery center injects River Oaks with cutting-edge techniques, posh recovery suites, secret access, and more

A-list treatment

With the holiday season in full swing and many prepping for a new look for the new year, image-conscious Houstonians have a new option for cutting-edge cosmetic treatments and plastic surgery in one of Houston’s most elite neighborhoods.

Nuveau Plastic Surgery + Medical Aesthetics, a local leader in cosmetic medical procedures, has quietly opened a sleek new facility in River Oaks (3720 Westheimer Rd.). Owned and operated by renowned (and board-certified) plastic surgeon Dr. Edward Lee, the facility offers myriad reconstructive surgeries for men, women, and children, as well as beauty treatments, touch-ups, and more.

Aside from top-of-the-line technology, instrumentation, and treatments, the boutique center has personalized service and features to the tony RO crowd. A secret entrance ensures privacy for discreet clients, much like similar operations in Los Angeles and New York.

Another top-drawer feature: Tastefully appointed pre-op and post-op suites keep patients in-house, rather than having to leave posh treatment centers and head to crowded hospital rooms for recovery.

In keeping with Lee’s insistence on a medicine-first approach, anesthesia for patients is provided by Medical Anesthesia Associates, an MD-only group.

A cut above

Notably, the center places a primary focus on plastic surgery, which, for the uninitiated, has a clear distinction from cosmetic surgery. Randy Rakes, managing partner, tells CultureMap that it’s important for clients to understand the difference.

“You have to understand, you have to go through hundreds of hours of training and cases — face and the entire body — to get that board certification, and go through rigorous testing in order to meet that specification,” he says.

Why is that important? The industry, Rakes notes, is rife with practitioners such as “OBGYNs or dermatologists or people who have not really been trained in the art of plastic surgery, who take a class somewhere and learn how to do liposuction or a fat transfer — and then they're ‘experts’ in aesthetic surgery.”

That’s especially key when selecting a provider for highly invasive — and potentially serious — procedures such as facelifts, eyelid surgeries, tummy tucks, liposuction, rhinoplasty, breast lifts and augmentations, breast reconstruction, and more, Rakes adds.

In an era of Instagram beauty demands, more choosy clients are opting for streamlining facial features. To that end, Lee is one of a select few surgeons in the U.S. who regularly performs “V-Line '' surgery. The set of procedures, popularized in South Korea where Lee honed many of his skills, aim to narrow the width of the jawline and the face.

Aesthetics with an expert eye

Lee’s elegant, 5,500-square-foot center is adorned with CASA Houston designs, Italian-influenced finishes, and soothing elements evocative of a modern art museum or luxury spa. The facility houses a Visia Skin Analysis Studio and seven treatment suites aesthetic work such as Botox, microneedling, VI peels, Halo Laser Resurfacing, Moxi Non-Ablative Laser, Broad Band Light Photofacials, Coolsculpting, Emsculpt, and more.

Rakes says that his registered nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and estheticians are elite, by design, as he and Lee insist on credentials. “All of our injectors are licensed in the State of Texas,” he says. “Most places don't have that, the reason being is that they are much more highly skilled than a traditional, regular nurse injector. So they have a much higher skill set. The people who do our lasers and things of that nature have 10 to 15 years of experience, so clients know that they're getting the best possible treatment with the best possible devices — we own every medical device that's considered cutting edge in the industry.”

Facing forward

Rakes, a longtime medical industry processional with a keen eye for trends and technology, says that his clients aren’t just looking for traditional services, but new technologies and treatment, such as PRP and other regenerative therapies. “I think patients are kind of moving a little bit away from the traditional Hyaluronic fillers like Restylane and really looking for something with a more natural approach.”

His treatment teams stimulate collagen with fillers such as Radiesse, “and then we combine that with energy-based devices to even further lift the tissue and work as a synergy between using the injectable and the device, because the combination of both of those things give the patient the best possible results,” Rakes notes. Lee and Rakes also focus facial care on medical-grade skincare brands Alastin, Revision, and Elta MD.

A global scope

Aside from his board certification in plastic surgery, Lee has also trained in craniofacial and pediatric surgery. His medical mission work has taken him to Thailand, Haiti, and Cambodia, where he has performed surgeries for nonprofits such as Operation Smile and Smile Train for those in need.

Those in need of non-traditional treatments can also trust Lee, says Rakes, who points to Lee’s work in the cosmetic and plastic surgery-obsessed Korea. “Some of the Korean techniques are much more advanced than the techniques that are available here in the United States,” says Rakes. “Dr. Lee does a lot of things that other physicians here just don't do.”

Those interested should book early, Rakes advises, as the holiday and new year rush is in full swing. The center offers “pre-buying” slots where clients can reserve space and time. “We’ve been very busy,” says Rakes, noting the local celebs who’ve shared the work they’ve received there on social media. “I think people come here because they know they’re getting the very best treatment and results available.”

Photo courtesy of Nuveau PlasticSurgery + Medical Aesthetics

Nuveau's sleek River Oaks center boasts designs from CASA.

Beloved Houston urban farm toasts local culinary legend with new cooking courses and classroom


For longtime Houston food insiders, Peg Lee needs no introduction. A lifelong local culinary instructor, she has been a fixture in the food scene since the 1970s, where she (often humorously) led cooking classes at Houston Community College.

She was a no-brainer to found and direct Rice Epicurean's cooking school. And the newly launched Central Market made waves in 2001 by enticing her to launch its now wildly successful cooking school, which, thanks to Lee, has lured top national and international chefs and food names.

Along the way, Lee mentored now well-known chefs such as Robert Del Grande, Greg Martin, and Mark Cox.

Quite apropos, the Houston legend is now the namesake for a new cooking school in one of the city's most beloved urban green sanctuaries, Hope Farms. The Peg Lee Culinary Classroom in Hope Farms' Gathering Barn now hosts field trips, classes, tastings, and free cooking demonstrations for children and adults.

Locals can also book the charming space, spearheaded by Recipe for Success/Hope Farms founder Gracie Cavnar, for cooking parties and cooking classes for anywhere from four to 24 students. Those interested can find more information on classes, which center on Cavnar's passion for healthy eating, and more here.

As for the classroom, visitors can expect a white, farmhouse-style kitchen with custom cabinets and high-end appliances, all reflective of a home kitchen. Butcherblock countertops, matte black accents, and farm-made tables and more adorn the space, while a Wolf Induction cooktop, A GE Café Smart Five-in-One Wall Oven, and other state-of-the-art appliances get folks cooking.

Fittingly, classroom water is tied into the farm's new rainwater capture system for the ultimate in sustainability.

“Peg was one of my earliest mentors in the imagining and crafting of what Recipe for Success Foundation would become,” Cavnar noted in a statement. “Then, when we began programing, she rolled up her sleeves and got to work, helping us teach children to cook and bringing her many resources to help us raise money and awareness for our efforts. It is my deepest honor to pay her tribute with the naming of our classroom.”

New craft brewery bringing 'bold American beer,' Texas comfort food, live music, and more to Sugar Land

Sugar land's new craft brewery

Houston’s growing craft brewery scene will add a new outpost in Sugar Land. Talyard Brewing Co. recently began construction on a 15,000-square-foot production and tap room that will open in early 2024.

Located in Imperial, a massive mixed-use development on the site of the former Imperial Sugar refinery, Talyard will occupy a three-and-a-half acre site that will include a beer garden with shaded seating areas, pickle ball courts, a playground, and a stage for live entertainment.

Principals Keith Teague and Chuck Laughter are Sugar Land natives and neighbors who bring experience from the business world to Talyard. In a release, Teague says that intend to serve “bold American beer” paired with a food menu of Texas comfort food made from locally sourced ingredients.

“We want to push the boundaries of style and tradition by combining old practices and new,” Teague added.

Ultimately, the brewery’s 20-barrel brewhouse will be capable of producing 10,000 barrels per year. For now, brew master Sean Maloney is dialing in recipes on a test system. Formerly of 8th Wonder Brewing, Maloney has been working on the West Coast and recently finished the World Brewing Academy’s Master Brewer Program, administered by the Siebel Institute in Chicago and the Doemens Academy in Munich.

“As I’m sure is the case for many ventures like ours, the idea of starting a craft brewery was hatched over beers in the backyard,” Teague said. “Sean attended high school with Chuck’s son, and over the years, we’d see him at family gatherings during the holidays when he was visiting from the West Coast. Those backyard beer sessions turned into area brewery tours together, and eventually the idea of sharing our passion here locally was born.”

Talyard will add to Imperial’s extensive entertainment options. The area also includes Constellation Field, home to the Sugar Land Space Cowboys, a weekly farmers market, and the Fort Bend Children’s Discovery Center.