Real Estate

Transwestern's RO Project Begins in Upper Kirby with Luxury Focus

Transwestern's RO project launches in Upper Kirby, promising a mixed-use transformation with luxury living and commercial spaces.

By Tal Alexander

5/15, 19:04 EDT

Key Takeaway

  • Transwestern Development begins construction on the RO, a 740,000-square-foot mixed-use project in Houston's Upper Kirby, featuring luxury hotel Birdsall and over 700 apartments.
  • The development includes a significant office space of 146,000 square feet already promised to an undisclosed tenant and aims to offer local boutiques and chef-driven restaurants across 75,000 square feet of retail space.
  • After seven years in planning, the project repurposes a former ExxonMobil site into a community-centric space inspired by San Antonio's Pearl with amenities for both residents and visitors.

A New Era for Houston's Upper Kirby

Transwestern Development has ignited excitement in Houston's real estate scene with the groundbreaking of the RO, a mixed-use marvel in the Upper Kirby area. This ambitious project, sprawling over 17 acres at 3120 Buffalo Speedway, has been seven years in the making. It promises to redefine urban living in Houston, blending luxury accommodations with vibrant commercial spaces. The development's centerpiece, the Birdsall, marks Houston's first Auberge Resorts Collection hotel, complemented by up to eight restaurant spaces, over 700 apartments, and a 146,000-square-foot office building designed for a single, yet undisclosed, tenant. This project not only signifies a major transformation of a former ExxonMobil research facility but also reflects a broader trend of urban revitalization and mixed-use development in major cities.

Transforming Urban Spaces

The RO's design and offerings are a testament to the evolving landscape of urban development. With a mix of 310,000 square feet of office space initially planned, now adjusted to 146,000 square feet for a more focused tenant experience, and 644 residential units expanded to over 700, the project adapts to the growing demand for mixed-use environments. The addition of the Birdsall, featuring 105 hotel keys and 44 condo units, alongside a public restaurant and two amenity decks, introduces a new level of luxury and community integration. The development's focus on creating a Houston-centric atmosphere, inspired by successful projects like the Pearl in San Antonio, underscores a commitment to place-making and the creation of vibrant, livable urban spaces.

A Broader Vision for Houston

The RO's groundbreaking is part of a larger narrative of development and investment in Houston's urban core. Similar to the recent acquisition of a 6.3-acre tract in Uptown Houston by Texas business titans for a mixed-use development, the RO reflects confidence in Houston's growth and its appeal as a destination for luxury and lifestyle. These projects, leveraging prime locations and focusing on high-end commercial and residential offerings, signal a significant shift towards creating integrated, dynamic urban environments. The strategic vision behind these developments, emphasizing accessibility, luxury, and community, points to a future where mixed-use projects become catalysts for urban transformation.

A Reflection on Urban Development Trends

The initiation of the RO project by Transwestern Development, alongside the acquisition in Uptown Houston by prominent local businessmen, illustrates a broader trend in urban development. These projects highlight a growing preference for mixed-use spaces that offer a blend of residential, commercial, and leisure facilities. This shift is driven by a desire for more integrated, community-focused urban living options that cater to the evolving needs of city dwellers. The emphasis on creating spaces that feel like an extension of the community, with a focus on local boutiques and chef-driven restaurants, reflects a deeper understanding of the modern urbanite's lifestyle preferences.

Management Quotes

  • Sean Suffel, Project Executive at Transwestern:

    "The site itself has been coveted for decades... We felt really that the place-making piece is the part we care about the most." "The RO should feel like an extension of River Oaks."