The next big project downtown is still moving ahead, despite the current state of the economy.
Chandeliers were being hung in XXI Forever, a trendy apparel store which represents a significant new injection of soft retail downtown. At 25,000 square feet, the "urban flagship" XXI Forever debuts Thursday, the same day [Houston] Pavilions officially opens.
Last week, the shelves had been stocked at Books-A-Million, also opening Thursday. The tables have been laid out at seafood restaurant McCormick & Schmick's. The restaurant will have its grand opening on Nov. 3.
But other tenants won't arrive until December, with more opening in the spring, giving the center an incomplete look for the immediate future.
Its biggest obstacle, perhaps, will be luring customers on nights and weekends when much of downtown Houston can turn sleepy.
"This will be the new kid on the block. People will be made aware of it citywide and be curious enough to check it out," said Larry Plotsky, a real estate broker who specializes in Inner Loop retail. "Then you have to see how everything goes."
Some tenants have a good track record for drawing the crowds, including the retro/chic bowling lounge Lucky Strike. House of Blues is expansive, with a music hall, private club and restaurant featuring Southern cuisine and including a Sunday gospel brunch.
There's little doubt that the Pavilions will have a captive audience during the weekdays. The project is along Dallas, between Main and Caroline.