Transwestern’s Upper Kirby mixed-use project finally underway 

Houston’s first Auberge Resorts Collection hotel is part of development, which has been in the works for seven years

Transwestern’s Upper Kirby Mixed-Use Project Finally Underway
Transwestern’s Larry Heard with rendering of The RO (Transwestern, Getty)

Transwestern Development finally has a shovel in the ground at the site of a long awaited mixed-use development in Houston’s Upper Kirby area.

The Houston-based firm will start construction next month on the RO, a 740,000-square-foot project spanning 17 acres at 3120 Buffalo Speedway, the Houston Business Journal reported.

The development, which has been in the works for seven years, will feature the Birdsall, Houston’s first Auberge Resorts Collection hotel; up to eight restaurant spaces; more than 700 apartments; and a 146,000-square-foot office building, the outlet reported. A single tenant is in line to occupy the build-to-suit office building. The tenant has not been disclosed. 

Back in 2019, the plan was for 310,000 square feet of office space and 644 residential units, plus retail and a hotel with condos. 

A hotel-condo, the Birdsall, is in the works. It is slated for 105 hotel keys, 44 condo units and two amenity decks, with one reserved for hotel guests and the other for residents. It will also have a restaurant open to the public.

A 317-unit apartment high-rise with its own amenity deck will rise across from the Birdsall. Two more apartment buildings totaling 400 units, centered on a large green space, will offer more affordable price points. 

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The development will also feature 75,000 square feet of retail space, focusing on chef-driven restaurants and local boutiques, plus an underground garage.

The project is a redevelopment of a former ExxonMobil research facility.

“The site itself has been coveted for decades,” Sean Suffel, project executive at Transwestern, told the Houston Chronicle. “We felt really that the place-making piece is the part we care about the most.”

The design, by Pickard Chilton, is inspired by the Pearl in San Antonio and aims to create a home-like atmosphere with a Houston-centric feel. 

“The RO should feel like an extension of River Oaks,” Suffel said. 

—Quinn Donoghue 

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