Bricks Turn White in Rice Village as the Arcade Makeover Unfolds
By: Christine Gerbode
The western corner space at University Blvd. and Kelvin St. in the Rice Village now has a coat of white paint over its brick facade, though the storefronts to either side have yet to follow suit. The space, last occupied by a Sprint store prior to a multi-year vacancy, appears to be setting up as the next link in the Blue Mercury cosmetics-spa chain, while street and utility work progresses at the corner.
The former Village Arcade (now being rebranded as, simply, the Rice Village) consists of the shopping centers on University on either side of Kelvin St.; the buildings were acquired from Weingarten in 2014 by Rice University, which already owned the land beneath the center and employs the same St. Joe brick in many of its campus buildings. Rice also employs development company Trademark to manage the Arcade property; the company released a few renderings of the first phase of the center’s intended makeover last fall, just before work began:
Planned renovations include a new parking management system, and what appear to be some glassy additions to the Kelvin St. side of the western strip:
Meanwhile, in the eastern block of the complex, Trademark has booted out Baker St. Pub, which closed its Morningside Dr. branch on January 3rd after 15 years of operation. Trademark’s longer term plans for the former Arcade are intended to eliminate the center’s “master-planned community” feel.