Although Braun Enterprises has owned the shopping center at 1900 West 18th Street since the fall of 2016, branding it Grove Heights, the final look of the building took more time and was completed last month.
“The shopping center is very large and long so we wanted a design that could create four different end caps and almost seem like two buildings,” said Braun’s Zach Wolf. “The other shopping centers in the neighborhood are generic so we wanted to create something that would stand out and was more fun.”
To do this, Braun worked with the Garrison Design Office’s Sean Garrison, who has owned GDO for about six years.
“I started out in residential, working on homes in the Heights, Garden Oaks and South Hampton,” said Garrison. “More recently we’ve moved into commercial work, including restaurant and retail.”
Recent projects include Andes Café in East Downtown and the bar Better Luck Tomorrow on Yale Street. Garrison also recently did work for Justin Yu’s Theodore Rex, completing extensive interior renovations.
For Grove Heights, it was the rehab of the exterior of the center that GDO tackled.
“The strip center hadn’t been touched since the 1980s,” said Garrison. “We collaborated with Braun to make it funky and cool, a centerpiece of the neighborhood.”
To do this, GDO envisioned a mid-century modern look that would be both retro and contemporary.
“We were playing with the horizontal plane and didn’t want it to look boxy,” said Garrison. “There wasn’t an overhaul of the entire parapet but we flared out the end caps and added angles to make it more dynamic. There was not only a cool factor but one of marketability too. It was a landmark for the tenants.”
The blue and gray accents on the building were chosen because the colors were thought to draw the eye and provide the building with character, and be more commonly accepted. A mural, echoing the design if the front, is painted on the left side of the center. It was a collaboration with popular mural artist Wiley Robertson.
“We share studio space,” said Garrison. “It’s great to work with him.”
Garrison said that his commercial work is picking up. “There’s a lot of word of mouth,” he said. “I like doing restaurants and retail spaces because they are the perfect combination of fun and unique custom design/build elements, and functional architecture.”
Wolf says that Grove Heights is 100 percent leased. New tenant iLoveKickboxing opened in November and Sola Salon hopes to open by April.