HOUSTON - Beverly Hills has Rodeo Drive and New York City has Fifth Avenue. Luxury brands like Cartier, Hermes and Dior don those streets with larger-than-life flagship stores.
Now that same atmosphere will be available in Houston at the River Oaks District, a mixed-use retail development just inside the loop off of Westheimer Road.
Unlike its neighborhood mega-mall, The Galleria, the River Oaks District will be a very outdoor experience.
"What we're really doing is creating here what Houstonians enjoy when they travel - they travel to New York, they travel to London, they travel to Paris, they travel to Mexico City, they travel to Miami. Life goes on in the streets in all of these cities," said Dene Oliver, the head of the development company behind the project.
Oliver, who is CEO of Oliver McMillan, said it actually took a level of convincing to get certain retailers to agree to open multi-level flagship stores in the Bayou city.
"Houston is a very important market in America, and some were very aware of that and some were not," he told KPRC 2's Dominique Sacshe.
Oliver gave Sacshe a tour and preview of River Oaks District, rattling off some of the high-end stores that will be brand new additions to Houston.
"Brunello Cucinelli, Etro, Keton, Cos, Canali, Harry Winston -- the list goes on and on of people that are new to the Houston market," he said.
Oliver believes these brands alongside world-class restaurants, a high-end movie theater and a pleasant outdoor environment will give Houstonians a new entertainment destination.
"This is the non-mall, this is the antithesis of a mall or a shopping center, this is a place to go have a life experience," Oliver said.
The folks trying to bolster tourism for Houston hope it works the other way around as well.
"Having robust shopping experiences here in Houston, helps us lure more tourists to the city," said Aj Mistretta, with Visit Houston.
Mistretta said the Galleria is already one of the top tourist destinations for the city, with many tourists coming from Mexico specifically to shop. He said a recent Travel and Leisure magazine survey gave Houston top marks as a luxury and boutique shopping destination.
The River Oaks District will also be home to Equinox, a high-end fitness club as well as commercial space and a luxury apartment complex.
The grand opening will take place Thursday with about 20 to 25 stores opening. Oliver said each month there will be more retailers opening.
The iPic Theatres movie theater is expected to open sometime in November.
Copyright 2015 by Click2Houston.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.