PaperCity Magazine

March 2018- Houston

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Page 37 of 115

36 SWOON THE TOWER OF WANDERINGS T ilman Fertitta marches across the long drive at a pace that an Olympic race walker would appreciate. The billionaire owner of Landry's Inc. hospitality empire and the Houston Rockets is in even more of a hurry than usual. It's hard to keep up with him — and a host of hustling, trailing folks are trying, including his son, Patrick, and Jeff Cantwell, Landry's senior VP of development. It's a Sunday in Houston, a day when even all-mighty beings are supposed to rest. Fertitta is just a man, but he certainly feels an urgent sense of purpose. The Post Oak — his new 38-story luxury hotel, high-rise, office, restaurant, and shopping complex that spreads across 10 acres along West Loop South — needs to be largely completed by the time the first charity galas inaugurate its massive ballrooms later this month. When rapper Pitbull (a Fertitta friend and texting buddy) takes the stage in The Post Oak's 16,000-square-foot Grand Ballroom for the Houston Children's Charity Gala on Friday, March 23, things must be perfect. To Fertitta, anything less would almost be an insult to Houston. He looks at this hotel as his chance to show that his hometown is worthy of the best things in the world. "Houston's never had a hotel like this," he says. "The last great world-class hotel we had was the Shamrock Hotel, and that was a different era. People come to Houston, and there's no great hotel to stay. That's not acceptable. Not for this city." At age 60, Fertitta is not even old enough to remember the Shamrock's peak 1950s glamorous glory days. But his father, Vic, who also stops by on this Sunday to see his son and check on the tower's progress, is. Vic Fertitta still wears suits on Sundays, cuts a striking figure with his full head of white hair, and has a grip firm enough to neutralize even a Donald Trump handshake. When the son calls The Post Oak "a generational" asset, he's not kidding. This is a place where no corners can be cut, where nothing can be overlooked. Legacies are on the line. Halfway through his march, Fertitta stops and pulls a giant orange construction drum off the sidewalk. "Why is this still here?" he barks. He hauls it down the walk himself, until he finds an out-of-sight place to deposit it. "This is the most expensive project per BY CHRIS BALDWIN, WITH CATHERINE D. ANSPON LEFT: COURTESY THE ARTIST AND MEREDITH LONG & COMPANY, HOUSTON. RIGHT: COURTESY THE ARTIST AND GAVIN BROWN'S ENTERPRISE, NYC / ROME. The lobby of The Post Oak, opening this month

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