Prominent Houston eye surgeon to develop ‘gateway to the Museum District’



A prominent Houston ophthalmologist plans to develop a 10-story building in the Museum District to house his medical practice along with other physicians specializing in plastic surgery, dermatology and internal medicine.

The building, expected to break ground in February, will be the first phase of a larger development spanning three blocks east of Main Street, said Dr. Mike Mann, founder of Houston’s Mann Eye Institute and a pioneer in laser eye surgery.

“My dream is to develop a project that would be a gateway to the Museum District,” said Mann. “Architecturally, it would be significant. The buildings would be timeless, not ready to be torn down in 30 years.” The estimated cost to develop the building is more than $77 million, he said.


Mann hired Marko Dasigenis, principal of PJMD Architects, to create a contemporary, angular design for the medical office building, which will contain 364,000 square feet and be called Museo Plaza.

Dasigenis said the architectural vision was inspired by the 20th century Cubism art movement pioneered by painters Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, who used geometric components to create figures, landscapes and still lifes.

“Mike has been the driving force behind this,” Dasigenis said. “From very early on he was very clear he wanted not necessarily a building, he wanted a piece of sculpture.”

Plans for the property have been in the works since at least 2002, when Mann began purchasing the land with his son Paul, also an eye surgeon.

Mann began performing cataract surgery in the 1970s and a decade later he was among the first in the country to perform radial keratotomy procedures, the predecessor to Lasik corrective surgery. He now has 16 offices throughout the greater Houston area and three in Austin.

Mann Eye Institute’s main office will occupy the top floor of the new building, relocating from the building next door at 5115 Fannin, which Mann also owns. That parcel will eventually be redeveloped.

The new structure will be built on the block bounded by Southmore, San Jacinto, Fannin and Palm. Mann also owns the block immediately to the west, where his office is, and one just north of that. The master plan for the full three blocks is still being determined.


Mann and Dasigenis said it was important for the building to integrate into the neighborhood, home to Houston’s largest museums and other prominent institutional buildings.

It will have four floors of office space, each filling 41,000 square feet, atop five levels of parking and an expansive first-floor lobby featuring marble, artwork and a catering kitchen for events. The building will have outdoor sculpture gardens with seating areas, bike racks and water features and a rooftop garden .

“We want to encourage a very pedestrian environment,” Dasigenis said. “We want to see this building as a destination in the neighborhood.”

Completion is scheduled for the first quarter of 2022.

Mann’s Testa Rossa Properties will develop the building in conjunction with J. A. Billipp Company and Skyhawk Partners. Mission Construction is the general contractor ad IBC Bank is financing the construction.

Man said 50 percent of the building’s will be spoken for once construction starts. CBRE is leasing space.


nancy.sarnoff@chron.com

twitter.com/nsarnoff





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