Adjacent to the community is the River Oaks Shopping Center, Houston's first shopping center, located in the Neartown community. Constructed in 1927 and designed by architect Hugh Prather, the center, originally known as River Oaks Community Center, was one of the first automobile-oriented retail centers in the United States. Its design, with arcs of retail space on either side of West Gray Avenue, was considered a model for future development. Portions of the historic shopping center were demolished in September 2007 to redevelop the site for a bookstore and parking garage. The development plans ensured that River Oaks's parks and esplanades were planted with oaks, shrubs, azaleas and other flowers. Every detail of the development was planned to establish a well-integrated community. Advertised as a "distinguished experiment in fine living," River Oaks became a national model for community planning..
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