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CNL Healthcare Buys Specialty Hospital for $76M

25 Jul 2014, 3:10 am

By Liviu Oltean, Associate Editor

In a $76 million deal, CNL Healthcare Properties Inc.  has acquired  the Houston Orthopedic & Spine Hospital campus (HOSH). The transaction represents the largest single-property investment to date for the Orlando, Fla.-based REIT, which specializes in senior housing and healthcare properties.

Located  at the intersection of Interstates 69 and 610 in the Galleria submarket,the asset consists of a 126,946-square-foot specialty hospital, a 99,768-square-foot multi-tenant medical office building and two dedicated parking structures.

The hospital includes 64 private beds, 10 operating suites and a wide array of imaging services. HOSH was naned one of Houston’s top surgical units in 2013 by Consumer Reports. According to a statement released by CNL Healthcare, Lincoln Harris CSG will handle leasing and management of the campus.

“The HOSH campus is an exceptional addition to our expanding healthcare portfolio, allowing us to further enhance and diversify our holdings,” said Stephen H. Mauldin, president & CEO of CNL Healthcare Properties. “Strategically positioned in the nation’s fifth largest metropolitan area, HOSH’s management and providers have earned an outstanding reputation for delivering the highest quality services and patient care.”

HOSH joins CNL Healthcare’s extensive senior housing portfolio in Texas, which also includes assets such as The Watercrest at Bryan, the Isle at Cedar Ridge in Cedar Park, The Springs Alzheimer’s Special Care Center in San Angelo and the Raider Ranch-Development in Lubbock. Nationally, CNL Healthcare’s portfolio comprises 78 assets in 26 states that represent a $1.37 billion investment.

Image Courtesy of CNL Healthcare Properties

Woodbranch Plans New Residential High-Rise for Downtown Houston

17 Jul 2014, 3:35 pm

By Liviu Oltean, Associate Editor

The plethora of office projects either under construction or close to breaking ground in Houston has given real estate companies incentive to focus on more and more residential projects.  One such project is Market Square Tower, a 40-story luxury high-rise on which Woodbranch Investments Corp. plans to break ground in coming weeks.

Market Square Tower will feature residences ranging from 550-square-foot efficiencies to 1,950-square-foot units, with a limited number of penthouses also included in the project plans.  The average layout will have approximately 1,275 square feet, with a rent of roughly $3,500, as reported by the Houston Chronicle. According to an official statement, amenities will include a virtual golf simulator, an indoor basketball court, a screening and banquet room, and two pools – one near the bottom and one near the top of the tower.

Market Square Tower Rendering by Jackson & Ryan Architecture, Courtesy of Woodbranch Investments Corp.

“But perhaps most unique to the Houston market,” said Philip Schneidau, president of Woodbranch’s Houston office, “will be Market Square Tower’s wrap-around rooftop amenities, which have breathtaking panoramic vistas of the downtown Houston skyline and Buffalo Bayou Park  – all from 500 feet above street level.” The rooftop amenities include a cloud lounge, sky gym, sundeck and sky pool. A portion of the sky pool is encased in glass, including the bottom, and cantilevers beyond the face of the building.

The tower’s design is being handled by Jackson & Ryan Architecture, which also designed other Houston-area multifamily properties, such as Museum Tower and the Post Oak Lofts in the Galleria area.

Located at 777 Preston, the site has been owned by Woodbranch since 1995 and is a full city block bounded by Milam, Preston, Louisiana and Congress. The tower will be in the neighborhood of another residential project expected to be completed by fall 2016 – Hines Market Square, a 33-story, 289-unit building featuring ground-floor retail and a podium garage. Another potential development in the area is International Tower, a 41-story, 750,000-square-foot office tower from Stream Realty and Essex Commercial Properties.

Hines Receives LEED Platinum Certification for Williams Tower HQ

2 Jul 2014, 9:44 pm

By Liviu Oltean, Associate Editor

Hines’ 49th Floor Lobby

Hines Interests L.P. announced its recently renovated headquarters in Williams Tower has been granted a LEED Platinum for Commercial Interiors certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. The certification awards outstanding ecological practices in the design of commercial, non-retail spaces.

The company has been leasing the 49th and 50th floors of the tower for more than 30 years. Until the recent remodeling, it had opted not to make any significant changes to the two floors, keeping them as close as possible to the original design by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. Hines chose Houston-based Kirksey Architecture for the renovation, as it presented a project that put emphasis on the adaptive reuse of existing materials and on the creation of a new two-story lobby with a view of downtown Houston.

The real estate company obtained the LEED certification through careful planning and efficient use of resources. It salvaged 42 percent of the materials and 62 percent of the furniture. Other implemented measures included:

  • The marble countertops in the new public restrooms were repurposed.
  •  Ninety-six percent of the construction waste material was diverted from landfills and recycled.
  • The implementation of efficient water fixtures reduced potable water usage by 40 percent.
  •  Lighting-power density was diminished by 39 percent over the current code requirement.
  •  The use of ENERGY STAR-rated appliances lowered carbon dioxide emissions.

“We are tremendously proud of this achievement, and we recognize the importance of leading by example and demonstrating our commitment to the environment,” said Hines Senior Vice President of Corporate Operations Services Ilene Allen.  “Achieving LEED-CI Platinum is the result of more than 18 months of preparing, planning and execution by our architects, contractors and employees.”

Photo Courtesy of Hines L.P. 

Hartman Short-Term Income Properties XX Purchases Houston Industrial Property; Bascom Acquires Sierra at Fall Creek

26 Jun 2014, 4:14 am

By Liviu Oltean, Associate Editor

Hartman Short Term Income Properties XX Inc., a Houston-based REIT, recently announced that affiliate Harman Mitchelldale Business Park L.L.C. purchased the Mitchelldale Business Park from Falcon Southwest for an undisclosed sum. Consisting of 12 office buildings that total roughly 380,000 square feet, Mitchelldale Business Park has an occupancy rate of 92 percent. The park’s tenants include Craven Carpet, A Better Trip, GC Services and LOYC Investments.

One of the best features of the business park is accessibility – by US Highway 290, the 610 West Loop and Interstate Highway 10. Because of the park’s 100 percent HVAC opportunities, its grade & dock-high and 12 to 22 foot clear height, the park can cater to almost any type of business trade. Other amenities include on-site management and leasing, ample parking, landscaping and after-hours security.

According to research data from CBRE’s industrial report on the first quarter of 2014, Houston will experience a gargantuan amount of focus on industrial real estate. The Bayou City seems to be one of the most powerful industrial markets in the U.S., with very high occupancy rates. Moreover, due to the 1.6 million square feet of net absorption and the 8.1 million square feet of industrial space already under construction in the first quarter, Houston seems to be heading toward a strong industrial year.

In other regional news, The Bascom Group L.L.C. announced the acquisition of Sierra at Fall Creek, a 252-unit multifamily community. Debt financing was supported by California Bank and Trust, while the acquisition process was arranged and supervised by Brian Eisendrath and his team at CBRE Capital Markets.

Constructed in 2004, Sierra at Fall Creek encompasses 13 residential units and a leasing center, which span 13 acres.  More than half of the units are one bedroom, but there are options that feature two to three bedrooms. Moreover, as part of the Fall Creek community, Sierra offers an impressive list of amenities: a clubhouse, billiards room, fitness center, pool and spa, and grill and lounge area.

“Buying a newer asset in a sought-after location that is generating strong current yield, with appreciation potential through capital improvements, is a good deal profile for us in Houston,” said James D’Argenio, principal for Bascom, in an official statement.

Photo courtesy of the Bascom Group L.L.C. through PRNewswire.

Hillwood Communities Breaks Ground on $700M Houston-Area Development

11 Jun 2014, 10:02 pm

By Amalia Otet, Associate Editor

Hillwood Communities, in a joint venture with McGuyer Homebuilders Inc., has broken ground on Pomona, a $700 million master-planned residential development in the heart of the rapidly growing Highway 288 corridor.

To be built on 1,000 acres near the intersection of SH288 and County Road 101 in Manvel, the high-quality community will feature approximately 2,100 single-family homes. The location offers convenient access to retail and major employment areas, including the Pearland Town Center, the Houston Medical District, Houston Hobby Airport, Downtown Houston, the Galleria and Greenway Plaza.

Pomona is structured around the Mustang Bayou, a river that will anchor the community and create a laid-back, coastal environment for residents.

“We’re thrilled to break ground on what will be Hillwood Communities’ first Houston-area development,” said Fred Balda, president of Hillwood Communities, in a written statement. “We’ve made every effort to carry out our initial vision for Pomona by offering modern conveniences in a relaxed setting that preserves the bayou and surrounding coastal features.”

The first phase of the development will consist of 300 homes, with well-appointed properties offered by Houston homebuilders such as Highland Homes, Coventry Homes, Plantation Homes, David Weekly Homes and Trendmaker Homes.

Prices for the residences at Pomona will range from $250,000 to $450,000, according to Your Houston News.

“The city of Manvel is proud to welcome Hillwood Communities and Pomona to our community. We are very excited about Hillwood’s involvement and our commitment to making Manvel, ‘the Woodlands of the South,’” said Mayor Delores Martin of Manvel. “Hillwood Communities has been a joy to work with, and we look forward to bringing five-star-rated homes to our community.”

Hillwood plans to leave more than 300 acres of the property open in the form of wetlands and protective waters, and also make improvements to the bayou by planting native grasses and trees. Community amenities include a fishing pier, resort-style swimming pools, pocket parks, large neighborhood playgrounds, as well as schools and an extensive hike-and-bike trail system linking different parts of the community.

Photo credit: Hillwood Communities

Taylor Morrison to Build New 400-Home Community in Cypress

5 Jun 2014, 2:42 pm

By Amalia Otet, Associate Editor

Houston seems to be the place for homebuilders to be, with Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Taylor Morrison expanding its residential footprint in Cypress. The developer has announced plans to build three new home collections at Alder Trails, a 155-acre community located just off Barker Cypress and south of Highway 290.

The new development, which is expected to open in early 2015, will feature more than 400 home sites to be released in multiple phases, as well as two centrally located lakes and several other lifestyle-oriented amenities. The community’s convenient location also provides residents with easy access to employment centers around Houston, as well as the Sam Houston Tollway and the newly opened Grand Parkway.

The homebuilder will offer three product lines at Alder Trails, including the 50-foot Villa Series, 60-foot Chateau Series and 70-foot Grande Series.

Taylor Morrison already builds in two Cypress communities, Cypress Creek Lakes and Park Creek.

“Alder Trails represents an opportunity for us to continue the presence we established in Cypress with Park Creek and Cypress Creek Lakes,” said Jim Ellison, vice president of sales and marketing for Taylor Morrison’s Houston division. “Homebuyers have told us that they value this community’s location and its access to Cy-Fair ISD schools. At Alder Trails, these terrific schools will be less than two miles away.”

The Villa Series at Alder Trails will provide homebuyers with a variety of floor plans, ranging from approximately 1,800 to more than 2,500 square feet. The well-appointed homes are designed to cater to the finest tastes and will feature as many as four bedrooms and 3.5 baths stretched over both single- and two-story layouts. First-floor master suites will also be available, along with game rooms and covered patios.

Taylor Morrison’s Premiere Series boasts exclusive floor plans, ranging in size from approximately 2,700 square feet to more than 3,900 square feet. The properties feature as many as five bedrooms and 3.5 baths, and may include first-floor master suites, game rooms, media rooms and extended covered patios.

Finally, Taylor Morrison’s Grande Series will offer floor plans ranging from 3,600 to more than 5,000 square feet. Homes may include as many as seven bedrooms and 5.5 baths, along with media rooms, gourmet kitchens and more.

“We think Alder Trails offers a unique advantage for homebuyers, given the variety of floor plans and additional features available,” Ellison added. “Each series creates a special opportunity. It’s what makes the community so special.”

Image courtesy of Taylor Morrison via PRWeb

Alliance Acquires 308-Unit High-End Community; HFF Arranges Sale of 3-Property M-F Portfolio Near Texas Medical Center

29 May 2014, 4:17 am

By Amalia Otet, Associate Editor

Phoenix-based Alliance Residential Co. has acquired City Park, a 308-unit, Class A multi-family community in Houston, from Fulton Property Group of San Antonio.

HFF brokered the transaction on behalf of the seller and arranged acquisition financing for the buyer through a life insurance company.

Formerly known as The Retreat at City Park, the community is located at 1640 East TC Jester Blvd. between Downtown Houston and the Galleria within Houston’s Inner Loop. The 10.75-acre site has direct access to the White Oak Bayou hike and bike trail on the edge of The Heights.

Completed in 2003, the multi-housing complex offers a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom luxury apartment homes with an average unit size of 836 square feet. Interiors showcase high-quality finishes and features, including stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, oversize closets, in-home washers and dryers, in-suite fireplaces, wood-style flooring and garden-style soaking tubs. Common amenities include a resort-inspired pool with waterfalls, a picnic area, a fitness center, covered parking, an executive business center, controlled access and online payment services.

The property was fully leased at the time of closing.

Senior managing directors Todd Marix and Todd Stewart joined directors Chris Curry and Tre Banks, all with HFF, in arranging the transaction for the seller. HFF’s debt placement team representing the buyer was led by director Colby Mueck.

“City Park is one of the last Inner Loop garden-style communities built in Houston before land values required higher-density/mid-rise developments, offering a sustainable competitive advantage that will benefit new ownership for years to come,” said Marix.

Meanwhile, entities affiliated with JMG Realty Inc. acquired The Texas Medical Center Portfolio for an undisclosed amount. The portfolio consists of El Mundo Park, Plaza Del Oro and San Marin, three Class A multi-housing communities near the Texas Medical Center in Central Houston.

HFF marketed the assets and negotiated the transaction on behalf of the seller, LeCesse Development Corp.

According to HFF, the 470-unit portfolio is 96 percent leased overall. It is situated in close proximity to the Texas Medical Center within Loop 610. El Mundo Park is located at 8300 El Mundo St. and includes 192 units. Plaza Del Oro is a 66-unit property at 2700 Holly Hall St. San Marin features 212 units and is located at 8181 El Mundo St.

Photo credit: City Park Boutique via Official Website

Morgan Launches New Pearl Luxury Community; Balfour Beatty General Contractor for 6 Houston Center

22 May 2014, 4:46 am

By Amalia Otet, Associate Editor

The Morgan Group has commenced development of a new luxury apartment community under its Pearl brand. Morgan launched the brand in 2013 with the opening of Pearl Greenway in Houston’s Greenway Plaza.

To be located on a 4.6-acre pad near Houston’s CityCentre, the new Pearl project consists of two separate properties, dubbed Pearl CityCentre and Pearl Residences at CityCentre. Plans call for an eight-story building with 148 units, ranging from 750 to 2,500 square feet, and a seven-story mid-rise with 312 units that range from 650 to 1,500 square feet. Interiors feature high-end wood floors and condo-quality finishes.

Designed to cater to a wide range of renters, from young professionals to empty-nesters, both properties will feature such amenities as a cyber café, a business center, an athletic club and a resort-style swimming pool with private cabanas.

“The location of this property, with its proximity to Houston’s hugely popular CityCentre and the ever-expanding Energy Corridor, couldn’t be better,” said The Morgan Group President Alan Patton in a written statement. “The apartments within CityCentre command some of the highest rents in Houston. The lack of available land adjacent to CityCentre makes this site even more valuable. Morgan has upped the ante by bringing Inner Loop luxury to this area to appeal to the renter-by-choice who wants an all-inclusive environment. We intend to own both of these properties for years to come.”

Wells Fargo is providing construction financing, and Wallace Garcia Wilson Architects is the project architect.

The Pearl CityCentre community is set to open in early fall 2015.

Meanwhile, Crescent Real Estate Holdings LLC has tapped Balfour Beatty Construction to serve as general contractor for 6 Houston Center, a new 30-story office building to be located on the thriving east side of Houston’s central business district.

6 Houston Center will be a state-of-the art building featuring 600,000 square feet of Class AA office space, as well as a nine-level parking garage and a skybridge connection to 1 Houston Center/LyondellBasell Tower. Amenities include 10- to 12-foot ceiling heights, a concierge floor, a fitness and conference center and rooftop gardens. It also boasts a premier location on Block 95, near the light-rail and within walking distance of numerous hotels, restaurants and retail destinations.

The building is designed to achieve LEED Gold certification.

Chrissy Wilson of Jones Lang LaSalle will handle leasing at the property, as previously reported by Commercial Property Executive.

Rendering of 6 Houston Center, courtesy of Crescent Real Estate Holdings LLC via PRWeb

Fountain Builds Second Off-Campus Community at University of Houston

15 May 2014, 3:49 am

By Amalia Otet, Associate Editor

Construction is underway on Campus Vue, a five-story off-campus housing complex at the University of Houston.

Developed by Fountain Residential Partners of Dallas, the 465-bed community will be situated directly across the street from the on-campus fraternity and sorority houses that make up Bayou Oaks. The building will overlook the UH campus on what was the site of the Beall Village apartment homes on Calhoun and N. MacGregor.

The new student-friendly residential complex will feature one-, two- and four-bedroom units equipped with an upgraded furniture package, including granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, wood-look flooring, 50-inch flat screen televisions with DVRs in the living areas and keyless entry into the building and units.

Campus Vue will be an all-inclusive community, with all utilities, highest-speed broadband and wireless Internet and extended cable TV included in the rent, according to official statements.

Among a series of lifestyle-oriented amenities, the community will boast a luxury pool; a fitness room; several study rooms; a secure, structured parking garage; on-site management and maintenance; as well as a lounge area on the fifth floor overlooking campus that will serve as a social gathering area for residents.

The project development team includes award-winning design firms 5G Studio Collaborative, Domus Studio Group and Kimley-Horn & Associates; Centerpoint Builders serves as general contractor. Grand Campus Living will be handling leasing and management at the property.

Campus Vue is not Fountain Residential’s first project in Houston. The company also developed Vue on MacGregor, the first privately owned off-campus community for The University of Houston. Located at the intersection of MacGregor Way and Calhoun Road, right at the entrance to the campus, the complex offers 347 beds in one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom apartment homes. Vue on MacGregor is 100 percent pre-leased for fall 2015.

“University of Houston is shattering the conception of being a commuter school, and our success at Vue on MacGregor is clearly evident of that,” noted Trevor Tollett, vice president at Fountain Residential Partners. “UH is a Tier One Research University in the heart of an internationally known city, and part of the university’s success will be off-campus living options for its almost 40,000-student population. Currently there are only certain places near campus that make sense for these kinds of developments, and we think we have the two best sites in the market. We are proud to be a part of UH’s continued success and hope that what we are doing with Campus Vue and Vue on MacGregor will ‘raise the tide’ on all the great things going on both on and off campus.”

Specializing in student housing since 2000, Fountain Residential has completed well over $1 billion in new student housing construction across the country.

Rendering of Campus Vue in Houston Courtesy of Fountain Residential Partners via Official Website

White Oak Buys 300-Unit M-F Community; Memorial City Mall Adds Seven New Retailers

8 May 2014, 5:01 am

By Amalia Otet, Associate Editor

Columbus, Ohio-based White Oak Partners L.L.C. has acquired Colorado Club Apartments, a 300-unit multifamily community in East Houston. HFF marketed the property on behalf of the seller, Capital Equity Group of Cleveland. The purchase price was not disclosed.

Colorado Club sits on a 10-acre tract at 794 Normandy St., two miles north of the Houston Ship Channel and Port of Houston, and 9.7 miles east of downtown Houston. It offers a mix of one- and two-bedroom apartment units, averaging 753 square feet. Interiors feature washer/dryer connections, fireplaces, wet bars and spacious layouts. Community amenities include a resort-style swimming pool, fitness center and playground.

The property was 98 percent leased at the time of closing.

The HFF investment sales team representing the seller was led by director Chris Curry, senior managing directors Todd Marix and Todd Stewart and director Tre Banks.

According to Chris Curry, the multi-housing complex has an ideal location in a strengthening submarket of Houston that has no new supply coming online. “Over the next three years, $35 billion will be invested into the Port of Houston, ultimately creating more than 250,000 jobs and increasing demand for housing,” Curry pointed out.

White Oak Partners is a leading privately held sponsor of national multifamily real estate investments. The company acquires, owns and manages a portfolio of apartment communities and is actively pursuing multifamily investment opportunities across the U.S., with a particular focus on the Southeast and Southwest. The management team at White Oak Partners averages over 25 years of experience in acquiring, developing and managing more than $14 billion in real estate in their careers, including more than 140,000 multifamily units.

Meanwhile, MetroNational announced the addition of several new retailers to the epicenter of its mixed-use development in Houston: Memorial City Mall.

Seven new retailers — including Vera Bradley, Banana Republic, Soma Intimates and Chico’s — will set up shop within Memorial City’s premier shopping and recreational destination.

“Our success in bringing on new tenants is a direct result of our current tenants’ retail volumes and the increasing growth and density of the surrounding market,” said Danna Diamond, director of retail leasing for Memorial City. “With over 2 million square feet in office space, multifamily residences within walking distance and proximity to the West Houston area, our tenants are able to tap into a range of customer demographics and convert sales.”

In the past year, the Memorial City Mall saw annual sales per square foot approaching $800.

Photo credit: Memorial City Mall courtesy of MetroNational via PRNewsFoto

Hayman Acquires 518-unit Apartment Community; Richland Acquires Business Park

30 Apr 2014, 11:50 pm

By Amalia Otet, Associate Editor

Troy, Mich.-based Hayman Co. has completed the acquisition of The Lodge at Shadowlake, a 518-unit garden apartment community in West Houston.

Located at 12360 Richmond Ave., the property is conveniently positioned between two of Houston’s strongest employment centers, the Westchase Business District and Houston’s I-10 Energy Corridor. Residents enjoy easy access to the retail amenities on Westheimer Road and proximity to the Westpark Tollway and Beltway 8.

The Lodge at Shadowlake features a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartment homes with nine-foot ceilings, crown molding, computer desks and washer/dryers. The complex also offers an attractive, park-like setting, as well as an updated amenity package including a business center, swimming pool, fitness center and movie theater.

The new ownership plans to implement a value-add program to enhance curb appeal, improve management and drive revenues at the property. Upgrades will include the renovation and remodeling of unit interiors, building exteriors and amenity areas.

Privately owned Hayman Co. owns more than 12,000 multifamily units. Over the past 12 months, the company has acquired 3,031 apartment units nationally, with a capitalized value of $269 million.

Meanwhile, The Richland Cos. has acquired Fairmont PH Business Park, a two-building industrial complex in Houston’s premier southeast submarket.

“Fairmont PH provides Richland access to a high-barrier-to-entry market in an exceedingly desirable location, due to the expansion of the Panama Canal and Houston Ship Channel enlargement,” said Edna Meyer-Nelson, president & CEO. “With its close proximity to the Port of Houston, it is a critical locale for energy and engineering companies, which are driving Houston to become the next gateway city.”

The 66,654-square-foot property is located on a 4.94-acre pad at 11810 Fairmont Parkway and 13501 Bay Area Blvd. Built in 2008, the state-of-the-art, tilt-wall business park offers 28-foot clear heights, dock-high loading capabilities and ample parking.

At the time of closing, the complex was fully leased to four tenants, including Worley Parsons, Orr Safety, the General Services Administration and Coastal HVAC Supply.

Fairmont PH is Richland’s 13th property in Houston. With this acquisition, Richland now owns and manages 1.6 million square feet of commercial real estate property in the market. Richland will handle management at Fairmont PH, as it does with its entire portfolio of 33 properties in four states throughout the Southwestern United States.

Photo credit: The Lodge at Shadowlake via Official Website

Marquette Cos. to Break Ground on 364-Unit M-F Project in Downtown Houston

24 Apr 2014, 1:02 am

By Amalia Otet, Associate Editor

Naperville, Ill.-based The Marquette Cos. plans to break ground on Block 52, a 364-unit apartment building in downtown Houston.

The property encompasses a city block on the northeast side of the Houston CBD and is situated one block from Minute Maid Park.

Among the many premier features, the 29-story structure will showcase two amenity floors including a full-size, resort-style rooftop pool; it will also sport a 589-space private parking garage and approximately 7,700 square feet of ground-floor retail/restaurant space.

Apartment units will range from approximately 600 to 1,800 square feet in size, with rental rates ranging from $2.70 to $2.80 per square foot, as reported by the Houston Business Journal.

The multifamily project is expected to be complete in summer 2015.

Marquette is utilizing the Downtown Living Initiative (Chapter 380) for the development of the high-rise complex and will reportedly receive a $5.5 million benefit from the grant.

In an effort to drive more residential momentum in downtown Houston, the city council recently approved the expansion of the Downtown Living Initiative (DLI) from a cap of 2,500 residential units to 5,000 units by June 30, 2016. This will add 7,500 new residents to downtown, bringing the total to a little over 11,000, according to Downtown Houston.

The DLI is a program that incorporates financial and other benefits to promote the development of mixed-use residential projects. The initiative requires developers to comply with essential guidelines that aid in creating supportive urban designs, with residential streets featuring trees, enhanced lighting, active ground-floor uses and appropriate sidewalk design.

DLI’s first project, SkyHouse Houston, is set to open this summer at 1625 Main St. A joint venture of Batson-Cook Development Co., Peter W. Dienna and Simpson Housing, the 24-story luxury high-rise will include a mix of studio, one- and two-bedroom apartment homes with high-end finishes and amenities.

Rendering of Block 52 in Houston via The Marquette Cos. official website.

Presidium Group, Nessel Development JV Purchases Off-Market Multifamily Community in North Houston

11 Apr 2014, 9:03 pm

By Amalia Otet, Associate Editor

As one of the 10 fastest growing cities in the U.S., Houston continues to attract major investors striving to capitalize on the high demand for multifamily product. Dallas-based Presidium Group LLC is the latest to achieve a purchase, having acquired Live Oak Bend Apartments, a 252-unit multifamily community in North Houston. The purchase was structured as a joint venture with Nessel Development, also of Dallas.

Presidium plans to kick off a major renovation project as part of its strategy to rebrand and reposition the property. Highlights include upgrading of the units’ interior hardware, plumbing, lighting fixtures and appliances, as well as refurbishment of building exteriors, amenities and common areas.

“Live Oak Bend is a well-maintained off-market opportunity that we are purchasing at a significant discount to replacement cost,” said Presidium co-CEO Cross Moceri in a written statement. “The current property’s performance is positive, but also affords the upside potential to significantly increase rental income through value-add renovations.”

Located at 1351 Greens Parkway, the  garden-style community offers a mix of one- and two-bedroom rental apartment homes in a beautifully landscaped neighborhood. Amenities include a swimming pool, tennis court, basketball court, volleyball court, picnic areas with tables and barbecues, fitness center and business center. The Live Oak Bend complex is easily accessible to I-45 and Beltway 8; it is also close to Bush Intercontinental Airport and Northwest Medical Center.

Founded in 2002, Presidium Group is a vertically integrated diversified real estate investment and management firm specializing in opportunistic and value-added transactions throughout the United States. Presidium currently owns and operates more than 7,500 apartment units in Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Waco. Its Houston portfolio encompasses more than 3,000 apartment units, according to official statements.

Click here for further Houston market data.

Photo courtesy of Presidium Group

Wood Partners’ Alta Heights Shows Strong Leasing; JV Buys Westchase Office Building

7 Apr 2014, 4:20 am

By Amalia Otet, Associate Editor

Multifamily developer Wood Partners L.L.C. announced that its Alta Heights apartment community in Houston is almost 70 percent occupied. Since the community opened its doors four months ago, it has leased 173 of the 256 available units.

Designed by Womack + Hampton and built by Wood Partners, the luxury multifamily complex sits on 3.5 acres at 145 Heights Blvd., between the historic Heights district and the city’s dynamic Washington Corridor.

The four-story apartment building comprises one- and two-bedroom units. Interiors feature granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, washer/dryers, and garden tubs and showers in select units. Approximately half of the units come with a technology package, including built-in Bluetooth-capable surround sound.

Common amenities include a courtyard with pool, barbecue grills, an outdoor kitchen with TV, a second courtyard with water fountain and grill, a fitness center, a leasing office and a club room with kitchen and bar areas.

Rents range from $1,265 a month for a studio to $2,105 a month for a two-bedroom, according to Wood Partners.

“In addition to offering a quick and easy commute to Downtown, the Medical Center, Greenway Plaza and the Energy Corridor, Alta Heights offers modern, luxurious homes with state-of-the-art amenities,” said Todd Gaines, Wood Partners’ South Texas director. “For residents who want to live in the heart of Houston, Alta Heights is definitely the place to be.”

Meanwhile, Harbert United States Real Estate Fund V L.P., in partnership with Fuller Realty Partners L.L.C., purchased 9801 Westheimer, a 211,125-square foot, 11-story office building .

Built in 1982, 9801 Westheimer is located on a 5.4-acre tract that fronts Westheimer Road in the master-planned Westchase District near the Galleria, one of Houston´s fastest-growing business districts. It was 86 percent occupied at the time of closing, with in-place rental rates below market rates. The new ownership plans to invest additional capital to upgrade and reposition the property.

The acquisition is the fifth joint venture between HUSRE and Fuller, adding to a portfolio of well-located office assets with value-add upside through focused operational management and leasing. According to a statement for the press, Fuller will handle leasing and management for the project.

Photo credit: Alta Heights Houston Luxury Apartments via Official Website

Crescent Communities Launches Phase One of Amenity-Rich Master-Planned Community

31 Mar 2014, 8:25 pm

By Amalia Otet, Associate Editor

Determined to capitalize on current demand, Charlotte-based Crescent Communities has become the latest company to kick off development of a new residential community in northeast Houston.

Crescent has selected six builder partners for phase one of the Groves, a 993-acre, master-planned development. Highland Homes, David Weekley Homes, Darling Homes, Taylor Morrison, Trendmaker Homes and Village Builders will offer the first 189 of an estimated 2,200 homes. Home construction is expected to begin mid-summer, with the first homes available this fall.

“The Groves will offer residents tremendous benefits in location, outdoor spaces and home style varieties that suit their lifestyles,” said Jim Zimmermann, vice president of Crescent Communities’ residential group in Houston. “We’re looking forward to working with our builders on this next stage of development.”

Greater Houston is home to several of the nation’s best-selling master-planned communities. Boasting a job-centric economy and growing demographics, the area is expected to experience further growth while fostering increased strength in the housing market.

Located in Houston’s thriving northeast corridor, off of West Lake Houston Parkway and south of Kingwood, the Groves will showcase three home site sizes in its first phase, with homes beginning at 2,000 square feet. Village Builders and David Weekley Homes will build units up to ranging from 2,000 square feet to 3,300 square feet on 55-by-130-foot lots; Highland Homes and Darling Homes will offer homes from 2,400 square feet to 3,700 square feet on lots that are 60-by-130 feet; and Trendmaker Homes and Taylor Morrison will feature 70-by-130 lots with homes starting at 3,000 square feet. Price points for the homes will range from $250,000 to the low $400,000s, according to Crescent.

The signature community will include plenty of recreational amenities, among them wooded trails, a Welcome Lodge with a multipurpose room, a lounge, an outdoor plaza, a fire pit and a play area. Illustrative of Crescent’s efforts to encourage sustainable, active lifestyles among community residents, the Groves will provide access to 100 acres of open space along a creek, as well as another 90 acres of open space, parks and natural reserves. Additionally, the community will feature a stocked fishing pond with a cabin and fishing dock, as well as an amenity center and Village Center slated for future phases.

The Groves is Crescent’s fifth undertaking in Texas. The prolific real estate company is also overseeing development of Rough Hollow on Austin’s Lake Travis; Belterra in Dripping Springs near Austin; Wildridge in Oak Point near Dallas; and a 500-acre, master-planned community in Leander.

Meanwhile, the Johnson Development Corp. plans to launch a new 1,300-acre master-planned community in Fort Bend this summer, its fifth in Fort Bend County and 13th in the greater Houston area.

The as-yet-unnamed development will eventually comprise 2,700 homes, retail and commercial facilities, public and private schools, churches and environmentally focused recreational amenities.

Owned by the General Land Office for the state of Texas, the property is situated at the intersection of the Grand Parkway and West Airport Boulevard, providing immediate access to Houston’s Energy Corridor, Sugar Land and employment centers in Houston via the Westpark Tollway.

Johnson Development says the first lots will be available to builders in the first quarter of 2015.

Rendering of The Groves in Houston via The Groves official Facebook Page

Development Underway for 128-Key Hotel at Springwoods Village

24 Mar 2014, 4:17 pm

By Amalia Otet, Associate Editor

Woodbine Development Corp. and InterMountain Management (IMM) have commenced development of Residence Inn by Marriott, a 128-key extended-stay hotel in North Houston.

The Residence Inn will be situated on a newly acquired 3.25-acre tract within Springwoods Village, a master-planned, mixed-use community located just south of The Woodlands and 20 miles north of downtown Houston. Currently in the design phase, the premier hotel is scheduled for opening in summer 2015; it is the first of three select-service hotels Woodbine plans to develop in Springwoods Village, including a full-service outfit in the Springwoods Town Center.

Boasting more than 650 all-suites hotels across four continents, the Residence Inn brand features spacious suites specifically designed for longer stays, with separate living and sleeping areas. Amenities include fully equipped kitchens, grocery delivery, complimentary hot breakfast and free Wi-Fi.

The new Residence Inn in Springwoods Village will serve the ExxonMobil campus, Southwestern Energy headquarters and other employers in the area, and will be the third project developed by Woodbine and IMM since the companies joined forces in 2012. The development team also includes GH2 Hospitality Architects of Tulsa, Walter P Moore Engineers of Tulsa, Precision Engineering of Tulsa and DCI Engineers of Austin, according to Citybizlist.

CDC Houston Inc., a subsidiary of Coventry Development Corp. of New York, oversees land development for Springwoods Village, as previously reported by Commercial Property Executive. Situated along the west side of Interstate 45 between Springwoods Village Parkway and the future Grand Parkway, the $10 billion, 1,800-acre community will provide diverse housing options, civic facilities, outdoor recreation and a 60-acre town center (pictured at right) with office space, shopping, dining and lodging in an urban, walkable environment.

“With several planned hotels, Springwoods Village will help stimulate a new hotel submarket to accommodate the needs of the rapidly expanding employment center in north Harris County,” said Keith Simon, executive vice president of CDC Houston, in a written statement. “The development of Residence Inn is the first step in our strategy to provide a range of hotel products at different price points within walking distance of work centers.”

Rendering of Springwoods Town Center via the Springwoods Village official website.

Luxury Condo High-Rise Breaks Ground in Houston’s Uptown

17 Mar 2014, 4:57 am

By Amalia Otet, Associate Editor

Inter-Pier LLC, a joint venture between The Interfin Cos. and Pierpoint Capital, together with The McNair Group and Hudson Brothers Real Estate L.P., officially broke ground on Belfiore, a 26-story high-rise condominium that will redefine Uptown’s vibe and skyline.

Developers had announced construction of the high-end residential building in June 2013, in an effort to capitalize on the growing demand for spacious, luxury high-rise homes in Houston’s Galleria submarket.

“Homeowners will soon have a luxury Galleria-area high-rise option combined with the space and square footage you would find in a freestanding home,” said Giorgio Borlenghi, president of The Interfin Cos., in a statement for the press. “Belfiore is the culmination of more than 30 years of listening to our homeowners, coupled with our dedication to quality, luxury and refinement to create a building unlike any other in Houston.”

The 336,322-square-foot residential tower will be situated on a two-acre Uptown tract at the southeast corner of Post Oak Lane and South Wynden Drive, between San Felipe and Woodway.

Designed by Houston-based Kirksey Architecture, Belfiore will offer 44 four-bedroom residences and two penthouses with spectacular views of both downtown and Tanglewood. Plans call for two homes per floor, each featuring approximately 4,650 square feet of upscale living space and nearly 700 square feet of terraces.

Among a series of exclusive amenities, the building showcases a 24-hour manned guardhouse, 24-hour concierge and valet service, hidden one-level underground parking garage and an extensive recreational outdoor area with a swimming pool and manicured garden.

The project is set for delivery in the spring of 2016. Sudhoff Properties has been tapped to handle sales and marketing for the building, which is already 60 percent sold, according to official statements.

Founded in 1978, Interfin is an active player in Houston’s real estate market. Its local development portfolio includes commercial and residential projects including the Four-Leaf Towers, Four Oaks Place, Villa d’Este Condominium, Montebello, Hotel Granduca and Uptown Park Shopping Center in the Uptown District; and Vintage Park Shopping Center in northwest Houston.

Pierpoint is a real estate investment and development firm with substantial investments in raw land and multi-family residential developments located in Houston. Pierpoint’s investors and lenders include globally recognized financial institutions and high net worth individuals.

Rendering of Belfiore Condominiums via official website

Crescent to Break Ground on New Class AA Office Building in Houston’s CBD

10 Mar 2014, 8:32 pm

By Amalia Otet, Associate Editor

Fort Worth-based Crescent Real Estate Holdings LLC plans to commence development of 6 Houston Center, a 600,000-square-foot Class AA office tower to be located on the east side of Houston’s central business district.

With robust demand outpacing completions and Class AA occupancy rates running at above 96 percent, Houston’s office market is expected to thrive. Boasting an impressive ownership and development portfolio, which includes Houston Center, Post Oak Central and Greenway Plaza, Crescent aims to expand its local footprint and deliver a high-quality product to meet Houston’s growing demand for top-tier office space.

“Houston is one of the strongest office markets in the country, and the time is right to launch this exciting new project,” said John Goff, chairman & CEO of Crescent Real Estate Holdings LLC. “6 Houston Center represents everything Houston’s premier companies need to meet their office space needs in recruiting and retaining top talent, including outstanding location, amenities, sponsorship and design.”

Designed by HKS Architects, 6 Houston Center is pre-certified LEED Gold. The 30-story contemporary structure integrates a plurality of innovative features that promote it as the new evolution in commercial office space. Project specifics include highly efficient floor plates, with 10-foot ceiling heights and 12-foot ceilings on upper-level floors; a 35-foot-tall lobby; a nine-level garage (one level below grade) offering a superior parking ratio of 1.7 per 1,000 square feet; and a 15-foot-tall glass skybridge connecting the building to 1 Houston Center. The 10th floor will be a concierge floor, showcasing a rooftop garden, fitness center and conference center, according to the developer. Additional amenities include a coffee bar, a customer lounge and secure bike storage.

Crescent expects to secure building permits and select a general contractor by the end of this month. Groundbreaking is scheduled for mid-summer 2014.

To be located on Block 95 in the CBD, across from 1 Houston Center/LyondellBasell Tower, the building will enjoy close proximity to the Four Seasons, Hilton Americas and planned Marriott Marquis hotels; as well as the new east/west light-rail line. Area amenities include The Shops at Houston Center and GreenStreet; a plethora of dining venues including The Grove, Vic & Anthony’s Steakhouse, McCormick & Schmick’s, Mia Bella Trattoria and Guadalajara Del Centro; and convenient METRO Bus and Greenlink connections for commuters.

Crescent tapped Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. to handle leasing for 6 Houston Center. Senior Vice President Chrissy Wilson will head the assignment.

The speculative office project bears a $250 million price tag, as reported by the Houston Business Journal.

Rendering of 6 Houston Center courtesy of Crescent Real Estate Holdings via PRWeb

Liberty Property Trust Kicks Off 20-Acre Office Project in Northwest Houston

3 Mar 2014, 9:59 pm

By Amalia Otet, Associate Editor

Liberty Property Trust has broken ground on the first building at Legacy at Fallbrook, a 20-acre premier office development just south of the southeast corner of Fallbrook Drive at Beltway 8, in Northwest Houston. The Class A vacancy rate in the area has dropped below 5 percent, with few large blocks of space available. At full build-out, the project will showcase two additional buildings to cater to tenants seeking Class A office space.

“We are very excited to announce the development of our first office building in Houston. This location is perfect for Class A office, offering high visibility and multiple access points to the Beltway,” said Jay Kraft, vice president & city manager for Liberty’s Houston region. “Liberty is a leader in the development of premier high-performance office environments, and we are excited to put that strength to work in our Legacy at Fallbrook project.”

The 208,000-square-foot Class A office building will be located at 10720 West Sam Houston Parkway North. The five-story tilt-wall building provides efficient, 41,600-square-foot floor plates and connects to a structured parking garage with an above-average parking ratio of 5.0 per 1,000. Amenities include 10-foot ceilings on every floor, Class A finishes throughout the building, a highly visible location, as well as ideal ingress and egress.

Liberty has selected Stream Realty Partners to handle leasing for the new building. Powers Brown Architecture is the project architect, and EE Reed Construction Co. serves as general contractor.

Phase I of Legacy at Fallbrook is designed to achieve LEED Silver certification and will be open for lease in the first quarter of 2015, according to the developer.

As a strong promoter of the green building movement, Liberty has developed more than 15 million square feet of LEED® space in nearly 70 buildings and certified 112 Energy Star® buildings nationwide. Notable achievements include the LEED Gold-certified Comcast Center tower in Philadelphia; eight LEED-certified projects at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, including the LEED Platinum One Crescent Drive; the LEED Gold 8501 E. Raintree Drive building (known as “The Vanguard Building”) in Scottsdale, Ariz.; and the LEED Gold Maitland Summit III building in Boca Raton, Fla.

Photo credit: Stream Realty Partners via Citybizlist

Howard Hughes to Kick Off 303-Key Luxury Hotel in The Woodlands

24 Feb 2014, 6:30 am

By Amalia Otet, Associate Editor

The Howard Hughes Corp. (NYSE:HHC) and its wholly-owned subsidiary, The Woodlands Development Co. announced plans to start construction on a full-service hotel at One Waterway Square in The Woodlands Town Center.

Designed for business travelers, the outfit will feature 303 luxurious guest rooms and suites, plus 24,000 square feet of meeting and special event space. The upscale hotel will showcase a fine dining restaurant, as well as a second-level pool deck and bar overlooking The Woodlands Waterway, the community’s signature 1.4-mile-long water feature; a transportation corridor; and a linear park. The project will also include a pedestrian bridge spanning The Waterway and the addition of a performance stage at Waterway Square.

Located just 27 miles from downtown Houston, The Woodlands is a major employment hub, with 1,700 employers and more than 50,000 employees. It is home to such companies as Andarko Petroleum, Aon Hewitt, Baker Hughes, Chevron Phillips, US Oncology and Fox Networks Group. More recently, Exxon Mobil Corp. inked a deal to lease approximately 478,000 square feet of office space at Hughes Landing, a 66-acre mixed-use community situated on Lake Woodlands.

“There is a tremendous need for additional first-class hotel rooms in The Woodlands, with over 20 million people visiting The Woodlands Town Center each year,” said Paul Layne, executive vice president of master-planned communities for Howard Hughes. “A hotel of this caliber will attract both business and leisure travelers into the heart of The Waterway Square District, within walking distance to hundreds of businesses, shops and restaurants as well as major entertainment venues such as The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion.”

The hospitality project is scheduled for completion in mid-2015.

Rendering of The Waterway Square Hotel courtesy of The Woodlands Development Company via The Woodlands Convention & Visitors Bureau

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