Allen Brothers Houston Real Estate

New Era Of High-End Apartments In Inner City Houston

by Josh Foster, inner loop sales

There has been a renaissance of high end apartment development going on in Houston that has not been seen in years. This will lead to some fantastic changes as more people than ever continue to move to the Houston area, spurring the local economy, with no end in sight. According to the Houston Chronicle, 125,000 people moved to the city in 2013, with a similar number having arrived this year. What brings them? Houston leads the nation in job growth, to name one reason. It added 119,400 new jobs over the last 12 months according to realtynewsreport.com. These jobs are what pushes the multifamily market forward.

This combines with another trend, which is taking place across the nation: urbanization. Houston is filled with young professionals fresh from other parts of the country, and they are not interested in homeownership. This trend is reaching its peak, as apartment occupancy rates in the city of Houston hit 91%, almost an all-time high.

The Montrose area and all of the inner loop west of 288 has seen a kind of high-end construction boom since at least 2012. An old complex on 1920 West Alabama, as well as complexes on 2810 McDuffie and 1924 Marshall - where residents had enjoyed very low rents for years - are in the process of being demolished and ground will soon be broken for a huge luxury mid-rise. The eclectic area will feel the change, as property values will be increased and a more urban feel will continue to sweep Montrose. This will be in addition to a 20-story apartment tower on Chelsea Boulevard being built just south of 59.

Earlier in the year, according to prnewswire.com, The Muse Museum District was built on the cusp of Montrose and the Museum District by developer Behringer Harvard Multifamily REIT I, Inc. The development, on 1301 Richmond Street, is four stories, features eight-foot doors, ceilings of over nine feet, and full size washers and dryers. Flooring includes hard-surface planking in the living and dining areas and stone flooring in the kitchen and bathrooms. The luxury kitchens feature stainless steel appliances, with flat-top stoves, granite countertops, double-door refrigerators, 42-inch hardwood cabinetry with under-cabinet lighting, tumbled-stone backsplashes, kitchen islands, and under-mount sinks. Baths feature framed mirrors, oversize Roman tubs with tile surrounds and separate showers in select units. The units start at $1400.00.

High end, high budget multi-family apartment buildings are springing up in areas surrounding downtown that haven’t been touched by developers in years, as well as downtown itself. 10 new apartment buildings are in the works for the downtown area this year. The new construction will more than double the current population of the downtown area, which may completely transform it from the ghost town it is now into something of a more inhabited region. That is a status Houston’s central business district has been seeking for decades to have to no avail.

According to the Chronicle, Houston’s Camden Property Trust is expected to break ground in Midtown to the south with high-end multifamily units even more desirable than the ones that have already been appearing everywhere in the past couple of years throughout Montrose, Upper Kirby and the Heights. There is a proposed eight-story building of units in one project, and another separate project, both of which are qualified for tax breaks the city offers to builders developing in the inner city. Such development has already been the trend in other major metropolitan areas, according to the chair of the company.

Even further to the south, next to Hermann Park, Tema Development Inc. has just begun construction of a really big $75 million luxury apartment project, and it isn’t expected to reach completion until late 2016. It will contain 224 units and stand seven stories. It will include five penthouse suites, all overlooking the nicest view of the park. There will be a 12,000-square-foot courtyard containing a fountain, and a 9,000 square foot area with lounge, bar, club, conference area, fitness center, yoga area, swimming pool with a sunbathing ledge, fire place, barbeque spot, common Wi-Fi zone, bicycle storage and electric car charger.

Posted by AllenBrothers Realtors on December 4th, 2014 6:28 PM

Surge In Inner Houston Townhouse Development And Its Potential Impact

by Josh Foster, inner loop sales

The 1930s was the decade of the bungalow in Houston. To many buyers in the present Houston market, it is still an attractive vintage option in the oak-lined streets of Montrose and the Heights. Sturdy, dependable, and if properly maintained over the many passing years with good updates, just as handsome a structure now as the day it was built. But no builder today would touch the plans for one. This is the decade of the townhouse, and it stands lean and four stories tall over all would-be competitors.

The townhouse has also begun to make its indelible mark on inner city Houston just as the bungalow did in the mid twentieth century, sweeping away the past along with it. In January of this year the far north Heights saw a townhouse boom. In the area surrounded by Yale, Shepherd, 610 and 23rd there was massive construction. The Sullivan Brothers builders did a project on 23rd. Twelve new townhouses on 26th and Ashland appeared. Eight more at the same corner, and twenty more came soon thereafter between 26th and 27th streets. Eight single family townhomes in a project at 26th and Rutland were built. Twenty units at 24th and Lawrence. In addition to this there were twelve or so 2-to-6 house projects in the area. On 27th street and Rutland at least another dozen townhomes went up. This kind of development is going on all over the Heights, and into Montrose as well.

Areas in Montrose that have had the same feel and flavor for decades are changing now, due not only to townhomes rapidly replacing the former infrastructure but also a sudden development of multi-family high rise apartment projects in numerous locations throughout coveted inner city areas that have remained unblemished by this level of investment for the better part of a generation or longer.

Midtown is also a hot area for townhome sales and construction, a former warehouse district transformed into the SoHo of Houston over the past fifteen years or so. There are also concentrations of townhomes in the Timbergrove and Shady Acres neighborhoods, near I-10 and along the Washington Avenue Corridor. EaDo, the area directly east of downtown, has been revitalized in recent years and townhome construction is a part of it. It would appear in preliminary analysis that even lots in the Greater Third Ward area to the south of this are being platted into areas under 3,200 square feet.

According to the Houston Chronicle, Linda Jamail Marshall of Linda Marshall Realtors Inc. says “Townhomes are popular because they occupy less of a footprint. They require less maintenance, but they offer the amenities of a single-family home.”

There have even been legal battles over development in areas such as Boulevard Oaks, the most notable of which is the Ashby High Rise. While this project is not a townhouse, it should be mentioned here because it represents the same root cause of development in the region. Houston is in the midst of its greatest economic expansion in generations, and soon there will be inevitable changes to the inner city; the existing suburban landscape is not protected by deed restrictions.

As this new phase in inner city construction began to manifest itself, many existing residents in Montrose and the Heights were understandably disquieted. Townhouses totally change the urban landscape. They are everywhere now, surrounding the single family homes on all sides in most neighborhoods without deed restrictions.

Since then, many have begun to see benefits. Their presence raises property values considerably. Not all people who wish to live in the vicinity of downtown wish to do so in a condo, apartment or townhome. The existing freestanding single family units are all in lower inventory and thus more valuable now. Townhouses add variety to the inner city landscape and more square footage to the structures they replace.

Townhouses are a facet of the inevitable process of inner city urbanization, as a greater number occupy the area within the loop. Streets will become more congested, infrastructure will grow inadequate by degrees and gradually be replaced fragmentally, and at some point the inner loop will resemble Manhattan or Chicago. Houston is a young city and such density is inevitable with a world-renowned medical center, Rice University and Fortune 500 headquarters all situated within a few square miles of each other.

The question people must ask is: Do I find Greenwich Village or Chelsea Garment District unappealing? Are certain residential areas of Chicago in the vicinity of downtown unpleasant? It’s not that inner loop Houston has to become degenerate, devoid of nature or chaotic with the arrival of massive amounts of new development. It’s simply a transitional phase on the path to urban maturity.

Posted by AllenBrothers Realtors on December 3rd, 2014 4:46 PM

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