Era Of High-End Apartments In Inner City Houston
Josh Foster, inner loop sales
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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