By Ralph Bivins
HOUSTON – Martin Fein Interests, a Houston apartment developer, has announced plans for a 550-unit development in Houston’s Inner Loop with a project just south of the Highland Village shopping center.
The site is a10-acre tract at West Alabama and Las Palmas. Fein’s project, called Willowick Park, will have three elements: Aria at Willowick Park, a seven-story rental building; Olympia at Willowick Park, an eight-story rental building; and The Townhomes at Willowick Park.
Rental rates for all three projects will range from $1,100 to more than $5,000.
The aging Willowick Court Townhomes project is being torn down to yield the 10 acres. Obtaining a parcel of land that large in such a prime location is a rare. Developers such as Fein have been scouting the Inner Loop and the Galleria area looking for old apartments, restaurants, small office buildings or vacant churches that can be razed to create sites for apartment construction.
Houston’s apartment market has been noted as one of the best in the nation and lenders are eager to finance new projects because of the rising rents, high occupancy and unprecedented quick lease-ups on new units. The influx of young professionals to Houston, strong job creation and a fast-growing energy industry has made the local multi-family market hot.
Most of the new construction has been centered in the Inner Loop area, which enables apartment dwellers to have quick commutes to key employment centers. Most of the new projects are high-rise or mid-rise because the land is costly.
Fein’s project, scheduled for occupancy in 2014, the overall project was designed to highlight the site’s mature live oak trees. Steinberg Design Collaborative and Ziegler Cooper Architects designed provided architectural services for Fein. One of the nation’s most experienced multi-family financiers, Hal Holliday of CBRE, assisted with arranging the financing.