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Thor Equities Starting $125 Million Mixed-Use Project on Houston’s Kirby Drive

Thor Equities will break ground next week on a $125 million mixed-use project on this site in Houston. Photo Credit: Ralph Bivins, Realty News Report, Copyright 2015.

Thor Equities will break ground next week on a $125 million mixed-use project on this site in Houston. Photo Credit: Ralph Bivins, Realty News Report, Copyright 2015.

HOUSTON – Thor Equities will start construction next month on the Kirby Collection, a 1 million-square-foot mixed-use project on Kirby Drive in Houston’s Inner Loop.

The $125 million project will deliver a 25-story residential tower with 200 apartments, 210,000 square feet of office and 65,000 square feet of retail space with completion expected in late 2017.

The site is on the west side of Kirby Drive, a block north of Richmond Avenue and includes the site of the former Settegast-Kopf funeral home.

Thor Equities, a New York firm led by Joseph Sitt, is tackling the project at a time when Houston’s economy is being pounded by the demise of oil prices and the shock of major layoffs in the energy industry.

Houston’s office market and the apartment market are the two sectors showing the most strain, with particularly acute pain predicted for (1) the office market in the Energy Corridor in West Houston and (2) the multifamily market in the Inner Loop.

Thor Equities’ project will deliver apartments into the heart of the Inner Loop multifamily market, where thousands of units have been constructed in the last two or three years. Just a few blocks from Thor’s site, the Midway Cos. is developing the Kirby Grove mixed-use project with 270 multifamily units and 250,000 square feet of office space adjacent to Levy Park.

But Thor Equities forges ahead with the Kirby Collection now, demonstrating remarkable confident in the resiliency of Houston’s economy. The developer obtained a construction loan from Bank of the Ozarks last week. The construction loan and some mezzanine financing account for about 65 percent of the $125 million price tag, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The Kirby Collection will be built on a site bounded by Kirby Drive, Colquitt, West Main and Lake Street and catty-cornered from Little Pappasito’s, one of the nation’s best Mexican food restaurants. Overall, the demographics are pristine, nestled between two exclusive neighborhoods:  River Oaks a mile or two to the north, and West University Place a mile to the south.

Thor Equities has been on a roll lately. Last week, it was reported in the Real Deal that Thor paid $41.5 million for a 100,000-square-foot development site in Miami’s artsy Wynwood area. Thor, a company named after the comic book super-hero, also controls major assets in Miami Beach, New York City and elsewhere, with a reported total of $5 billion in asset value.

Los Angeles architect Richard Keating designed the Kirby Collection, which will also feature seven townhomes. Keating was formerly a partner in Keating Mann Jernigan and Rottet and prior to that he ran the Houston office of Skidmore Owings & Merrill for 10 years.

Kirksey is the architect of record for the Kirby Collection and Dianna Wong Architecture & Design is interior designer. E.E. Reed is the general contractor.

Realty News Report – Sept. 30, 2015

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