Hybrid Tower Sprouts Upward in New Design-Forward Fitzroy

HOUSTON – (By Cynthia Lescalleet for Realty News Report) – With a second high-rise building joining Caydon’s mixed-use “Laneways” district in Midtown, perhaps the growing development should be called “Skyways” instead.

Except, the Australia-based company is creating a walkable “neighborhood within a neighborhood,” one inispired by Melbourne’s stroll-worthy alleyways that are lined by eclectic and edgy shops, bistros, boutiques, green spaces, galleries and entertainment.

Having completed Drewery Place, a retail-ringed 27-story apartment tower in Midtown Houston two years ago, Caydon’s next project is a 32-story tower pairing 191 condominiums with a 190-room boutique hotel operated by Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants.

The 558,000 SF tower will be the second phase of the 2.5 million SF mixed-use district Caydon intends for three city blocks – about 3.5 acres bordered by Main, McGowen, Fannin and Tuam, and adjacent to Midtown Park. Caydon’s development is on MetroRail’s Red Line serving Midtown, an emerging district between Houston’s largest employment centers — Downtown and Texas Medical Center.

Another company, Madison Marquette, recently completed a Midtown residential rental project on Main Street – a 30-story tower called The Travis. Camden Property Trust and the Morgan company have also been builders in the Midtown multifamily market.

With Fitzroy, Caydon is creating a residential/hotel hybrid – a rarity in Houston, but a more common combination  in other cities.  The Fitzroy Residences tower incorporates condos, hotel operations, six levels of parking, a restaurant and street level retail, plus plush fitness and wellness amenities, many of which can be shared between hotel guests and residents, including access to food and beverage service.

The condos, however, have a private lobby, pool, business lounge, co-working spaces and security. Or, in the parlance of project press materials, residents have the choice to “use the hotel, ignore the hotel.” (Meanwhile, residents’ overnight guests can stay somewhere other than the sofa.)

Kimpton: Pioneers in Design-Forward Boutique Hotels

The upscale hotel represents Kimpton’s entry in the Houston market and the third location in Texas. Founded in 1981 by Bill Kimpton, the San Francisco-based Kimpton Hotels pioneered the concept of unique, distinctive, design-forward hotels in the United States.

Kimpton Hotels was acquired by the global IHG hotel company in 2015. Kimptons are smaller hostelries, often with less than 200 rooms, that aim to produce what the company calls “inspiring design that evokes curiousity.”

Definitely, Kimpton Hotels are not cut from a beige cookie-cutter.

The Stack: Layering Condos and Hospitality

 Most of the Caydon tower’s condo levels (9 and 19 to 31) are above the hotel floors (7-8, 10 to 18), with the top story also hotel space.

Fitzroy Residences’ floor plans include 16 studios averaging 567 SF; 128 one-bedrooms ranging from 630 to 1,099 SF; 86 two-bedrooms ranging from 1,107 to 2,167 SF; and 4 three-bedroom penthouses, ranging from 1,686 to 2,243 SF.

Initial pricing runs from $279,000 for studios, one bedrooms from $285,000, two bedrooms from $730,000 and penthouses from $1.45 million.

Attainable Pricing?

With Houston’s condo inventory skewed toward the million dollar mark, the Fitzroy’s “attainable” price point is a game-changer for the Houston market, according to Joe Russo, Caydon’s managing principal.

The property’s pairing with Kimpton is another hallmark of the project, he said. “It is a new opportunity for our residents and travelers to stay in an upscale tower with an amenity-rich and cosmopolitan atmosphere.”

With sales in the pre-construction phase, current tenants at Drewery Place have shown some interest in the project, said Caydon sales director and acting COO Emma Alexander in an emailed response. The tower’s proximity has brought an opportunity to educate this more “transient” demographic about home ownership, she said. “Fitzroy Residences offer a great opportunity for those that have a small deposit now … but need more time to save for the remainder of the deposit.”

Meanwhile, “downsizers” have also been making inquiries about securing a lock-and-leave address (for future use), she said, as have far-flung suburbanites seeking “a city crash pad” for themselves or their children.

Thus far, the floorplans with a bedroom and study have been very popular due to more people working from home, she said.

The project was always in the overall plan for the mixed-use district, with its timing “never set in stone,” according to Alexander. Caydon is expected to break ground in mid-2021 and complete the tower in late 2023.

Building in the Covid Era

The pandemic did not affect the sales launch, she said. Nor did it affect the hybrid tower’s design, which already had called for separate hotel and condo amenities, elevators and entrances.

“Caydon always has a pillar of ‘wellness’ built into our designs and thinking when it comes to new projects,” Alexander said, citing the prevalent use of natural light, fresh air, health/wellness building amenities – and being in locations by parks and transport.

The tower’s modern exterior features fins and curvy slabs to represent The Bayou City’s winding waterways, according to Giuditta De Santis, director of Caydon Architecture & Design. It’s a sleek presence for Midtown, with modern interiors mixing in some of Melbourne’s “edginess.” The design team included The Preston Partnership, based in Atlanta.

Fitzroy condo units are light-filled and feature open floor plans. Design materials highlight the property’s connected lifestyle, with automated and smart features and some rather intriguing upgrades, such as Obi, a device that converts the unit’s bed into a desk or sofa.

Douglas Elliman Texas is working with Caydon on marketing the Fitzroy residences.

Caydon is known for its mixed-use projects. Last year, the company completed Mason Square in Melbourne, with 1,300 condos, retail, office space and a boutique short-stay hotel. It is currently transforming an iconic four-acre industrial site in that city into the Malt District. The company has other U.S. projects underway in Seattle and San Diego.

The Movement That Is Midtown

Additional high-rise phases of Caydon’s Midtown Houston development could be rising in the coming years.

Caydon retains three adjacent Midtown parcels for future use, said Caydon’s Alexander.

“What we do with them is to-be-determined based on post COVID markets, the sales velocity at Fitzroy,” Alexander said. “And also we’re keeping an eye on The Ion as we want to make sure we’re complementing the movement that is Midtown.”

Jan. 20, 2021 Realty News Report Copyright 2021

File: Hybrid Tower Sprouts Upward in Midtown Houston

Rendering: Courtesy Caydon


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