February 13, 2015
Luxury Tower To Be Built Near Galleria, $50 Oil Or Not
Robert Bland announced plans to build a luxury condominium project near the Galleria when oil was around $80 a barrel. The fact that it's now in the $50 range is not stopping the longtime Houston developer.
"I'm not in the oil and gas business, but our bankers and the people supposed to know say this is not going to be the 1980s and Houston will survive all this," said Bland, founder of Pelican Builders. "Yes, things will moderate a little bit, but as far as disaster on the horizon, that's not going to happen."
His project is a 17-story high-rise residential condominium to be called the Wilshire. It's on Westcreek Lane between West-heimer and San Felipe.
Bland said he plans to submit a request for building permits in April after architectural drawings are completed and start construction in May.
Real estate analysts have said Houston is being red-lined by investors who don't want to risk their capital in an uncertain economy. They're referring mostly to rental and office projects.
The Wilshire has received equity financing from the Washington-based Carlyle Group, which is also an investment partner in a hotel development under construction across from the Galleria.
"We're very flattered about that," Bland said. "They're a very strong group."
Kirksey Architecture is designing the building, which will include 96 units and a 25,145-square-foot landscaped pool deck above the parking garage that will also have a 75-foot lap pool with a wet deck, cabana rooms and a covered grilling kitchen.
The condominiums will range from around 1,300 square feet to three-bedroom penthouses averaging 3,500 square feet. Pricing will go from $800,000 to almost $3 million. At current prices, the building's sellout total is $130 million, Bland said.
After courting some high-end condo brokers, the building has gotten six purchase contracts in just a few days of early sales. A public sales office at the site will open in mid-March.
The building will go up just north of the mixed-use, high-end River Oaks District, under construction along Westheimer.
"We'd prefer the economy was still roaring like it had been, but we're confident," Bland said. "And one of things that gives us the most confidence is being next to River Oaks District."
Chase offers 2 parcels
Banking giant Chase has put two urban parcels on the market: a city block in the northwest corner of downtown and a 2.2-acre parcel in the Greenway Plaza area.
The downtown property, which houses a Chase retail bank drive-through, totals 1.4 acres and is bounded by Milam, Louisiana, Franklin and Congress.
The site sits along Buffalo Bayou and is catty-corner from the downtown post office. The U.S. Postal Service is selling the 16-acre Franklin Street property.
Marketing materials from commercial real estate firm CBRE, which has the bank listings, said the potential uses for both sites could include office, multifamily, hotel or retail.
The Greenway site at 3403 Richmond is a 2.2-acre parcel housing a bank building. It is at the southwest corner of Richmond and Buffalo Speedway.
Bank spokesman Greg Hassell said there are Chase branches within a mile of both properties. The bank expects "minimal impact" on its customers.
"We are exploring the market's interest. For each location, our preference is for a redevelopment that allows us to keep a bank location operating on the site," Hassell said.
Downtown data center
A real estate company that owns buildings that house computer equipment for processing massive amounts of data has purchased 1301 Fannin, a 1.1-million-square-foot building downtown.
The 25-story property was developed in 1981 as a data center and office building. It contains nearly 400,000 square feet of data center space.
The new owner, Netrality Properties, plans to convert two floors to additional data center space. The company has hired Lee and Associates to lease the vacant space.
"As the fourth-largest city in the United States, Houston is a critical location for network operators," Hunter Newby, Netrality's chief strategy adviser, said in a statement. "Further, its proximity and direct network access to Mexico and the Gulf of Mexico make it a global gateway and therefore strategic for us and our customers."
Pat Morrissey of Morrissey Realty represented Netrality on the transaction. The seller was Griffin Partners.
Netrality owns 3 million square feet of "carrier hotel" real estate in New York, Philadelphia, Kansas City and Chicago. The company is a joint venture operated by affiliates of Amerimar Enterprises and Hunter Newby.
Link to original article here.