Houston—Greystar Real Estate Partners recently completed and opened two luxury garden communities, Northgate Oaks Apartments (pictured) and Yorktown Crossing, in the Houston market.
The former opened for leasing at the end of September, while the latter opened at the end of August.
“Given that we just opened, we have been pleased with our traffic and leasing velocity,” asserts Trent Conner, managing director in development at Greystar. “We’ve been pleased with the velocity and are projecting an 11- to 12-month lease-up/stabilization time frame. We feel comfortable that we’ll get there.”
Northgate Oaks, consisting of 312 apartments, is located on TC Jester Boulevard and offers easy access to US 249 and downtown via Hwy 45. Yorktown Crossing, also comprised of 312 rental residences, is located in the Highway 6 corridor, providing easy access to the “Energy Corridor” and the downtown area.
“Fortunately, these were communities on which we closed on land and construction loans in the fourth quarter of 2008. We had strong equity partners that hung in with us and closed, and so it took us 10 months to open the leasing office in the first building,” Conner tells MHN.
“We are fortunate, in Houston, that we never had the huge spikes in real estate in the housing market. We saw incremental increases, but not nearly what you saw on the East or West Coast,” Conner adds. “Just from a fundamental standpoint, things didn’t go up so high so they aren’t going to come down so low.”
Designed by Meeks + Partners, both communities offer one- and two-bedroom units, ranging in size from 716 to 1,262 square feet. They offer outdoor living centers, resort-style swimming pools, resident lounges, media rooms, Wii gaming, fitness rooms, cyber cafés and tanning salons.
Northgate Oaks Apartments also includes an Oak Tree Garden with three 300-year-old registered Live Oaks and a wooded Fountain Pond with a terrace garden. According to Conner, Greystar will be creating a dog park among the trees at a later date.
Similar to most everywhere else nationwide, Greystar is offering concessions on its leases, says Conner, noting that four to six weeks of free rent on a 13-month lease is about standard.
As to how Greystar plans to move forward from here, Conner states, “we just recently started working on putting together a land fund that, as opportunities for land become available for distressed land, we will be able to take advantage of. We also have been able to reallocate some of our staff to our management company, and we’re also looking to relocate some staff to our capital projects division. We have also been able to take this time to kind of go through our lessons learned from projects we’ve developed over the last three to four year—how we can become better as a developer and establish better standards and guidelines so we are poised to take advantage of what we have learned.”