Houston Area Experiencing Growth in Office Buildings, Retail

A section of Texas 249 between Louetta and Cypresswood roads is a hot spot for development with several office buildings popping up along that stretch of road, and an explosion of retail sites in The Vintage master-planned community.

Four area developers talked about their ongoing and future development plans at a Houston Northwest Chamber of Commerce luncheon Nov. 15.

Three of the four companies represented, Transwestern, Pennington Commercial Real Estate and V&W Partners, are involved with projects on Texas 249. Richmond Partners LLC is expanding a medical campus at Northgate Forest Drive and FM 1960.

Technology park

David Lee, senior vice president with Transwestern, said vacant Class A office space was once a rarity on Houston's northwest side. Now it is in abundance.

Transwestern provides leasing and property management services for Chasewood Technology Park, which is located off Chasewood Park Drive and Texas 249 south of Hewlett Packard's northwest campus.

Dallas-based GenCap Partners owns the Chasewood Technology Park complex, which was developed in the 1980s and 1990s.

The complex has three existing office buildings and a fourth under construction. Lee said the company was about to sign a letter of intent to build a hotel on 25 acres fronting Texas 249 near Cypress Creek.

Plans include the construction of two additional office buildings, Chasewood 5 and 6, near that hotel site.

Renovations

Next door to Chasewood Technology Park, four out of eight former Hewlett-Packard office buildings are being renovated.

Transwestern will also manage and lease The Centre at Cypress Creek complex, which will feature 650,000-plus square feet of Class A office space.

Four other former Hewlett-Packard office buildings in the same complex have also been vacated.

Lee said the new development in the area, and in the Houston region, is exciting. He said the energy, technology and health care markets are booming. The Houston Port Authority's pending Bayport project, which includes a cruise terminal, and the Panama Canal expansion project will bring another wave of business to the region in the next several years.

"But there are some clouds on the horizon," Lee said.

With the new office space in Chasewood Technology Park, and eight vacant office buildings next door, there is now a lot of office space to fill.

"We need some big things to happen in the area, some big tenants to move in," Lee said.

Chasewood Crossing

With a 90,000-square-foot office building fully leased at the corner of Cutten and Cypresswood roads, local developer Don Hand recently launched another Class A office building project off Texas 249 near the Cypresswood intersection.

Brenda Pennington, of Pennington Commercial Real Estate, said the six-story Chasewood Crossing building is under construction next to Lowe's, and office space will be ready for tenant build-out in February.

"We have several proposals out to oil and gas and technology support companies," Pennington said. "There are so many people who live out here who are tired of driving downtown to work. The most common thing I hear (after a local lease is signed) is `I am so glad to have my life back.' "

Pennington said local residents and businesses benefit from local amenities, such as the Pearl Fincher Museum of Fine Arts opening in March on Cypresswood Drive and community groups, such as the Renaissance 1960 revitalization organization.

"This truly is the best place to live and work," Pennington said.

The Vintage

Several sections of the 630-acre The Vintage development, located on former Hewlett-Packard property at the southwest corner of Texas 249 and Louetta Road, are under development and additional plans are in the works, said David Nussbaum, project director for V&W Partners, a joint venture between the Kickerillo Cos. and Mischer Investments.

"We are working our way through the vacant land pretty quickly," Nussbaum said.

A 112,000-square-foot "hybrid" H-E-B store opened Nov. 14, and about 22 tenants have committed to space in the 350,000-square-foot Vintage Park retail development next door. That shopping area is being developed by Vintage Park LLC, a partnership between Interfin Companies LP and V&W Partners.

Tenants who have signed leases include: Starbucks, Mia Bella Restaurant, Fish City Grill, Peri Peri Restaurant, Eminence Fine Furniture, FedEx, Imagination Toys & Shoes, and a Westin "Element" hotel. There will also be banks: AmegyBank, Bank of Texas and Laredo Bank located along Louetta Road.

Nussbaum said V&W Partners continues to sell homes in the $500,000-$2 million range in the 63-acre Vintage Lakes gated community on the north side of Louetta Road.

Portrait Homes is building about 300 townhomes and patio homes in the 51-acre Vintage Royale development on the northwest corner of Cutten and Louetta roads. Those homes start at about $160,000.

St. Luke's Cypress Woods

Scott Honan, president of Richmond Partners LLC, said the 150,000-square-foot medical office building in St. Luke's Cypress Woods is fully leased. The Kelsey-Seybold Spring Medical and Diagnostic Center occupies more than half of that building.

The Atlanta-based company is co-developing the 80-acre site at FM 1960 and Northgate Forest Drive with St. Luke's Episcopal Health System.

Honan said the faith-based company is looking to give back to the community. He said they will start construction on a 110,000-square-foot medical office building in March that will house a 60,000-square-foot wellness center. A continuous care retirement community will be constructed on the back 60 acres.

"We searched three years for the right location," Honan said. "We were drawn to this community and are excited about working together to make a difference."

What's next?

Hewlett-Packard still owns the 94-acre property at the southwest corner of Cutten and Louetta roads.

Nussbaum said Centex is developing the Vintage di Vita townhome community at the southeast corner of Chasewood Park Drive and Vintage Preserve Parkway. Those townhomes will probably start at $300,000.

Across the street Kelsey-Seybold is building a new 60,000-square-foot medical and diagnostic center and a 12,000-square-foot St. Luke's Minor Emergency Center on a 10-acre tract on the Texas 249 feeder road between Cypresswood and Louetta roads. Kelsey-Seybold officials say the Kelsey Seybold at The Vintage should open in March.


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