(Read more on the multifamily market.)

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HOUSTON-A local land developer has signed a contract to acquirethe last large development tract in northeast Houston. The escrowfor the 400-acre purchase is scheduled to close in May, opening thedoor for a $90-million to $120-million plan to add residential andretail space along Lake Houston.

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Parke Patterson Land Development Inc. and a local real estateveteran, Jim Box, are under contract to buy land along West LakeHouston Parkway near Beltway 8 from the McAlister Co., also fromHouston. The as-yet unnamed development will consist of townhouses,up to 15 acres of retail and single-family dwellings. When the dealcloses, the buyer will begin developing single-family lots to sellto homebuilders. The project is being billed as a "green" one dueto a design aimed at reducing energy and water usages.

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David Crawford, vice president of Yancey-Hausman's landdivision, represented the buyers for the acquisition. He says thefirst phase calls for townhouses to rise on the banks of LakeHouston. "There are 64 acres on the lake side of the parkway, whichwill contain the gated, higher-end homes and the townhomes. But, ithasn't been determined how many will go in there yet," he says.

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Crawford tells GlobeSt.com that the retail development willlikely go vertical two or three years in the future. "This will bea neighborhood retail site to serve the local residents," headds.

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Crawford says land in the northeast quadrant of Harris County isbecoming scarce. Most land surrounding the project has been boughtup and built out, predominantly with residential product. "This wasthe last tract available for development there," he says. "Land bythe lakeside is becoming a hot commodity."

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