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HOUSTON-The Fourth Ward, an inner-city neighborhood on the western edge of downtown Houston, is being beginning a turnaround.The neighborhood, which was chartered in the 1840s, is within easy walking distance of major Downtown office towers owned by TrizecHahn Properties and other key downtown developers. Camden Property Trust, a Houston-based REIT, has purchased three acres in the Fourth Ward.

The firm is planning to build a mid- or high-rise residential tower. In addition, developer Larry Davis has purchased three acres near the intersection of Fourth Ward’s Andrews and Arthur Streets. Davis, president of Urban Lofts Townhomes, has other Fourth Ward parcels under contract for additional purchases. Davis plans to construct 150 loft-style townhomes in the Fourth Ward.

The dwellings built by Davis will be clad in corrugated metal, giving the homes an “industrial chic” look that has been popular in some other close-in neighborhoods. Both Camden and Davis–along with Post Properties, Perry Homes and other residential developers–have been experiencing surprising consumer response in close-in areas where new construction has not occurred in decades.

Mostly built in the last two or three years, occupancy rates in these projects are typically in excess of 95% mixed with a brisk sales of townhome units. The Fourth Ward was historically an African-American community, but many of the houses there have been torn down or have fallen into disrepair.

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