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HOUSTON-It’s going to be good times for apartment owners in the next two years, the data shows, and national apartment giant Gables Residential, no stranger to Houston, is moving to take advantage of the opportunity.

Citing Apartment Data Services figures that indicate a strengthening of the apartment market in Houston, the developer is launching Gables Meyer Park II, a 296-apartment expansion of the 345-unit Gables Meyer Park. That project had been developed in 1993 at 9701 Meyer Forest Dr. at W. Belfort, just east of Meyer Park Shopping Center.

The new construction will fill the gap between the present structures and the 610 Loop. Construction is already under way with completion anticipated by the end of 2001, but leasing will begin next summer. The expansion will boast apartment homes averaging 1,000 sf, with projected rents of about $1.06 per sf and rents as high as $2,500 per month for the larger floor plans.

Marvin Banks, Gables’ CFO, tells GlobeSt.com, “the cost will be around $27 million. The old and new segments will be operated as one from a single office with resulting economies.” He says Gables Meyer Park II essentially will be like the existing complex, but with some material change-outs and floor plan variations.

Apartment Data Services projects that apartment occupancy rates in Houston will be at their highest levels in more than 15 years by the end of 2001. The data service predicts even higher occupancies in 2002 due to a drop in new supply.

“It’s the right time to build in Houston,” says Banks. “Activity was down substantially in 2000, causing a drop in new supply for 2001 and 2002. We’ve been in Houston for 18 years, and we know the market pretty well.”

The location will appeal to those who commute to Greenway Plaza, the Galleria and the Texas Medical Center, Meyers believes. They contain over 50 million sf of office space and are all located within 4.5 miles of Gables Meyer Park II.

Gables Meyer Park is in an in-fill location with high barriers to entry due to limited land availability. The community is near the city of Bellaire, where single-family home prices on a per sf basis are among the highest in the Houston area.

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