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HOUSTON-Cambridge Development Group is off and running on the Inner Loop’s latest high-end multifamily project, the 224-unit Siena Apartments. The complex is rising at 600 Studemont Dr., just north of Memorial Drive and about 1 1/2 miles from the CBD.

Houston-based Cambridge has selected a four-story, mid-rise design for its first multifamily complex in Houston. The developer owns two million sf of office product and 2,000 apartment units in Texas and Florida, including a West Houston office building at 5500 Waugh Dr.

John Fenoglio of Houston-based Live Oak Capital Ltd. arranged the debt and equity funding. Cleveland-based KeyBank is providing the construction financing while Ameriton Properties Inc. has kicked in the equity. Dallas-based Humphries & Partners Architects is the designer of the project being built by Global Construction Co. LLC. Houston-based Brown & Gay Engineers is serving as civil engineer. Greystar Multifamily Services holds the property management contract.

Come early 2003, the plan is to start leasing. Fenoglio tells GlobeSt.com that the project was easy to win funding for because the for-lease, high-end, Inner Loop apartment market has been a big winner, boasting 93% to 94% occupancy rates at the class A properties. He says Sabine Street Lofts and Plaza at the Museum District are prime examples of the demand that’s in the market. “There is tremendous liquidity for projects of merit,” he says. “There’s no problem attracting capital provided they have good sponsorship and good real estate fundamentals such as location and design.”

The Siena will feature one- to three-bedroom units ranging in size from 725 sf to 1,370 sf. The average size will be 925 sf. Fenoglio says rental rates have yet to be set.

The Italian design will have Old World charm, with multi-level parking and same-floor access for most units. The fourth floor will have a roof garden and exercise room with views of the CBD. Interiors will have 10-foot ceilings, transoms above interior doors, kitchens with islands, ceramic tile entries, high-speed Internet access and crown moldings and baseboards.

Fenoglio says he is encouraged by the Houston market in comparison to metropolises such as Dallas, Austin and Atlanta, although for now it seems to be economically flat.

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