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HOUSTON-A Houston developer has secured 13 acres as the project site for a 330-unit complex near the CBD. But first, some buildings must be razed so the Crockett Street site off Interstate 10 can be readied for a mid-2003 ground-breaking on the Verandah at Woodland Heights.

Robert D. Stratton, president of Verandah Development Co., tells GlobeSt.com that demolition and clean-up will take four to six months. The demolition includes a 150,000-sf warehouse and two-story, 30,000-sf office building.

The Verandah Cos. will use its construction and management subsidiaries from start to finish for the project, designed by Wahlberg Wright Architects of Houston. The plan is to break ground in late second quarter or early third quarter 2003, with delivery penciled in for early 2004.

About nine acres were bought from National Oilwell, a tract that once housed the headquarters of Bowen Tool Co. David Adickes of Houston sold the balance of the project area to Verandah. Confidentiality clauses barred disclosure of the selling prices. According to the Harris County Appraisal District, the land is assessed at nearly $2 million, most likely a fraction of the selling price.

Stratton says the project is designed to appeal to downtown professionals, such as paralegals and executive assistants, who are seeking affordable, class A housing. Units will average 970 sf, with the largest totaling 1,466 sf. The rent range is $800 to $1,300 per month.

“There has been increasing development in other corridors near downtown Houston,” Stratton said in a press release. “The Woodland Heights area offers excellent proximity to downtown.” The complex has open-concept floor plans and attached garages.

Stratton says the finished product will be a three-story, walk-up instead of the mid-rise now being built by most in-town developers. He believes most people, if given a choice, would select less dense living arrangements such as garden-style designs. The Verandah at Woodland Heights will have 25 units per acre, Stratton said.

Jon Farris, who recently joined the Houston office of the Staubach Co., negotiated the land transactions for the sellers. Jeff Trevino of Houston’s Michael Group represented Verandah Cos. Tom Fish and Holly Minter, a Houston-based team for L.J. Melody & Co., arranged financing. The Verandah Cos. has built or renovated 50 apartment properties in Texas, Arizona and Colorado.

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