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HOUSTON-New York City-based Orion Towers Tarragon LLC, a partnership between Asbury Place Development and Tarragon Corp., has broken ground on Orion, a $425-million residential project in the River Oaks neighborhood.

Situated on 10 acres along the Buffalo Bayou at Asbury Place, Orion will consist of two 37-story towers. The first tower will have 180 residences while the second one will be designed with 150 to 180 condos, says Robert Day, co-owner of Asbury Place.

Day tells GlobeSt.com that 106 units already have been pre-sold for a total of $100 million, including the $5.3-million penthouse. The first tower is slated for completion in the late spring 2007. The second tower will break ground in winter 2005.

Orion is Tarragon and Asbury Place’s first condominium project in Houston although they’ve worked together on a condo project in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Days says he pursued a relationship with Tarragon to built Orion because “a financial powerhouse” was needed for the development.

Day says Asbury Place purchased the acreage from Fred Welling and Ede Nemeti earlier this year. “With such a phenomenal piece of land, we knew we had to build the most spectacular high-rise towers that Houston had ever seen,” he says.

Tarragon and Asbury Place have contributed $30 million in equity to Orion. Although several lenders have lined up to provide the partnership with construction financing, the partnership has not yet selected one.

Orion was designed by world-renowned architect, Ede I. Nemeti, president and COO of Houston-based Architectural Services International Inc. The building’s facade will feature a Pegasus between art deco spheres. The project team includes the Tulsa-headquartered Manhattan Construction Co., locally based CBM Engineers and Houston landscaper, Keiji Asakura.

The towers will have six floor plans with two- to five-bedrooms, ranging from 1,687 sf to 8,200 sf. Each condo will have a balcony, European-style loggia, French doors, travertine marble-clad baths, private and semiprivate elevator foyers, Delacassa cabinetry, Viking appliances, custom-cut granite counters and an outdoor summer kitchen with a Viking gas grill. Orion’s amenities will include a around-the-clock manned front desk, concierge services, 24-hour valet parking, hotel-style property management services, residents-only clubhouse, business center, library, Olympic-size pool, fitness center and aerobics studio.

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