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(To read more on the multifamily market, click here.)

HOUSTON-An El Paso developer has claimed 16 acres of a 24-acre parcel for close to $3 million in northwest Houston. Eastbourne Investments Ltd. of Williamsville, NY has had the land banked more than five years.

Verde Realty didn’t return telephone calls to comment on its development plan for a site with frontage along Texas 249. Frank Egan, Eastbourne’s president, tells GlobeSt.com that the land will be built out with multifamily product.

“In March of 2001, we bought 24 acres for $2 million and the idea was to do exactly what we’re doing now,” Egan says, “hold it, then sell it.” The unsold piece is two acres at the corner of Texas 249 and Northpointe Boulevard.

Egan says the company has realized a $6.2-million gain to date on the land speculation play. Other tracts were sold to CVS/Pharmacy, Bank One and a local developer.

Eastbourne’s land claim at the intersection includes 54 acres on the northwest corner. In the spring, 10 acres were sold for about $2.5 million. Egan says the 44-acre balance was under contract, but the deal’s fallen out so it’s back on the market for $5 per sf.

Egan believes none of the land will be on the market long. Another piece is set to go into escrow in the coming weeks, he says. “The continued growth in the northwest quadrant of Houston is attracting attention,” he explains. The widening of the heavily traveled Texas 249 is fueling the activity.

Egan says traffic and infrastructure were concerns when Eastbourne bought the land, but that’s not the case any longer. “The growth pushes demand and that pushes continued growth,” he says. “Infrastructure is completed and that helps our land deals.”

Christopher Winters of Colliers International’s Houston office represented Eastbourne in the latest transaction. Verde’s broker was William Wheless of Wheless Properties in Houston.

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