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HOUSTON-Two Texas companies have joined forces for the first time to develop the luxury mid-rise Almeda at Old Spanish Trail. Groundbreaking on the first phase, 304 units in the Medical Center, is scheduled to take place in the coming months.

The project will be situated on a little more than eight acres at the intersection of Almeda Road and Old Spanish Trail. It is being funded through Crow Holdings’ Realty Partners IV LP’s $850-million fund. Houston-based Simmons Vedder & Co. is the developer. Almeda at Old Spanish Trail is the first ground-up multifamily project for the Dallas-based fund.

The construction cost for the Almeda at Old Spanish Trail isn’t unavailable, but area sources suggest it could range from $160 per sf to $180 per sf for comparable mid-rise product. The one-, two- and three-bedroom units, averaging 916 sf, will sit on half of the development site, according to Simmons Vedders’ website. The Almeda was designed by local architect, Steinberg Design Collaborative. Calls to Crow Holdings and Simmons Vedder were not returned by press time.

Colliers International principal Teresa Lowery and vice president Saul Keeton, neither of whom is involved with the deal, tell GlobeSt.com that Almeda at Old Spanish Trail is a property whose time has come due to tightening supply of and increasing demand for multifamily product. “The Texas Medical Center employs 75,000 in one location and continues expanding its boundaries,” Lowery explains.

In addition, single-family home prices in the area are on the rise, with existing multifamily properties having gone the condo conversion route. “There’s most definitely a short supply of apartment units,” Lowery says.

Keeton adds that another aspect to the development is a high barrier to entry, most notably the lack of available land on which to build. He points out that Simmons Vedder also owns a nearby five-acre tract at the intersection of Old Spanish Trail and Kirby Drive. The developer also has demolished a Garden Ridge and Target to build Kirby at Old Spanish Trail, a four-story 293-unit apartment slated to begin construction in March. “To find good tracts of land in that area,” he says, “developers and investors are looking for functionally obsolete real estate.”

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