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HOUSTON-A Boston developer will break ground in the fourth quarter on Regent Square, a pedestrian-oriented, mixed-use project. Area sources estimate the all-in development cost for the 24-acre project could come in just under $200 per sf.

Regent Square, which will be constructed in two phases, will consist of 390,000 sf of retail and office space, 200-room boutique hotel and up to 1,800 residential units. The first phase will consist of 230,000 sf of retail and restaurants, 60,000 sf of office, the hotel and 740 residential units. The planned opening is 2010. The second phase’s start will be based on market demand.

The project site contains the Allen House apartment complex at 3601 W. Allen Pkwy., which is bordered by West Clay, Tirrell and Rosine streets. “We originally bought this during the mid-1980s’ oil bust as a wonderful piece of property with an income-earning asset on it,” says John Darrah, vice president for GID Urban Development Group. “The notion of doing this type of mixed-use development on the property occurred to us a couple of years ago.”

Darrah tells GlobeSt.com that escalating urban sprawl and growing commute times contributed to the decision to make Regent Square a residential and retail center. “We felt that, in the inner loop area, there’s enough of a land constraint to make this dense of a development, one that will hold up and hold its value over the next 40 or 50 years,” he adds.

Doug Childers, associate principal with Morris Architects in Houston, acknowledges building an urban mixed-use community such as Regent Square can cost more money up front than a standard mixed-use project. For one thing, the majority of parking needs to be underground to maximize pedestrian space and aesthetics.

But Childers, whose company is one of the architects for the project, says Regent Square will have an active retail component, which will help recoup costs. “I’d expect this would increase the market share overall of the River Oaks region. And, more people will come from out of the area,” he says.

The list of architects include David M. Schwarz/Architectural Services Inc. of Washington, DC; Robert A.M. Stern Architects of New York City; Aponwao Design of Miami; B&D Studio of Parma, Italy; Hartman-Cox Architects and Bowie Gridley Architects, both from Washington, DC. Free construction services are being provided by J.E. Dunn Construction Co.’s Houston team. NA Berkowitz Development Group Inc. of Birmingham, MI is handling retail leasing and GID will handle residential leasing.

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