Shabu for sharing. A warming bowl of pho. The pick of the season's crawfish. We all know where to go to find the best of these culinary delights in Houston: Asiatown. But would we also expect to find high-end homes right off Bellaire Boulevard? Perhaps not.
Also known as "Little Saigon" or "Chinatown" — in acknowledgment of the broad range of cultures that call it home — this thriving, cosmopolitan community between Highways 59 and 6 has undergone rapid transformation in the last three decades.
Premium shopping ranges from small specialist groceries to the largest Asian indoor mall in the southeastern United States. Spas, temples, karaoke, banking, healthcare, schools, and community centers all contribute to its reputation as a vibrant and hospitable neighborhood.
Luxury living tends to follow this kind of gentrification, but it has been a long time coming to Asiatown.
"The last large-scale development of this kind was a decade ago," explains exclusive listing agent Andrea Tran. "To live among this hustle and bustle — yet set apart in a tranquil retreat — is a concept familiar to many cultures around the world, in Asia and elsewhere. Our slogan — 'Culture, Pronounced' — is a reflection of this principle. Mai Garden Terrace takes this and applies it to contemporary living for the first time right here in Houston."
A family affair
In most Asian cultures, family is everything. These values are the cornerstone of Mai Garden Terrace, not least because this development on the corner of Kirkwood and Bellaire was the vision of a single Vietnamese family.
The Nguyen family came to Houston from Saigon in 2010. Since forming their company, Gia Capital, they have become a fixture of the property development scene, acquiring and constructing over 1,000 housing units. As such, they are uniquely placed to understand the global needs and wants of the local population.
"Our mission is simple," their project outline states. "To provide a community for families with shared cultural values and a support system for their wellbeing. Mai Garden Terrace will be a one-of-a-kind community designed to celebrate culture and tradition through design, activities, and family events."
"Houston is such a melting pot," adds Tran. "What has been so refreshing about Gia Capital's vision is their conviction to bring the best aspects of Hanoi living to Houston: modern American convenience meets classic Vietnamese aesthetics. It's truly the best of both."
Mai Garden Terrace
Committed to investing $100 million in the community at large in the coming years, the Nguyens envision a vibrant hub that takes care of its residents and serves a wide range of clientele. Despite low HOA fees, Mai Garden Terrace will include a zen garden, a dog park, and a tai chi center, all within a gated community for peace of mind.
The homes themselves are an authentic Asian take on the modern European townhouse.
Designed by the award-winning Mc2 Architects, they feature energy-efficient appliances, thoughtful storage, high-end materials, open layouts, and minimalist decor. Prospective buyers may choose from a selection of professionally coordinated packages that include flooring, countertops, backsplashes, wall tiles, and cabinetry.
Starting in the low $300s, floorplans include two-bed/two-bath and three bed/3.5 bath configurations, each with ground-floor garage parking, second floor living and verandah, third floor ensuite bedrooms, and nine-foot ceilings throughout. Planning for an adjacent development of one- and two-bedroom condos is also underway.
One of the more striking elements about Mai Garden Terrace is the proposed landscaping.
Unlike similar developments, it is not merely an afterthought; instead, the planting resembles the intimate urban gardens that are customary in parts of Asia. Bamboo trellises, tomato vines, and cherry trees demarcate the residences. The zen garden, meanwhile, focuses on traditional hardscaping: a serpentine walkway with a minimalist aesthetic to promote calm, tranquility, and peace.
Development x NextGen
This depth of thinking — right down to philosophical considerations such as these — is largely thanks to the detail-oriented, deal-making Realtor who has been working behind the scenes for two years to bring this development to market.
It is often said that NextGen is "more than just a brokerage," and Tran — a senior vice president at the firm — takes this pledge to heart. From sourcing the land to engaging architects and designers, right through to the sales and marketing strategy we more commonly associate with a listing agent, Tran has worked with Gia Capital to bring their vision to life.
"From the initial idea through to breaking ground and beyond, we offer a full service for investors and developers," Tran explains. "I've hand-selected and trained our sales team to ensure that they have an inside-out knowledge of every project. This means that we can guarantee uncompromising expertise and a concierge level of service 'round the clock for both our builder clients and our prospective buyers."
The team she refers to is the AT Group: an ever-growing class of elite agents — 30 and counting — who came to Tran for mentorship, having recognized that her particular brand of principled, purpose-driven real estate is among the best in the business.
Having lived through three catastrophic hurricanes in her two hometowns (New Orleans and Houston), Tran understands the importance of community-building, values that she has helped Gia Capital build into the very foundations of Mai Garden Terrace.
Groundbreaking modern luxury
Like many of the street signs in Asiatown, Mai Garden Terrace has a Vietnamese name too: Mai Gia Thon, which translates literally as "Cherry Blossom Village." But, as you might expect, this name also has a deeper meaning.
"Thon is a word that reminds people of where they were born or where they came from," explains Gia Capital CEO Long Nguyen. "It emphasizes strong family and community bonding."
On February 11, the undeveloped land that will become Mai Gia Thon was host to an epic ground-breaking ceremony that featured a dragon dance and offerings to the land, as well as a colorful array of delicious cuisines.
Dignitaries from across the real-estate world gathered to celebrate the Lunar New Year and to watch as the Nguyens joined Tran to cut the Mai Garden Terrace signature red ribbon and announce the official start of construction.
Completion of the townhome phase is scheduled for late 2023, with a waitlist already in place.
Tran thinks she knows why this project has proven so popular: "The floorplans are perfect for empty-nesters and retirees. The location and amenities are perfect for anyone of any generation who enjoys Asian culture and values. And the price point makes it the perfect investment opportunity."
She adds, "It is unique, which I think is what has piqued everyone's interest. There really is nowhere else like it anywhere in Houston — or even the southern United States."
If you would like to know more about what makes Mai Garden Terrace so special, or how NextGen can help bring your real estate vision to life, reach out to Andrea Tran and her team by emailing email@example.com or calling 713-254-2990. You can also follow Andrea or the AT Group on Instagram for the latest news and updates.