new name on the block

2 new developments open doors to Houston's First Ward Arts District

2 new developments open doors to Houston's First Ward Arts District

Alessia First Ward Arts District
Alessia will make a splash in the First Ward Arts District.  Rendering courtesy of VenHomes

Venezuelan transplant Jose Ocque, a Houston-based realtor with Weichert and the founder of VenHomes, is celebrating a string of milestones. He just launched construction on Alessia, his inaugural urban development in Houston. And he’s set to break ground on a second project — Vittoria — in the fall, now that he’s secured approval from the Houston Archeological and Historical Commissions.

All of that comes Ocque’s readying to mark his 20th anniversary as a United States resident, having moved here from Venezuela to study construction science at the University of Oklahoma.

Enter Alessia and Vittoria
Ocque named his two First Ward developments for his nieces. Slated for completion in August 2019, Alessia is a gated enclave of three, transitional-style single family townhomes located at 2004 Summer St.

Just around the corner at 1913 and 1917 Crockett St., Vittoria will be a pair of two-story craftsmen-inspired bungalows. The personal monikers reflect the importance of the projects to Ocque, who is looking to make his mark on the Inner Loop with a sophisticated product recognized for quality and finish.

Alessia’s special enhancements include colors, materials, custom cabinetry, and fixtures all selected in partnership with interiors consultant Lauren Parsons, fresh off the completion of downtown’s Star residential tower. Priced from the $550s, the four-story, 2,600-square-foot homes showcase exterior facades that incorporate French limestone and grey antique brick.

Each residence features an elevator shaft, three bedrooms, four and a half baths, top floor studio space, and rooftop terrace prepped for a summer kitchen. Nodding to its Arts District environs, the studios will open to the terraces with a garage door to create flexible and expansive indoor/outdoor space ideal for living and entertaining.

“As a builder, my goal is to continue growing in my craft and to take strategic risks while providing buyers with an exemplary product,” says Ocque. “I’ve always been drawn to design, and these projects will be anything but cookie cutter, showcasing a myriad of curated touches and top-of-the-line elements. While my profit margin might be smaller given the additional time spent, plus the elevated trades and components being used, my focus is delivering dream homes to future owners.”

A new face for Houston realty 
Ocque decided to relocate VenHomes to Houston in 2015. He earned his real estate license in Houston to better acquaint himself with the city and save on land commissions, then entered the market with a series of speculative homes in Pearland. The area mirrored some of the Oklahoma neighborhoods where he had previously built and had a string of successes.

He was named one of Oklahoma City’s “40 Under 40” with well over 300 homes under his belt as an independent builder. He was also a construction manager for the award-winning Home Creations, where he earned Builder of the Year accolades in both 2010 and 2011.

Just after closing on his first Houston home, Harvey hit. He quickly switched tack, based on referrals from friends and associates in real estate, pivoting into remodels. While that work has expanded well beyond hurricane-related business, Ocque has remained active in the field and enjoys interacting with clients to reimagine spaces.

In addition to past and current projects in Meyerland and The Heights, his jobs have spanned from Westbury/Maplewood and Memorial/Spring Valley to Midtown and Upper Kirby.

“I was drawn to Houston by its vitality, diversity, opportunities, and proximity to family in Venezuela,” he says. “I’m thrilled I made the decision and feel so grateful to be part of the fabric of this continually evolving city.”