When you think of commercial real estate in Houston, what comes to mind? Garish billboards? Haphazard strip malls? Sprawling surface lots devoid of greenery?
Along with the tangled mass of freeways, our unsightly office and retail spaces are the reason Houston was once named ugliest city in the first world. But this harshest of accolades is no longer justified, according to the city’s fastest-growing brokerage.
With a forward-looking approach to functional aesthetics, NextGen Real Estate is redefining the future of commercial real estate, starting with a sell-out 24-unit luxury office development in Pearland.
Commercial real estate isn't often associated with next-level luxury, but this is the NextGen difference: an ultramodern design featuring high ceilings and upgraded finishes, including Level 5 walls, premium vinyl floors, soundproofing, back-up lighting, and ample landscaped parking.
Add to this build quality the prime location — right on Broadway, with unbeatable visibility and traffic counts — and there is little wonder that the entirety of this stunning development sold out in no time.
Dozens turned out at the end of July to the ribbon-cutting event held by listing agent Michael Stavinoha. A veteran tech and real estate entrepreneur, Stavinoha brings decades of experience in investing and marketing analytics to his role as head of the new commercial division at NextGen.
"Michael is a beast!" exclaims NextGen CEO/broker Julia Wang, but there is truth behind the hyperbole.
Since joining the brokerage a little over three months ago, he has topped the production charts while welcoming a new baby into the world (his second son, Zane), all while undergoing monthly life-saving treatments at MD Anderson (he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2015).
To say Stavinoha lives every day like it might be his last does not do justice to the radiant positivity of his outlook, nor the sheer productivity of his output. Anyone in business understands that time is money, that minutes wasted amount to missed profitability, but for Stavinoha this aphorism has another meaning: time itself is the valuable currency.
"I just don’t know how much time I have left and, more than anything I want to build a lasting legacy, to leave something behind that represents me so that my boys have something to look up to if I don’t happen to be around," he says.
Of course, legacy comes in many forms. On the one hand, there is the physical achievement of building something from nothing.
And many of Stavinoha’s properties are really quite something: Co-listed with Wang, his epic residential new construction in Sugar Land encompasses some 13,000 square feet of luxury living situated on almost three acres of waterfront.
Stavinoha also partners with investors and developers to bring much bigger projects to life, such as his forthcoming 15-warehouse development in Rosenberg and another multipurpose retail space in Pearland. Expansive plans are also underway in the exquisite master-planned community of Aliana, including 60 single-family homes and a 300-unit multi-family development.
Meanwhile, what will be his largest project to date is in the final planning stages. Details are yet to be released, although this residential development is rumored to have international investors as high profile as the proposed building itself.
But the other type of legacy is the one that led Stavinoha to NextGen: building a real estate community.
In addition to serving on committees for HAR and the Greater Houston Partnership, Stavinoha is technology chair for the Asian Real Estate Association of America in Houston. He is also a prolific content creator, with a host of real estate vlogs and podcasts slated for release in the coming months.
"Yes, I am laser-focused and hyper-productive," says Stavinoha, "but I genuinely enjoy my clients and co-workers. Supporting one another and building our dreams together is what it’s all about."
This abundance mindset makes NextGen Real Estate a natural fit for Stavinoha. Since its formation in late 2020, almost 100 "next generation" agents have joined the brokerage. Like Stavinoha, they were enticed by NextGen’s collaborative work culture as much as its total dominance of the digital sphere.
So while every building is a monument to its people, for Stavinoha — and for NextGen — it’s much more personal. They are compelled to do things differently, to push for better for everyone involved, and to creatively rethink the received wisdom of real estate, whether residential or commercial.