Real Estate Round-up
The hills with no kids: Del Webb brings a new real estate pitch to the Houstonarea
Del Webb is demonstrating that wisdom comes with age. Del Webb, a land developer and home builder, has located one of the few hilly tracts in the Houston area for its new residential community.
The 500-acre Fort Bend County parcel is in Richmond, located off of Highway 59 and FM 762. The land has slopes and curves. There’s not much rolling topography around Houston, but Del Webb found it.
We’re not talking about the Swiss Alps. But the land is not flat. The Del Webb community shares a boundary with the Fort Bend Country Club to the north and features 50 acres of water on the site including Rabb's Bayou.
Of course, the project is not for everybody. Young whippersnappers need not apply.
Del Webb’s project will be restricted to home buyers at 55 years old and up. Del Webb says its new community is for “active adults”, which is the company’s target market.
Del Webb will build 1,500 homes in the community and the first residents are expected to be moving into moderately priced homes there next summer. A lot of the streets in the community are completed and the sales pavilion is under construction now.
Del Webb is a big name in the active adult market, starting with the Sun City project near Phoenix in 1960. Fifty years later it’s now part of the massive Pulte home building company and thousands of people live in the 50 Del Webb projects around the nation.
When the publicity campaign for the Del Webb Houston project began a few weeks ago, this project was hyped as Del Webb’s first Houston deal. But when you’ve been around Houston as long as I have, you know that’s not accurate.
Years ago, Del Webb was involved in developing Houston’s first large-scale master planned community — the 10,000-acre Clear Lake City. In the early 1960s, the Del Webb company was partnering with Humble Oil (which later became Exxon) on Clear Lake City. I’ve been told that if you look hard enough on some of the older streets of Clear Lake City, you may be able to find old manhole covers that have “Del Webb” stamped on them.
And yes, there really was a Mr. Del Webb, who was a sharp businessman and a colorful character. Webb constructed the Flamingo Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip for underworld boss Bugsy Siegel. Mr. Webb himself later became a gambling tycoon and owned the Sahara casino hotel on the north end of the Vegas strip. Mr. Webb also owned a big stake in the New York Yankees for a few years.
The new Del Webb project, located about 25 miles southwest of downtown Houston, will be loaded up with the usual bells and whistles: a large community center, tennis courts, yoga classes, etc. But there won’t be any kids living there, making noise and causing a juvenile nuisance. For people that want an adults-only lifestyle, Del Webb’s project should be an attractive option.
Venturing Out to Vintage Park
Interfin, the company that developed the Uptown Park center just north of the Galleria, is reporting success at its shopping center in the far northwest suburbs.
Interfin’s developed the Vintage Park shopping center at Highway 249 and Louetta Road. The 500,000 square foot center has a bell tower and architecture that resembles Uptown Park. The developer says Vintage Park has been signing a number of new retail tenants, despite the weak economy.
New tenants include three new eateries Trio Prime Steakhouse & Bar, CoCo’s Crepes and Coffee and It’s A Treat, a cupcake specialist. Asha Handcrafted Jewelry, Inches-A-Weigh, Lone Star Tobacco, Envi Boutique, and La Ve Vee Couture also leased space.
To attract small merchants and restaurants, Interfin has been doing some interior finish of store spaces in the shopping center, instead of the typical route of delivering an empty shell to the retailer. This helps new shopkeepers lower their cost for starting new a new business — a major hurdle in today’s economy.
Houston’s Blue-Collar Undergirding
It’s not very sexy, but a big portion of Houston’s economy churns on the east side of town at the Port of Houston. It’s one of the largest ports in the world and creates thousands of jobs for our city.
The latest point of light coming from the Port: East Belt Business Park, a project that where construction was finished just as the economy tanked in 2008, is now 100 percent leased.
The 350,000-square-foot warehouse park is located near the Port of Houston along the East Sam Houston Parkway South in Pasadena.
The project was developed by a partnership Trammell Crow Company and Morgan Stanley Prime Property Fund. CB Richard Ellis handled the leasing. New leases in the project were signed by Airgas Southwest, Inc., Doerle Food Service, LLC and Wrist USA, Inc.
Ralph Bivins, former president of the National Association of Real Estate Editors, is editor-in-chief of RealtyNewsReport.com.