Trademark’s Mixed-Use Development in Houston Buoyed by High Oil Prices

With high oil prices making the Houston market relatively resilient in these uncertain times, a new partnership hopes to take advantage with a mixed-use project in the city’s Galleria submarket. High Street (pictured) is a 400,000-square-foot, $105 million mixed-use project on Westheimer Road and will comprise 100,000 square feet of retail, 80,000 square feet of office and 233 multi-family rental residences. Currently under construction, it’s scheduled for completion in late fall 2009 and will be LEED certified. The project is a joint venture of Trademark Property Co. and Coventry Real Estate Advisors; that partnership was just finalized earlier this week. Kosene & Kosene Residential joined as the partner for the residential portion last month, according to a Trademark spokesperson. Trademark will work with Page Realty Partners Ltd. on the retail leasing, and CB Richard Ellis Inc. will handle office leasing. “The Galleria submarket for retail, office and multi-family is thriving right now,”David Dominy, managing director of Integra Realty Resources’ Houston office, told CPN. Land prices are nearing $200 a square foot, a level previously seen only in Downtown Houston and other high-rise havens. And while Class A office rents in that area, Dominy said, were as low as $16 a square foot three years ago, those same landlords are now asking $27 a square foot and getting nearly that much. As another sign of this submarket’s activity, and in addition to numerous residential-only projects, Dominy points to another mixed-use development less than a mile from High Street, Boulevard Place, under development on the site of a former shopping center. Being developed by Houston’s Wulfe and Co., the project will include 500,000 square feet of upscale retail and restaurants, a 225-room luxury hotel, 175,000 square feet of office and 500 high-rise residences. The reason for all this robustness, Dominy said, is simply that high oil prices are helping to buoy Houston’s economy. And despite plenty of construction in the Galleria submarket, he sees no short-term risk of overbuilding there–so long as oil prices stay up. Founded in 1991, Trademark is known primarily as a developer and owner of retail and mixed-use space, having acquired or developed nearly $1 billion worth to date. One high-profile mixed-use development that Trademark developed is Market Street, in the northern Houston suburb of The Woodlands. The 34-acre, 500,000-square-foot office and retail project is adding a 70-room, four-story Avia boutique hotel atop 25,000 square feet of additional ground-level retail.