Inside the Catalyst luxury apartments in downtown Houston

Paul Takahashi, Originally published in the Houston Business Journal - Feb. 23, 2017

Marquette Cos. is nearing completion on the Catalyst, a new luxury apartment tower in downtown Houston.

The Naperville, Illinois-based multifamily company gave the Houston Business Journal a sneak peek inside the 359-unit apartment project, which features a 28-story tower connected to an eight-story wraparound midrise with a rooftop amenity deck.

The apartment complex sits on a city block bounded by Texas Avenue, Austin street, Prairie Street and La Branch Street near Minute Maid Park.

The development is a joint venture between Marquette Cos.; El Paso, Texas-based Hunt Cos. and Los Angeles-based Ares Management LLC. Catalyst is Marquette Cos.’ first development in Houston, and is modeled after a Catalyst-branded 19-story luxury apartment tower in Chicago. The 30-year veteran multifamily company, which has 285 employees, owns about 30 apartment properties across five midwestern states, including two garden-style Class A apartments in Houston.

Marquette Cos. broke ground on Catalyst Houston in November 2014. Chicago-based Pepper Construction is serving as construction manager, and Houston-based Ziegler Cooper Architects led the design.

Catalyst Houston features 26 floor plans ranging in size from a 613-square-foot studio to a 1,995-square-foot three-bedroom penthouse. Rents range from $1,450 to $6,900 per month.

The units, which average 959 square feet, feature an open floor plan with modern and elegant finishes, said Marie Route, Catalyst’s property manager. The units come with wood flooring, quartz countertops, glass tile backsplashes, stainless-steel Whirlpool appliances, a refrigerator with a built-in water fountain and ice-maker, under-cabinet lights and soft-close drawers, as well as a balcony and a shower-bathtub combo in select units.

Catalyst also features 19 penthouse units on the 27th and 28th floors with 12-foot ceiling heights, wine chillers and an exclusive fob access to their floor and a 28th-floor exclusive “SkyBar” with a wine bar and cigar lounge overlooking Minute Maid Park. Although preleasing began earlier this year, the Catalyst has already secured two leases for the penthouses, Route said.

The Catalyst also features a bevy of luxury amenities, including:

  • A two-story lobby with a 24-hour doorman, fireplace, concierge service and valet parking
  • A resident lounge with an automated package locker system and dry-cleaning lockers
  • A fitness center with a yoga/spin room and a workout-on-request system
  • A seventh-floor pet park with a dog wash
  • A 22,000-square-foot rooftop amenity deck on the eight-story midrise section with a resort-style pool, aqua lounge, private cabanas with TVs, poolside grills and grass lawn for bocce ball and yoga.
  • A Sky Lounge on the 26th floor with a demonstration kitchen, fireplace, TV and views of downtown Houston.

The apartment complex is offering cooking and fitness classes for residents as well as a Catalyst VIP perks card, which will allow residents to access special discounts to restaurants, shops, bars and salons downtown.

Irma’s Southwest Grill, located in the Great Southwest Building across the street from the Catalyst, has signed a lease to move into the ground floor of the Catalyst, Route said.

The Catalyst is expected to attract a wide range of renters, from young professionals working downtown to empty nesters who are looking to downsize into an easy-to-maintain home in the heart of Houston.

Despite the oil slump and competition downtown, Marquette Cos. is not offering significant rent concessions at Catalyst Houston. Currently, renters can receive one-month free on a 13-month lease. The first move-ins are planned for this spring.

“We stand by our product,” Route said. “People will want to live here without concessions because there’s nothing else like us here.”

Catalyst is one of nine multifamily projects under construction in downtown Houston.