Marquette Cos., a multifamily developer with two projects in Houston’s urban core, has purchased land in the Near Northside for its third — a five-story apartment complex along Little White Oak Bayou neighboring the White Oak Music Hall.
The company, based in suburban Chicago, bought approximately four acres from W2 Development Partners, whose principals also own of the music venue on at 2915 North Main Street. Some of the acreage had been used as parking for the concert hall, which has been closed due to the pandemic.
The purchase price was not disclosed.
Construction on the project is expected to start early next year. The building has been designed for roughly 250 apartments, including live/work units with a separate office and half bathroom.
Rents are still being determined, but Marquette’s Chris Yuko said they will be lower than buildings downtown and in the Heights, areas with some of the highest rates in the city.
Despite a growing interest in single-family housing in the area and Metro’s light rail service being extended along North Main Street, the Near Northside has been slower to attract commercial development.
“We’ve been pretty consistent in being on the pioneering side of new areas,” Yuko said.
Jeff Trevino, a Near Northside resident who lives close to the site and is on the leadership team of the neighborhood’s civic club, said the developer offered to meet with the neighbors to discuss the project.
“We plan to take him up on that,” Trevino said, adding that some residents are more concerned than others. “Generally, we are cautiously optimistic about having new neighbors.”
Will Garwood of W2 Development said he expected the new apartments to be a catalyst for more development.
“We’re excited to see a great development coming to an area that we really believe in,” Garwood said. He said the music hall would reopen and that he was optimistic that national touring will return next year.
The Marquette property, at Keene and Boundary just east of Interstate 45, is in a qualified opportunity zone. Developers and investors who build in these communities or invest in businesses there can qualify for significant tax breaks.
The federal program was created as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 and is meant to spur private investment in economically distressed communities.
Marquette is building another project in a part of Second Ward also designated as an opportunity zone. That 300-unit apartment building, at 2404 Navigation Blvd., is a partnership with Origin Investments, a Chicago-based investment firm with several opportunity zone funds.
The Near Northside complex will also be an opportunity zone project with an investment from a private family, Yuko said.
The new building will have similarities to the company’s Navigation project, including wide, walkable sidewalks and space for retailers. It will have a rootfop pool where residents will be able to watch concerts at the music hall’s outdoor stage. The complex will be constructed around an interior parking garage.
Marquette also developed Catalyst Houston, a 28-story apartment tower near Minute Maid Park, in 2017.