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Developer planning east downtown residential, restaurant project off Navigation

Fauzeya Rahman, Originally published in the Houston Business Journal - Feb. 14, 2019

A nearly 2-acre plot of land where an old elementary school once stood could soon be the site of a new eight-story apartment building with a floor of retail below.

Illinois-based Marquette Cos. Is under contract on the tract near the corner of Navigation Boulevard and Canal Street, east of the Houston Maritime Museum, said Darren Sloniger, president and CIO.

Marquette is asking the city planning commission for reduced building lines of both Canal and Navigation to “create a more interesting pedestrian experience,” the Feb 14 agenda stated.

Sloniger plans to break ground within the next six to eight months, pending city approval. He anticipates an 18-month construction timeline. Marquette’s Catalyst project downtown near Minute Maid Park officially opened in April.

Sloniger said the company wanted to develop on Navigation Boulevard for some time.

“I think with its proximity to downtown, it’s a really attractive place for people to live,” Sloniger said. “Navigation Boulevard is a very romantic, walkable neighborhood. We really love the area.”

Along with 293 apartment units, the project with likely have an anchor restaurant and a sidewalk café on the ground floor from local restaurants, Sloniger said. Average unit size will be about 890 square feet, with mostly one-bedroom options along with some two-bedroom floorplans. Interiors will feature a lot of wood, and plumbing fixtures will be matte black. Exteriors will have more of a rusted panel look.

“It’ll be unique to Huston,” Sloniger said of the project. He compared it to its Fulton Station development in downtown Chicago that has an urban yet vintage aesthetic.

Marquette selected Chicago-based Brininstool + Lynch as its design firm but has not yet selected a contractor. Sloniger said the company is still finalizing a construction loan.