This Week in Houston: New downtown park in development, bungalow homes coming to Montgomery and more

by Zachary Wright

Downtown Houstonians may be able to spend more time outdoors after the Downtown Redevelopment Authority announced they released an acre of land in the area. The park will run along the 1500 block of Fannin.

The DRA will pay $355,922 in annual rent to a private trust for the first five years of a 30-year lease, a spokeswoman said. The rate will go up 10 percent every five years. Goodyear Auto Service Center currently sits on the lot, taking up three-quarters of the block. Goodyear’s lease ends in March 2019 and the building will be demolished the following month.

The proposal would allow residents to use the green space as a central hub. In a survey, focus groups found residents wanted a community that provides amenities. This includes community programs like yoga, bike rentals, outdoor dining, among other things.

Public Spaces reported the Southern Downtown Park’s green space will be able to accommodate a wide variety of amenities. “The new Southern Downtown Park will be both a lush, modern front porch and a relaxing backyard for Houstonians: a place to gather, eat, study or cool off in the shade,” Public Spaces said. “It will offer an intimate green space along with year-round activities, small performances, games, food and local art to enjoy.”

The design phase is expected to last from December 2018 to July 2019. The park is not expected to open until Oct. 2020.

In other real estate news:

  • Houston claims No. 37 on the Urban Land Institute and PwC’s list of real estate markets to watch, which it is higher than last year’s ranking of No. 60 in 2018. The Dallas-Fort Worth area came in first. However, Houston scored well in the industrial category, followed by housing, retail, hotel and office spaces. Houston also scored above every in nearly every category, although it was rated as average for local public-private investment. However, ULI cited different factors like population growth rate and younger residents boosted the real estate outlook in Houston.
  • The Texas Real Estate Commission and Texas Appraiser Licensing and Certification Board are allegedly keeping excess revenue, according to the Texas Sunset Commission. In a report published earlier this month, the number of Texas Real Estate Commission licenses increased from 147,000 in 2013 to 183,000 in 2017. TSC said the core issue lies in the agencies being able to govern themselves. In 2014, the agencies allegedly began to hold excess revenue to fund a new building for the agencies instead of investing the money to improve operations. The two agencies plan to release a written response on Oct. 16.
  • Lennar announced they will introduce bungalow-style homes with modern amenities priced in the $200,000s. The bungalow line would be located in Woodforest, a Montgomery neighborhood. Selections ranging from 1,152 to 1,664 square feet and floor plans may include up to four options, with a master bedroom and ensuite bathroom. The bungalows will also be fully Wi-Fi certified, including a home automation package that allows residents to control lights, door locks, thermostats from voice-activated home automation.
  • Century Communities announced early buyers seeking their resort-style homes can receive the pre-grand opening pricing at Jacobs Reserve in Conroe. Prices start in the $290,000s. Interested buyers can choose from one-and-two story homes with open floor plans from 2,016 to 3,128 square feet with three to six bedrooms. A variety of amenities are included with a clubhouse, a pool and a playground for kids. The official grand opening of Jacobs Reserve will take place November 11 and 12.
  • Houston Relocation Professors recently hosted their fall education meeting and golf tournament. This two-day event allowed global mobility leaders from Houston and the nation to discuss topics affecting the real estate industry. It also served as a networking opportunity for HRP members and attendees. One of the biggest focuses was Hurricane Harvey, which destroyed some Houston neighborhoods. On the second day, HRP held their 11th Annual Golf Tournament to benefit Candlelighters. For the past 14 years, HRP and Candlelighters has worked together to help provide assistance to children in medical need. Nine-year-old Trey Thomas teed off the tournament.

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