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Axelrad founders to bring mixed-use district to Houston’s East End

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An ambitious group of entrepreneurs has set up a four-acre warehouse complex in the East End of Houston as an example of socially friendly real estate development in one of Texas’s fastest gentrification areas. We aim to transform it into an easy-to-walk, multipurpose district that has the potential to become.

Houston real estate firm Concept Neighborhood plans to transform more than four blocks of primarily historic properties into destinations full of hyperlocal businesses, boutique retailers, restaurants and small office spaces. Construction is expected to begin in the second half of 2022 due to the redevelopment of the approximately 80-year-old building that once housed the oil and gas equipment manufacturer WKM.

The proposed redevelopment includes approximately 145,000 square feet spread across several sites around 201 Roberts Street, a few blocks away from another concept Neighborhood project, the plant. A 20,000-square-foot multipurpose development in Harrisburg Boulevard, about 1.5 miles east of downtown. Together, the project will bring further changes to the 16-square-mile East End district, where urban experts flock, asset values ​​rise, and new cafes, condominiums, and storefronts that were once primarily industrial areas are emerging. There is a possibility.

Ken Ellis / Houston Chronicle

The goal of Concept Neighborhood is to create a collection of small businesses that are reminiscent of the pedestrian-friendly Bishop Arts District of Midtown Houston or Dallas. The property is a few blocks from the Metrorail’s Green Line, unleashing the potential of an easy-to-walk district that urban planners usually dream of in Houston.

“It will be like Brooklyn in the South,” said Jeff Kaplan, 43, a principal of Concept Neighborhood, who helped develop what was previously popular. Midtown Beer Garden Axel Rad and a few others..

Kaplan, who lives in the East End, has long been passionate about the concept of giving residents access to most everyday needs within walking or rail travel distances. Concept His co-principal at Neighborhood-Dave Seaberger, a former private equity expert. David Kelley, the developer of the apartment complex and the founder of the community bank. Monte Large, co-founder and urban designer of another Axelrad. Former real estate lawyer Jeremy Roberts. And Zachary Samet, a real estate broker — share his vision. Andrea Daniela, a real estate broker and resident of the East End, is also involved.

To understand what Concept Neighborhood wants to make in the East End, take a look at The Plant, an adaptive reuse project that opened in 2020. The corridor between the boutique and the small office.

Hip-hop music plays from HAM Barber Studio in the morning while the barber cleans the tools of the day. A biking barista arrives at Café Louie and makes oat milk latte with a bakery that draws pastries with melted butter. Next to a Bodega-style grocery store, Little red box called groceryHipsters peruse locally procured tortilla chips with residents of nearby affordable apartments shopping with food stamps.

Evergirl Vintage owner Dawn Bell opened a store on Tuesday, June 28, 2022 in a historic building at 201 Roberts St. in Houston.

Evergirl Vintage owner Dawn Bell opened a store on Tuesday, June 28, 2022 in a historic building at 201 Roberts St. in Houston.

Marie D. de Jesus / Staff Photographer

In 2016, when Kaplan first hatched the idea for The Plant, he Said in an interview His goal was to create a project “not just for yuppies moving to the neighborhood”. So far, the dream seems to be coming true. Eighty-three percent of The Plant’s business is owned by women, minorities, or people living nearby.

“What we have here is a truly sustainable example of community wealth,” Kaplan said. “If a merchant is a community-based entrepreneur, the odds of success are high. It’s not just money. Our neighbors are investing meaningfully in these businesses.”

Concept Neighborhood aims not only to lease space, but also to help small businesses who may not have the resources to set up a storefront in standard retail development. For example, at The Plant, Concept Neighborhood paid one of its tenants for the kitchen. Frozen treat shop Popston is about to open, And paying for an outdoor patio that will be built soon. Kaplan worked with investment firm Nextseed to help Café Louis owners raise funds. Plant new restaurant.. For some tenants, Concept Neighborhood has signed sliding-scale rental agreements that increase rents as the business prospers. The developers also provided tenants such as the vintage store The Second Shop with pre-authorized occupancy space to minimize tenant setup costs and timelines.

The goal is to expand that approach with the redevelopment of the WKM. According to Concept Neighborhood, the historic designation of the property will give developers potential tax credits worth $ 8 million over the next few years. Locations within the Opportunity Zone also allow developers to defer and eliminate taxes on investment-related capital gains.

From the outside, the former WKM campus in the East End, which consisted of a warehouse and adjacent offices, looks quite unobtrusive. If you look closely, you might miss the vintage amber corrugated glass along the windows of a mid-rise warehouse, or the WKM brand etched onto the 80-year-old sage tone and gray construction that once housed the company's office. Maybe. But once inside, one moves into part of the history of mid-century modern design. The building is transformed into a versatile and easy-to-walk district by Concept Neighborhood.

From the outside, the former WKM campus in the East End, which consisted of a warehouse and adjacent offices, looks quite unobtrusive. If you look closely, you might miss the vintage amber corrugated glass along the windows of a mid-rise warehouse, or the WKM brand etched onto the 80-year-old sage tone and gray construction that once housed the company’s office. Maybe. But once inside, one moves into part of the history of mid-century modern design. The building is transformed into a versatile and easy-to-walk district by Concept Neighborhood.

Marie D. de Jesus / Staff Photographer

Concept Neighborhood, among other projects in the Houston area, from the Glenadas, known for helping to transform a former textile mill into a multipurpose project, Heights Clock Tower, in December on 16 buildings on the former WKM campus. I bought a building.

WKM’s assets have been in the family for over 45 years, said 71-year-old Jonathan Grenada. A few years ago, he and his wife, Nonja, a retired professor of architecture at Rice University, registered their property in the National History Register. Allow access to tax credits to restore parts of the building to office or retail suites. But when they moved to semi-retirement, they said they didn’t have the time or resources to redevelop the entire campus and wanted to focus on other efforts. Instead, they tried to market to like-minded developers.

“We really admire the energy (of the Concept Neighborhood) and their commitment to continue the particular legacy of Neighborhood and inject new and existing together,” said 68-year-old Nonha Glena. Dar said.

Concept Neighborhood plans to redevelop the WKM campus over the next four years. According to Kaplan, a small number of manufacturing tenants on the site will eventually end the project as they move away from heavy industry use.

Construction is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of Phase 1, according to developers, including 50,000 square feet of retail stores and 23,000 square feet of office space. Redevelopment is expected to be completed in 2026.

Like the rest of the East End, the area around the WKM campus is a discrepancy between the modernity and industrial relics of the bygone era, which primarily served as a manufacturing and transportation hub near the Houston Ship Channel. Less than 1.6 km (1 mile) from the WKM site, the former Maxwell House coffee roasting plant is located on a mid-rise warehouse, overgrown abandoned land, chipped paint, and semi-rusted structures. Is approaching.

In the meantime, restored artisan-style bungalows, art studios, trendy cafes, and modern town homes have more than doubled their median household income in the last decade, according to census data. It’s a sign of change. For The postal code of 77003.

Evergirl Vintage owner Dawn Bell will open in a historic building at 201 Roberts St. in Houston on Tuesday, June 28, 2022.

Evergirl Vintage owner Dawn Bell will open in a historic building at 201 Roberts St. in Houston on Tuesday, June 28, 2022.

Marie D. de Jesus / Staff Photographer

In the vicinity of the East End and adjacent downtown East, there are many projects to transform industrial land into residential lofts, retail stores, cafes, restaurants, small offices and coworking spaces.Midways, north of Bayo 150 acres of multipurpose development, East RiverDramatically reshape the north side of the East End, while the non-profit Buffalo Bayou partnership has launched $ 200 million for 20 years master Plan to rethink the eastern side of Bayeux

Many of these changes are based on the extension of the light rail to the east end. Veronica Chapa Gortinsky, president of the East End District of the Economic Development Group, said the asset value of land adjacent to the light rail along Harrisburg Boulevard surged 30% between 2017 and 2019. ..

The difference in the Concept Neighborhood approach is the effort to create a public transport-oriented neighborhood for hyper-local businesses where “everyone in the community can travel independently of the car.”

“And that’s where they’re actually breaking new ground, not just in the neighborhood, but I think they’re breaking new ground in Houston,” she added.

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