A hip 6-acre project could transform the area

Houston’s East End is already undergoing major change, but a hip new six-acre mixed-use project rising at one of the neighborhood’s most visible intersections underscores how quickly the neighborhood is changing.

Triten Real Estate Partners, a Houston real estate company, is breaking ground on the first phase of The Mill, a nearly 840,000 square foot, 6.23 acre development located at 2219 Canal Street at the corner of Canal Street and Navigation Boulevard. Plans for the project include converting a dilapidated brick building into a boutique office and retail site surrounded by restaurants, outdoor plazas and apartments.

Combined with the new stores, coworking space and apartments across the streetThe mill is ready to help remodel one of the main entrances to the East End from downtown Houston. The Canal Street-Navigation Boulevard intersection is considered a gateway to the East End region, according to the region’s economic development management organization, East End District.

Houston construction company Arch-Con began work last week on the initial phase of The Mill, which will include 341 mark-to-market apartments that will open in 2024, plus 6,036 square feet of retail space. Future phases include two retail buildings that are expected to house restaurants or a small grocery bodega, as well as a 90,000 square foot office project with 8,654 square feet of retail space.

Le Moulin will be centered around an outdoor plaza inviting restaurant diners, tenants and members of the public to mingle with the green spaces.

Michael Hsu Architecture Office / Michael Hsu Architecture Office

The boutique office project will surround the existing brick building on the site. The start of construction of the offices has not been scheduled, but in the meantime, Triten plans to clean the brick building and improve the grounds so that it can be transformed into a temporary art gallery, a beer garden or space for live music and craft market. .

“Our vision here was to not only reuse the existing building and construct it to retain some of the site’s history and culture, but then deliver something (new),” said Scott Arnoldy, CEO of Triten Real. Estate. .

The developer takes a page from his work elsewhere in Houston: MKT, an adaptive reuse of industrial warehouses in a retail and office complex in The Heights that Triten co-developed with Houston-based Radom Partners. Triten hired the same MKT architecture firm, Michael Hsu Architecture Office, to lead the design of The Mill with the aim of bridging the gritty industrial character of the site with a fresh, modern design.

Le Moulin will be centered around an outdoor plaza inviting restaurant diners, tenants and members of the public to mingle with the green spaces.

Le Moulin will be centered around an outdoor plaza inviting restaurant diners, tenants and members of the public to mingle with the green spaces.

Michael Hsu Architecture Office / Michael Hsu Architecture Office

The roofline of two of the retail buildings will have a sawtooth-shaped top, a nod to the site’s roots as an 1890s sawmill. The brickwork, exposed metal panels and textured elements resembling gravel on the exterior will make it “resemble some of the old industrial shapes” seen throughout the East End, said Jeff Clarke, partner at Michael Hsu Office.

Clarke said it was essential to keep The Mill in line with the scale of the rest of the neighborhood by breaking buildings down and keeping them mid-rise. And like and MKT, there will be pops of color and lush green spaces in an outdoor plaza inviting the public to enjoy the project.

Growth of high-end apartments

Apartments at The Mill infuse more upscale units into a neighborhood where the multi-family market is dominated by a mix of mid-priced and low-priced, often older, rental units. About 94% of the apartments in the East End and surrounding neighborhoods southeast of Interest 45 are older developments with units renting at prices below the Houston-area average asking rate (rents in these East End projects range from about $733 to $953 per month on average, compared to average metro area rents of about $1,248), according to Transwestern. This means less than 6% of apartments in the area are considered Class A, which are typically newer luxury apartments where renters pay a premium for high-end designs, finishes and amenities..

But as the neighborhood gentrifies, upscale apartments in the East End are beginning to fill up, attracting more young professionals and affluent residents to the historically working-class neighborhood. About 87% of newer luxury apartments in the East End are occupied with average rents around $1,351, according to Transwestern.

Across from The Mill site, Chicago developer Marquette has opened a new 300-unit upscale apartment project called Forth at Navigation

Across from The Mill site, Chicago developer Marquette has opened a new 300-unit upscale apartment project called Forth at Navigation

Marquette / Marquette

As the East End changes, tensions have grown over whether there will be enough middle-income housing left to keep current residents there. But Veronica Chapa Gorzynski, East End District Chairperson, said she appreciated some of the apartment developers, including Triten, taking the time to meet with the district to discuss how to maintain the history and the site culture. “We see every new housing unit in the East End is an opportunity,” she added.

At Forth at Navigation, a luxury apartment community that opened last year across from The Mill site, the project’s 300 units are 94% occupied with rents between $1,700 and $3,700, according to the promoter, Marquette, based in Chicago. When Marquette first acquired land for the site, there weren’t many newer luxury apartments in the area, so the developer was unsure how quickly the project would move forward. praised,” said Darren Sloniger, president of Marquette.

“I thought it would take a few years to fully lease it, but we leased it and stabilized it in nine months,” Sloniger said. “I never imagined this would happen.”

He attributes the quick rental to the project’s Chicago-style steel and concrete architecture, but also because it met a demand for high-end apartments in the booming neighborhood. In 2021, Marquette also purchased a nearby former 244-unit apartment project, East End Lofts, which the company is in the process of renovating. Sloniger thinks more residents will seek the neighborhood’s proximity to downtown.

A disco/music library planned in the apartments of The Mill.

A disco/music library planned in the apartments of The Mill.

Michael Hsu Architecture Office / Michael Hsu Architecture Office

“We’re betting on the neighborhood,” Sloniger said. “We think it’s a very good place.”

Projects like Marquette’s, Triten’s and Midway’s East River, a 150-acre mixed-use project under construction north of Buffalo Bayou, are just part of broader changes underway in the East End as developers move are taking over former industrial sites to convert them into residential lofts, retail stores, cafes, restaurants, small offices and coworking.

“What we strive to do on most of these mixed-use projects is create a sense of cohesion around multiple walkable projects, with the sum of the parts being greater than the individual projects,” Arnoldy said of Triten Real Estate. “We think it will add such history and character to a part of Houston.”



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