Houston Business Journal | 06.05.2017
Midways’ latest Class A apartment project in Houston features all the usual luxury amenities: a resort-style pool, a high-end fitness center and an automated package locker system.
But Avenue Grove’s biggest amenity sits across the street: Levy Park. The six-acre urban park, which re-opened earlier this year after a $15 million makeover, features a pavilion, green space, playground, fountains, games and a restaurant.
“There’s a strong appetite for urban green space,” said Jonathan Brinsden, CEO of Midway “When people are choosing an urban residential living option, generally you’re sacrificing space for a better location, convenience and access to amenities. A park is a wonderful balance to the space tradeoff. If you’re an empty nester giving up a large house with a yard, you’re not really giving up anything when you have a park next door.”
Midway is nearing completion on Avenue Grove, which opened in late 2016. The Houston developer is finishing out the top floor of the eight-story, 270-unit apartment building, which sits on a little more than two acres between Richmond Avenue and U.S. 59 in Upper Kirby.
Avenue Grove is part of a larger mixed-use project called Kirby Grove. Plans for the project were hatched about three years ago, when the Upper Kirby Redevelopment Authority invited Midway to help redevelop the city park. The redevelopment authority signed a long-term ground lease with Midway to develop Avenue Grove and One Grove Street, a 240,000-square-foot office building on the periphery of the park. The tax increment financing from the redevelopment authority as well as the ground lease from Midway will pay for the maintenance of Levy Park.
“Development is an important component of bringing people to a park,” Brinsden said. “You have to activate the edges. Think about Discovery Green, where you have development on four sides.”
Avenue Grove — designed by Houston-based Munoz + Albin and Mayfield and Ragni Studio — features six stories of apartments over a two-story parking garage. The “E”-shaped podium-style building features apartment units starting from 620 square feet with oversized terraces as well as 15 two-story brownstones averaging nearly 1,800 square feet on the first floor with direct access to the park. The apartment building is currently 22 percent leased.
Rents start from $1,650 per month for a one-bedroom unit spanning 623 square feet to nearly $4,000 per month for a two-bedroom brownstone spanning 1,135 square feet. Midway is currently offering two months of rent concessions.
The apartment building features a bevy of amenities, including a terrace with a resort-style pool, green space, lounges, outdoor dining and kitchen and a firepit overlooking the park. Inside, the building features a business center and conference room, a mailroom with an automated package locker system, and a high-end fitness center with a separate yoga/spinning room. Sprinkled throughout the building are custom art pieces designed by Mayfield and Ragni Studio.
However, Levy Park next door is the biggest and most unique selling point for Avenue Grove, Brinsden said.
Midway has a long history of incorporating green spaces into its mixed-use projects, starting with CityCentre and in subsequent projects like Century Square and Memorial Green. Levy Park, which Midway helped redesign, is the largest green space the developer has worked on, Brinsden said.
“Parks are the living room of a community,” Brinsden said. “The green space becomes the heart and soul of the project. It’s a community gathering space where social connectivity happens. It’s a really critical component to create community and vitality.”