CHICAGO, IL - Waterton Associates LLC, a U.S. real estate investor and operator, has entered the Houston market with its acquisition of the Villas at Hermann Park, a 320-unit wrap-style rental community adjacent to Hermann Park and the Texas Medical Center, whose 54 institutions employ approximately 106,000 people, making it the largest collective employer in Houston and the world’s largest medical center.
Located on Almeda Road, just south of Houston’s Midtown neighborhood, the community offers a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom residences across 12 four-story buildings, as well as two parking garages. It is the first property acquired by Waterton in 2015 and expands the firm’s footprint in Texas, where Waterton owns five other apartment communities in Austin and Dallas comprising approximately 1,400 units.
“Fueled by a robust and diversified economy, Houston has led the nation in job recovery since the recession, with employment in the city at an all-time high,” said Matt Masinter, senior vice president of acquisitions at Waterton. “This job growth has coincided with significant population gains – Houston added 138,000 residents between 2012 and 2013, more than any other metropolitan area in the country – creating strong demand for housing, especially in core, infill locations like the area around the Texas Medical Center.”
Individual residences at Villas at Hermann Park feature gourmet kitchens, in-unit laundry, and private patios and balconies. The gated community also offers a number of amenities, including resort-level lap and recreation pools, two outdoor kitchens with grilling stations, and a modern clubhouse with a 24-hour fitness center, full-size kitchen and coffee bar, and a fully equipped business center with two conference rooms.
Waterton plans to make improvements to the community’s common areas and residential units, including kitchen and bathroom upgrades, and the addition of fenced-in backyards for 55 ground-level units – ideal for residents with pets.
“This deal gives us the flexibility to make improvements that not only benefit residents, but allow us to boost value over the long term,” said Masinter. “For us, it’s a classic value-add play and exactly the type of deal we look for, whether it’s in a new market like Houston, or any of the other cities where we own real estate.”
Villas at Hermann Park residents have direct access to nearby public transportation, including a shuttle bus service that transports people throughout the Texas Medical Center and has a stop directly in front of the community’s clubhouse.
“The central location of this community is one of its biggest selling points, offering convenient access to nearby parks, schools and major employment centers like the medical center and downtown Houston, just five miles to the northeast,” said Masinter.
Villas at Hermann Park is less than a mile from the Michael E. DeBakey High School for Health Professions, ranked No. 33 on U.S. News & World Report’s list of the nation’s best high schools, and minutes from several prestigious colleges, including Rice University, Texas Southern University and the University of Houston. More than 50,000 students in Houston are affiliated with the Texas Medical Center, which is currently undergoing a multibillion-dollar expansion.
The community borders Houston’s famed Museum District and is directly across the street from the popular 445-acre Hermann Park, home to a number of cultural attractions, including the Houston Museum of Natural Science, Houston Zoo and Hermann Park Golf Course, the nation’s first desegregated public golf course. Villas at Hermann Park also offers convenient access to Houston’s hike-and-bike trail system, as well as nearby shopping, dining and entertainment destinations, including the Rice Village District, River Oaks Shopping Center, NRG Park, Minute Maid Park and the Toyota Center.