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EXCLUSIVE: Marquette Cos. Building 2 Multifamily Projects In East End

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Chicago-based Marquette Cos. is moving ahead with two multifamily communities totaling more than 600 units in the East End District, an area primed for transformational commercial development anchored by Midway's 150-acre East River project

"This is going to be a game-changer for the neighborhood," Marquette Cos. President Darren Sloniger said. 

EXCLUSIVE: Marquette Cos. Building 2 Multifamily Projects In East End
A rendering of 2404 Navigation, Houston

2404 Navigation will target millennials who want to live in an urban environment while the East Bayou project will cater to a health and wellness lifestyle, Sloniger said.

The projects are within a qualified opportunity zone. Marquette Cos. has partnered with an undisclosed opportunity zone fund for 2404 Navigation and plans to bring on an OZ fund for the East Bayou project as well.  

2404 Navigation is a nine-story, 300-unit community that will feature convertibles and one-, two- and three-bedroom units averaging 850 SF and 18K SF of retail space for a restaurant and a café. On-site amenities will include a rooftop pool, a fitness center, a yoga studio, a tenant-only coworking space and a sky lounge with views of Downtown Houston.  

The site went under contract in February and will close at the end of construction, Sloniger said. The groundbreaking is expected in mid-August, and build-out will take 15 months.  

Marquette Cos. is bringing in Chicago-based Brininstool + Lynch as the architect to embrace a more urban design with an authentic vibe and use natural materials and finishings, Sloniger said. Houston-based Gin Design Group was tapped as the designer.  

EXCLUSIVE: Marquette Cos. Building 2 Multifamily Projects In East End
Marquette Cos. President Darren Sloniger and his wife

The vision of East Bayou is to be a health and wellness oasis, Sloniger said.

"If we can help facilitate a healthier lifestyle where people live, it presents an opportunity for a better quality of life." 

Overlooking Buffalo Bayou and the adjacent East River project, the nine-story mid-rise will feature 330 units averaging 920 SF, up to three-bedroom floor plans and 5K SF of retail. Construction is expected to start in January with a 15-month build-out. 

On-site amenities will include a health-conscious food court, sand volleyball courts, solar-powered amenities, a green roof, air purification, medication rooms, a fitness center, a yoga studio and an infinity edge pool overlooking the bayou. The developer will work with the Buffalo Bayou Partnership to ensure the property is connected to the trail system. 

The East End District has been slow to take off due to the blighted former KBR site, now the proposed East River project, Sloniger said. The progression of the East River project is a catalyst for commercial development in the corridor. 

Midway East River
Midway East River

Acquired in 2016, Midway has invested considerable resources in advancing the planning of the first 26 acres of the five-phase development, Bisnow previously reported. 

Prior to Midway becoming involved in the property, KBR conducted a thorough cleanup of the property, Midway Executive Vice President David Hightower said. Some pre-development infrastructure work has been done on the 150-acre site to clear buildings that were beyond saving and improve drainage in the area. The project is in the pre-development stage. 

"It is great that Marquette is planning two different multifamily projects addressing the tremendous need for housing and offering more options in a growing market," Hightower said. "We agree, East River is very exciting and it has the potential to be a catalyst for improvement throughout the East End and Fifth Ward." 

The East End District is similar to Fulton Market in Chicago, an older neighborhood that more recently has noted an uptick in capital investment, Sloniger said.

Other infill projects are underway or planned in the corridor and East Downtown.  

Marquette Cos. has experience constructing urban communities including Catalyst Houston, which opened in 2017, and Catalyst Chicago, which opened in 2014.  

"Every time we move into a neighborhood and build a high-quality development it attracts other developments that also want to build a high-quality community," Sloniger said. "It is amazing how a neighborhood can be transformed when developers come together and create a high-quality neighborhood."