Top Texas Developer Plans West Coast Comeback
Since the recession, the Morgan Group, once a powerhouse in West Coast multifamily development, has stuck closer to its Houston base, but that's about to change.
President Alan Patton told us last week at ULI’s Spring Meeting in Houston the company is re-establishing its foothold in Orange County. It’s building Pearl La Floresta, a 200-unit community in Brea, six miles from three other projects the developer built in the early 2000s. It’s all part of a master plan by Chevron that’s been in the works for years but is finally launching, including a Whole Foods under construction now. Alan says the area is particularly appealing because there hasn’t been much new supply lately.
Over the next five to 10 years, Morgan will work to rebuild its strong foothold, and Alan tells us it’s looking for more opportunities from San Diego to Los Angeles. Morgan has eight multifamily communities under construction in Houston, Austin, Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Orange County. (Rendered here is Pearl La Floresta.) It's primarily urban mid-rise product—one is a garden suburban project and one is Morgan’s first high-rise.
Morgan has some significant mixed-use construction underway, including a community over a Whole Foods in Houston—rendered here—and Alan says vertical mixing is particularly challenging. The process is very detailed with concerns like where to put the apartments’ sewer pipes (grocers don’t want them over the produce section) or how construction timelines will affect each other (especially challenging since uses are often different construction methods—in Houston, the Whole Foods is concrete and residential is steel).