exclusive new details revealed for first micro-condo project in houston

exclusive new details revealed for first micro-condo project in houston

Novel Creative Development LLC has revealed new details for Ivy Lofts, the first “micro-unit” condominium project in Houston.
The Houston developer plans to build the 24-story, 550-unit project on a 1.4-acre city block, bounded by Leeland Avenue, Nagle Street, Pease Avenue and Live Oak Street in East Downtown. The land, which formerly housed a Vietnamese grocery store, was purchased in November 2014 for a little less than $3 million.

Novel Creative Development — founded by a group of doctors, real estate investors and midrise condo developers in New York — was inspired by My Micro NY, the first affordable micro-unit apartment building developed by Michael Bloomberg in Manhattan. They hope to bring the micro-unit concept — units that are less than 500 square feet and geared toward young, single working professionals— to Houston’s up-and-coming EaDo neighborhood.

“It’s a new concept for Houston,” said Wen Pin Tsai, Novel Creative Development’s vice president of business development. “We feel there’s potential for this in Houston.”

Ivy Lofts, designed by Houston-based Powers Brown Architecture, will feature four floor plans: 300- and 450-square-foot lofts as well as 600- and 700-square-foot traditional condo units. There also will be eight larger penthouse-style units, ranging from 820 to 942 square feet. The majority of the units however — about 60 percent — will be less than 500 square feet.

The units will feature luxury finishes, a balcony and transformable walls and furniture, such as a Murphy bed, a coffee table that turns into a desk, a bookshelf that disassembles into chairs or a mechanical dining room table that collapses into the floor.

“This will change the way Houstonians live,” said Brandon Vos, a marketing director for Re/Max Inner Loop and Ivy Lofts. “This is a more efficient way to live. There’s no wasted space.”

Prices start from $119,000 for a 300-square-foot loft. The larger units — 700-square-foot units and above — will start at $375,000.

Ivy Lofts also will offer several building amenities, including a residents lounge, a rooftop courtyard and dog park, glass-walled fitness center and yoga room, and a rooftop pool with a wet bar, in-water seats, sun-tanning ledge, barbecue grills and a view of downtown Houston. The building will feature eight floors of podium parking.

Ivy Lofts will likely appeal to Millennials who want to live close to downtown,but can’t afford to live in expensive townhomes inside the city. Prospective residents include single college students, young working professionals in the Texas Medical Center or downtown, as well as empty nesters looking to downsize from their large suburban homes.

Novel Creative Development has started to redevelop a warehouse on the site into a 10,000-square-foot sales center with four completely furnished units. The $600,000 sales center is expected to open in April.

“This was important since this concept is so new to Houston,” said Jason Franklin, a Re/Max Inner Loop Realtor and sales director for Ivy Lofts. “We didn’t want to leave anything to the imagination. We want people to test this.”

Re/Max Inner Loop, which is marketing and selling the units, expects to sell all 550 units within two months after the sales center opens. Novel Creative Developments plans to break ground on Ivy Lofts in June 2016, with delivery expected by the end of 2018. The project will be financed by a construction loan, private equity and foreign investors through the EB-5 program.

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