Private terrace-top pools under construction in luxe Houston condo tower

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When Randall Davis saw private terrace-top pools advertised in a Miami condominium tower, the longtime Houston developer knew he wanted to build them into his latest luxury condo tower in the Bayou City.

The private terrace-top pools— under construction in Arabella near the River Oaks District — will allow condo owners to swim more than 27 stories in the sky. The north-south-facing building, which sits on a corner lot, allows for unobstructed views of downtown Houston and the Galleria area.

“I’ve never seen (a terrace-top pool) before, but it was something I wanted to do,” Davis said as he gave a recent tour of his project. “It’s going to be pretty neat to be in your pool looking at the whole city. The views from up here are just stupid.”

Arabella, a 33-story, 100-unit condo tower going up on the site of the former Westcreek apartment complex at 4521 San Felipe St., will boast 14 penthouse condos, 10 of which will feature private terrace-top pools. The 5,000-square-foot penthouses feature 12-foot by 25-foot pools that were specially engineered by SCA. Despite costing between $150,000 and $175,000 a piece, these terrace-top pools have helped sell units within the building, Davis said.

Ten out of the 14 penthouse condos within Arabella have been sold already. Of the four remaining penthouses, just two will have terrace-top pools. The entire project is about 70 percent pre-sold.

Arabella offers 75 different floor plans averaging 2,800 square feet and priced an average of $600 per square feet. The units feature Eggersmann cabinets, Gaggennau appliances and a range of customizable options for wood floors, stone finishes and even glass cabinets. About 65 percent of the units will have direct elevator access.

Arabella, designed by Powers Brown Architecture and inspired by some of Frank Gehry’s modern work in New York City, has an oval-shaped facade with undulating sides that added about $4 million to the building’s overall cost. Construction crews from GT Leach are halfway finished framing the building with $350,000 worth of fritted glass that will look like white clouds in the sky, Davis said. Arabella will also have a thin blue LED light that runs along the edge of the tower.

“I wanted to make an architectural statement,” Davis said. “I want different. I want iconic. I want distinctive.”

Building amenities include an outdoor resort-style pool, an indoor lap pool, dog park and dog wash, zen garden with sculptures, an outdoor deck with a fire pit, a fitness center, lounge, wine room with lockers, a massage room, sauna and steam room. There will be 24-hour concierge service and valet parking.

Davis attributes Arabella’s unique architecture for attracting wealthy empty-nesters downsizing from neighborhoods like River Oaks, Tanglewood, Memorial, Sugar Land, The Woodlands and even foreign countries like Mexico. Architecture and marketing — or “marketecture” — sells units, Davis said.

“People want to be proud of where they live,” Davis said. “They don’t want to live in a beige, rectangular box.”

Arabella is on track to deliver its first units in October 2018, Davis said. Randall Davis Co. has partnered with local entrepreneur Roberto Contreras of DC Partners on the Class A project, about 7 percent of which is funded by EB-5, a federal program that allows foreigners to invest at least $1 million into a real estate project in exchange for a Green Card.

In addition to Arabella, Davis and Contreras are working together on Marlowe, a 20- story, 95-unit condominium tower in downtown Houston. Marlowe, which offers an average 1,250-square-foot units priced an average of $480 per square feet, is about 70 percent pre-sold.

Paul Takahashi
Houston Business Journal

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