The need for housing in the Brazosport area hasn’t been met, but progress is being made, officials say.
“The way we figure it, about this time last year we were short anywhere from 1,500 to 2,000 units of people needing housing and not being able to find in the area that was needed, so hopefully we’re closing that gap,” said Property Manger Linda Lopez of Plantation Park, a Lake Jackson apartment complex that began taking applications last week.
Clute City Manager Gary Beverly said the housing shortage is a result of major industries such as Dow Chemical Co., BASF Corp. and Freeport LNG expanding and calling for more employees to move to the area.
“With the expansion of all the industrial projects that have occurred, that has been a primary concern,” Beverly said.
A shortage of homes means industry employees have to commute to work daily, which results in cities losing potential revenue.
“We feel like it is something we want to provide places to live, otherwise they go to Pearland and drive back and forth and we don’t benefit as much if they’re not living in the area,” Beverly said.
Clute, Lake Jackson and Richwood all have major developments in the works to make it possible for people to find homes in Brazosport.
In the last 18 to 24 months, Clute has added more than 130 homes in city limits, with more being built in the Woodshore and College Park subdivisions.
Woodshore subdivision at Dixie Drive and Oyster Creek Drive has sold all 30 homes in its first year of building, with an additional 40 to 50 homes being built this year, said Doug Konopka, DHK Development President and Woodshore developer. The homes are priced from $250,000 to $600,000, with custom homes on the higher end, Konopka said.
In five years, Konopka estimates 275 homes to be built in the span of the project.
College Parks subdivision under Woodland Development LLC will bring in about 100 homes. Woodland Development President Doug Kirk projects the homes to be built by April 2017, with plans to build more in the near future.
“They’re going so quickly, there’s nothing that isn’t already spoken for. We’re looking to expand further as fast as we can,” Kirk said.
Economic development incentives encouraged both developers to build in Clute limits, Beverly said.
“We, as a city, actually use that as way to add value to our city because we knew that was the case,” he said. “The Woodshore Development project as well as College Park with the 380 incentive agreements to promote housing. We add tax value so we could increase our values and not our rates.”
A 309-unit apartment complex, Brazos Crossing, under construction in Richwood also is nearing completion.
“That project is going great,” City Manager Glenn Patton said. “Hopefully within 30 to 45 days it will be ready for occupancy in some of the units.”
Unlike other housing developments, the apartment complex will be occupied solely by Freeport LNG contractors, Patton said. Development company 210 Developers is working on the project, as well as another complex of 210 units on Creekwood Drive and Highway 288-B.
Patton says the increase in apartments will benefit Richwood in a number of ways.
“It’s going to help the city of Richwood by adding 1,000 more people, and it’s never going to hurt when trying to get retail establishments to come into the city — my hope is to be a win-win for everybody,” Patton said.
In Lake Jackson, BHW Capital Partners is looking to wrap up Plantation Park construction in September. The 238-unit apartment complex managed by Capstone started accepting applications Friday.
One building will be ready for move-ins next week, and two more buildings will be ready in early May, said BHW Managing Developer Martin Bronstein.
Plantation Park is pre-leasing for all apartments with the understanding construction is still underway and move-in dates can change, Lopez said.
Bronstein said he worked with city officials and the industry leaders to find the best fit for the community.
“We had opportunities to talk to some businesses about long-term units for their employees coming down, but we just wanted to be a market project to where people that are more likely going to stay in the community. Although we’re more than happy to rent to people working on the construction jobs, I’m sure there will be a lot of them living here,” Bronstein said.
Since Plantation Park began accepting applications last week, Lopez says she’s seen a range of interested renters.
“It’s a little bit of everything — we’ve gotten everything from teachers to Zachry employees to police officers. It’s a great variety of applicants,” Lopez said.