PHOTO: Aker Imaging

High End, Old World

Because of the stellar location and its strong housing mix, Hines knew to go the luxury route. Working with Houston-based architecture firms Wallace Garcia Wilson and Jackson & Ryan Architects, the firm decided to construct a seven-story, 316,000-square-foot, steel building that could meet the area’s increasing density demand. It presents a classical façade compatible with area buildings through brick and cast stone and rhythmic design, says architect Jeff Ryan.

Power of One

Because of the site’s proximity to offices, entertainment, and parks, Hines made three-quarters of the units one-bedrooms and the rest two-bedrooms. All range from 700 to 2,000 square feet and lease for $1,500 to $4,500 a month. “We knew there would be a lot of single people, some with children, who wanted to rent rather than buy,” says Batchelor. All units were designed with high ceilings, wenge cabinets, and granite counters. Some even have computer desks and wine cabinets.

Hot Amenities

Since Houston has a subtropical climate, the building was constructed in a “U” shape to take advantage of outdoor living in a shielded courtyard complete with a swimming pool, fire pit, fireplace, and gas grills. Ample perks abound indoors, as well, including a business/Internet café, a living area with a fireplace, an entertainment room, a theater, and a seventh-floor “sky” lounge, which includes a catering kitchen for private dining. Parking was provided with room for more than 500 cars.

Unparalleled Site

Houston’s Uptown, one of the country’s largest central business districts, has long held appeal, with its noteworthy shopping, architecture, and parkland. It is here that Hines is completing its WaterWall Place apartment building, on a three-acre site. The vacant land was purchased for $69 a square foot in 2011 as the area’s multifamily market was heating up. “Land costs now have more than tripled,” says Kevin Batchelor, head of the firm’s Southwest Region Multifamily division.

Green on Multiple Levels

The building expects to be certified LEED Silver based on its high walkability and transit scores, proximity to people and dog parks, area-sourced brick, and landscaping. The latter was designed by Robinson & Co. Landscape Architecture, which also helped site the building’s carriage-gate entry on an axis with a waterwall. Wide sidewalks were paved with granite and brick to connect visually with area walkways. New oak trees offer a human-scaled canopy, while low-lying plants anchor the building.