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New subdivision eases Port Lavaca housing shortage (w/video)

By Elena Watts
June 22, 2014 at 1:22 a.m.


PORT LAVACA -- Juan Martinez, a land developer from Houston, named a new 48-site residential community The Estates of Jade Bay because he didn't like the name of the nearby bay.

"Matagorda, it sounds like kill the fat lady in Spanish," Martinez said with a thick Colombian accent. "It's not very nice."

The houses, however, should be very nice.

Roxie Stringo, a Re/Max real estate agent who works for the developer and Palm Tree Custom Builders, has sold several land and home packages.

"Housing inventory is extremely low in Calhoun County," Stringo said. "This is good for the county because it is very much needed."

A privacy fence spans the front of the 19.8-acre property on Smith Road, not far from the bay Martinez described as beautiful. He settled on "jade" in the subdivision's name because of the green bay water.

The lots range in size from a quarter-acre to almost a half-acre, and the homes range in size from 1,500 square feet to 2,400 square feet. The average cost for a home and lot is $235,000.

Home buyers can choose from 20 floor plans, and Palm Tree Custom Builders is the exclusive builder.

"We didn't want the look of tract housing, so we offered a variety of styles," Stringo said.

Martinez became familiar with custom builders Charlie Warren and his son, Brad Warren, when they built his home in the Sanctuary in Port O'Connor. Palm Tree Custom Builders has built almost a dozen homes as a preferred builder in the upscale coastal community.

Charlie Warren has almost four decades of experience building dental offices across the country. He owned Med-Tech Construction based in Dallas before he began building custom homes.

"Their homes are well-built and beautiful, and they keep in touch with the homeowners," Stringo said. "They have a lot of repeat clients because they can call two, three, five years later for touch-ups."

Stringo and Warren toured Victoria and Rockport subdivisions while Martinez toured Houston neighborhoods to determine current housing trends.

As a result, the homes available in The Estates of Jade Bay will be constructed of stucco, brick, stone, HardiePlank or some combination of those materials.

A homeowner's association will charge $200 yearly to assure the new community remains presentable over time. Backyard fences will be required, and parking policies for boats, trailers and other vehicles will also be enforced.

The Ruby design is popular because it features four potential bedrooms, a split floor plan, large master suite and oversized garage, Stringo said. The 1,850-square-foot house costs about $225,000 depending on upgrades and downgrades. Other popular designs include the Sandcastle, Whispering Pointe and Seascape designs.

The community is family-oriented, Stringo said. Four of the home designs are named for Martinez, his wife and their two children.

Early bird discounts that decrease each month are available through the end of the year.

"This is also a good time for investors to purchase homes to flip or rent," Stringo said.

The Estates of Jade Bay marks the end of an approximate 15-year dry spell in residential development in Port Lavaca, Stringo said.

The development project was originally launched around 2008 by another developer but failed when he ran into legal difficulties, Martinez said.

"It started and failed, so it's a challenge," he said. "And it meets a community need."

Land development is a side business for Martinez, who is a patent strategist and senior member of the technical staff at Hewlett-Packard in Houston. But he comes by building and development interests naturally.

Martinez's grandfather engineered and built the largest hydroelectric dam in Colombia. His father, a cardiologist by day, developed apartment complexes and shopping centers in Colombia. His brother's company, Arquitectura y Concreto, has constructed infrastructure, retail and residential projects across Colombia.

Martinez has paved the way for area residents to find housing in an area where it is in short supply. The Estates of Jade Bay model home is currently under construction, and Palm Tree Custom Builders plans to break ground on the other homes in July.

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