Victoria to welcome more than 750 apartments

Jessica  Rodrigo By Jessica Rodrigo

April 16, 2014 at 11 p.m.
Updated April 16, 2014 at 11:17 p.m.

The oil and gas industry's grip on Victoria housing will loosen as more multifamily housing enters the market.

Three companies are projected to start construction on more than 200 units each in coming months.

"There is a critical shortage of housing for the Eagle Ford," said Dave Meaden, Central Texas managing director of Ascension Commercial Real Estate.

As a result of the growth and anticipated expansion of the industry in Victoria and South Texas, the Ascension Commercial group has been looking to build a 240-unit complex for about a year.

Once the plans are approved by the city development services, the group will begin construction on Victoria Apartments at 8311 Zac Lentz Parkway off Mallette Drive.

By the end of the year, John Stockbauer Drive will see three new apartment complexes completed or being constructed.

F.M. Forrest Inc. has started grooming the site for its 264-unit Oak Forest apartment complex, 5312 John Stockbauer Drive, said Fred Morgan, managing partner of F.M. Forrest Inc.

"We're always looking for great markets to move into," he said. "Victoria has a need for apartments right now."

Morgan said the complex will add additional units after the initial construction to bring the total available units in Oak Forest to about 425 when both phases are complete.

The Duke Apartments, owned by the Giddings Group, is waiting for approval from the city to begin construction on a 252-unit complex behind Home Depot and Victoria Mall. It is hosting a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday afternoon to celebrate the new project.

Peter Caye III, managing partner of the Giddings Group, said the area's growth in the oil and gas industry spurred its interest to expand its multifamily expertise to South Texas.

"Caterpillar is huge, and that isn't going any where," Caye said. "There's still going to be a lot of jobs in the area."

The Duke Apartments will be within a short drive of the Caterpillar plant, he said. Because the area's industry played such an integral role in bringing the apartments to the market, he said it was important to build where the development is growing.

Meaden and Morgan agreed that recent economic development also attracted them to Victoria.

"We are counting on additional job growth in 2014 to fill those units," said Meaden. "We are very optimistic of future growth along the Gulf."

The three proposed projects are described by the builders as high-end apartments. Each is built to include several amenities, including pools, granite countertops as well as open-air and covered parking and detached garages.

Prices will be set dependent on what the rental market dictates, Meaden said.

For Oak Forest, which will include one- and two-bedroom units, the prices are estimated to range between $900 to $1,300, Morgan said.

"We emphasize landscaping, lighting and water features throughout the property and a dog park for our residents," he said of the property. "It'll fit nicely in the Victoria community."

The apartments, Morgan said, will meet the need of those who are looking to pay a little bit more. Each unit will have top-of-the-line appliances and cabinets and crown molding.

"It's a lot for us to have and go into construction at one time," said Jared Mayfield, director of the city's development services.

There will be more than 1,200 units under construction or about to be under construction this year, he said. The Reserve, The Colony and Latigo Crossing are still under construction and are nearing completion.

With all the incoming housing, Mayfield speculates that the next natural step in maintaining the growth in Victoria is an increase in single-family homes.

"It's hard to say, but if they (apartments) are all occupied quickly and rapidly, you could expect to see a lot more come in," he said.



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