Duke Apartments project to bring 252 more apartments

Jessica  Rodrigo By Jessica Rodrigo

Jan. 14, 2014 at 11:01 p.m.
Updated Jan. 14, 2014 at 7:15 p.m.

The hunt for the right apartment may soon become easier.

But that increase in apartment units in Victoria might change the balance in the rental market, said Nancy Garner, owner of Woolson Real Estate.

With more than 1,000 units already being built or in the planning stages, renters will be able to broaden their search for a new place to hang their hats.

Garner said the average for apartments in Victoria is skewed because of the different factors that affect the pricing. She might have a two-bedroom apartment listed for $600 a month while another two-bedroom apartment might be $1,200 a month.

"The new ones are more expensive, and the older ones are not as expensive, and location is a driving force," she said.

Garner owns four complexes and manages four other properties in Victoria and said the rental market already has a lot of available units, not counting those not yet built. Today, there is about 5 percent of the rental market available in multifamily housing, and she expects that percentage to increase as more units are added.

One of the newest apartments in the planning process are The Duke Apartments being built by the Giddings Group based out of Augusta, Ga.

The Duke Apartments will be built on nearly 17 acres behind Victoria Mall off Parkstone Drive. The apartments will include 252 units, and, according to its website, the company is known for building multi-family and luxury apartments.

Peter Caye III, managing partner of the Giddings Group, could not be reached Tuesday for comment.

So far, the company has completed surveying and submitted site plans to the city Jan. 6, said Jared Mayfield, director of development services at the city of Victoria.

"There is a two-week review process for the site plan," he said. "And once it goes back to them (Giddings Group), it will go to the architect/engineer, who will make any corrections."

It's a process that can move quickly or slowly, depending on the communication between the contractor and architect, Mayfield said.

Victoria has seen quite a boom in the hotel industry, and he said it seems to be moving to the apartments now.

"We've got several hundred apartments under construction now," Mayfield said. "It's exciting for the area."

Three other apartment complexes in the building process in Victoria include The Reserve, The Colony and Latigo Crossing.

Garner is the managing partner for The Reserve and said that its 96 units are well underway as far as construction is scheduled. It's expected to open in April.

Her biggest concern is the renter's market.

"I'm worried for the health of the market because the balance of pricing and quality," she said. "We don't want to overfill the market."

When Lisa Petrash, owner and president of Summit Rental and Management Company LLC, heard the news about The Duke Apartments bringing more than 250 units to Victoria, she was astounded.

"We don't need anymore apartments," she said.

Petrash had to maintain or lower her rental rates in order to fill her vacancies. Her rentals, which do not include large apartment complexes like Garner's, are 98 percent full.

Petrash said she is worried that there aren't enough people who will fill the new units.

"Unless there is a whole bunch of people moving into Victoria, we're fixing to have a lot of vacancies," Petrash said.

Dale Fowler, president of the Victoria Economic Development Corp., is confident the Eagle Ford Shale is continuing to draw people to the area.

"The expansions in the petrochemical industry is going to continue to bring people in to the area for the next few years," he said, "both permanent jobs as well as construction jobs."

The new available housing, he said, is necessary to support the region's growth potential.

"Adequate housing is an important component when we are trying to attract new industry to the community that would also bring new jobs and new people," Fowler said.



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