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lockmat

EpiCentre Houston

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Is this for Houston, TX or Houston Street in NYC?

It's copyrighted 2008...which could spell out d-e-a-d.

ECH%20placeholder%20page%20eco-urban.jpg

http://epicentrehouston.com/

Vantage Plus, the development company has offices in the heart of Miami: map

Also, I found the company who came up with their logo: link

Lastly, this google search shows that it looks like they might be trying to get funding for this. See the second link and the preview description.

The second to last link is a project in North Carolina that looks nothing like EpiCenre Houston. I don't think they're related at all.

Edited by lockmat

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I'm getting pretty tired of American projects using the British spelling of centre (and the only one that comes to mind is Camden City Centre).

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The contact listed is a real estate agent in Florida who works for a company that pre-sells condos and townhomes, from a little googling. Might just be his fantasy idea that won't get funding.

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I'm getting pretty tired of American projects using the British spelling of centre (and the only one that comes to mind is Camden City Centre).

Don't forget CityCentre in west Houston and that never-build 60+ City Centre Tower that was planned for downtown. ;)

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I tried landline texting the phone number and it came back saying it could not be delivered. Not sure if that means it doesn't accept them or the phone number is no loger connected.

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I'm getting pretty tired of American projects using the British spelling of centre (and the only one that comes to mind is Camden City Centre).

It's not exclusively British, it is worldwide. CBD (central business district) or City centre (CC) are more common terms than Downtown.

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Not that I think this will ever get built, but I'm left wondering why? What is the purpose of this thing? Is it supposed to be an Olympic village?

I snipped a few renderings from Urbanica's site - there are several more not included below.

Capture7.pngCapture1.pngCapture4.pngCapture3.png

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Holy cow! Houston has never seen see architecture like that before, oh well, it probably wont get built though, lol.

Edited by mfastx

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Here are some more renderings

gallery_723_64_24658.jpg

gallery_723_64_54786.jpg

gallery_723_64_20483.jpg

gallery_723_64_19487.jpg

gallery_723_64_426.jpg

Notice the sales office that, according to their website, was supposed to be there in 2008:

gallery_723_64_16240.jpg

gallery_723_64_72668.jpg

gallery_723_64_3169.jpg

gallery_723_64_49651.jpg

gallery_723_64_16328.jpg

Edited by lockmat
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Lastly, look at their complete project list. I don't think they have one completed project:

gallery_723_64_29913.jpg

Also, has anyone considered if this is even the guy who just bought the property? I thought the guy who just bought it is from Dallas? I'm pretty sure this guy is from Miami. When I looked months ago when I first found this, he did not even have a website.

EDIT: It looks like they have completed two 50+ story condos in Miami last year. See emporis http://www.emporis.com/application/?nav=company&lng=3&id=162351

Edited by lockmat

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.pdf from 2009 states a 2010 completion of sales center: http://www.urbanicagroup.com/archivo/331/Epicentre_Houston_Sales_Offices.pdf

interesting info from 2009 Clemson Univ. .pdf:

Epicentre Houston/Astroworld Urban Design Proposal, Houston, Texas

Project Type: 104 Acres-Urban Design & Community Proposal.

Execution: Concept Design to be presented at the ICSC

(International Council of Shopping Centers) Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Planners: Arquitectonica International Corp., Miami FL

Client: Vantage Properties/ Angel-McIver Interests, L.P.

http://www.clemson.edu/caah/architecture/facultydocs/moar/moar-cv-20090820.pdf

The company [F&G Consultancy ]is involved in several important transactions such as “Epicentre Houston”, an American Joint Venture in Houston whose purpose is to buy an old Theme park to be converted into both commercial and residential area. The projecvt inolved about $150 M
I in total.

http://www.fg-consultancy.co.uk/attivita_eng.html

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Also, has anyone considered if this is even the guy who just bought the property? I thought the guy who just bought it is from Dallas? I'm pretty sure this guy is from Miami. When I looked months ago when I first found this, he did not even have a website.

New owner is from Ft.Worth, Michael Mallick.

Astroworld in Pieces

Friday, June 11, 2010

Mallick says he would be just fine if nobody knew his group acquired the Astroworld site. But word got out and his phone has been ringing for the past two weeks since the deal was completed. ‘We have a few groups that have come to us that have proposals that want porions of it,’ says Mallick. . . . He’s not sure what will become of the land, but says a decision will probably be made around the end of the year. The group might hold the property for three to five years. Or perhaps sell the entire parcel once the market turns around. Or maybe sell off he defunct theme park in pieces.

http://swamplot.com/...ces/2010-06-11/

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Their website has been updated: http://epicentreus.com/

New PDF File: http://epicentrehous...Public_Info.pdf

The PDF is not encouraging. Essentially, they have a MUD set up that might finance the infrastructure by levying an additional property tax over and above what any adjoining tracts of land have to pay in taxes, and they have no commitment from the City or County (although the possibility exists, as it always does, everywhere) that they might allow some offsetting tax abatement. (Consider that the developer of a $30MM property is already paying $750,000 per year in taxes; what is their incentive to pay $1,000,000? It doesn't make sense. Not unless the land is free...and even then!

Almost as bad, the document looks like copy that their out-of-town consultant put together.

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The PDF is not encouraging. Essentially, they have a MUD set up that might finance the infrastructure by levying an additional property tax over and above what any adjoining tracts of land have to pay in taxes, and they have no commitment from the City or County (although the possibility exists, as it always does, everywhere) that they might allow some offsetting tax abatement. (Consider that the developer of a $30MM property is already paying $750,000 per year in taxes; what is their incentive to pay $1,000,000? It doesn't make sense. Not unless the land is free...and even then! Almost as bad, the document looks like copy that their out-of-town consultant put together.

Isn't it just a different way of financing the infrastructure? Any development has to recover the cost of their infrastructure, whether it is in the price of the developed parcels or in this novel way of paying back bonds with ad valorem taxes. Presumably, EpiCentre would not be able to get as high a price per developed parcel, ceteris paribus, than a developer who self-financed the infrastructure.

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It's not novel. It works like a MUD, only on top of the City taxes. But you're right that the additional ad valorem taxes would have to be priced-in on the value of the land.

Lets say that Skanska wants a three-acre parcel to build an office building. Lets say that the market value without an additional tax (such as most parts of the City of Houston) is going to be $25 per square foot. So that'd be $3.3 million, and normally they'd pay about 2.52% of that per year in property taxes plus 2.52% of the market value of whatever they build. So lets say that they improve the property, increasing its value to $35 million at 2.52% tax rate. They'd pay $882,000 per year. But what happens if the District levies a 0.6% tax on that property (which is reasonable, but still much lower than the only other predominantly commercial MUD that I'm aware of, Harris County MUD 468), over and above another site where the City didn't require a special district? Two things happen. 1) The tax liability would shoot up to $1,092,000, a difference of $210,000, but 2) if you apply a cap rate of 5% to that, its a dead weight of $4.2 million or $32 per square foot. Skanska wouldn't have to deal with that mess if they just redeveloped a portion of the car dealership that transacted at Lakes at 610 Drive (for much, much less per square foot).

Besides. A shop like Skanska is too smart to develop anything on the South Loop. It's a Class B market, and frankly the Medical Center doesn't spur a lot of demand for spec office space; remember the see-through spec office building at Fannin & Knight that took years and a total renovation to finally become the University General Hospital? Low-rise built-to-suit office and medical office is another matter altogether; office-warehouse is another matter altogether; apartments and townhomes are another matter altogether. Sure, land in the top tier submarkets will cost more, but that's where the demand is proven, the infrastructure exists and is City-served, and the taxes are normal.

And this isn't even taking into account what could happen to the tax rates if build-out projections fall behind after a significant amount of the infrastructure has been built. That's an added component of risk that developers don't want.

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It's not novel. It works like a MUD, only on top of the City taxes. But you're right that the additional ad valorem taxes would have to be priced-in on the value of the land.

Lets say that Skanska wants a three-acre parcel to build an office building. Lets say that the market value without an additional tax (such as most parts of the City of Houston) is going to be $25 per square foot. So that'd be $3.3 million, and normally they'd pay about 2.52% of that per year in property taxes plus 2.52% of the market value of whatever they build. So lets say that they improve the property, increasing its value to $35 million at 2.52% tax rate. They'd pay $882,000 per year. But what happens if the District levies a 0.6% tax on that property (which is reasonable, but still much lower than the only other predominantly commercial MUD that I'm aware of, Harris County MUD 468), over and above another site where the City didn't require a special district? Two things happen. 1) The tax liability would shoot up to $1,092,000, a difference of $210,000, but 2) if you apply a cap rate of 5% to that, its a dead weight of $4.2 million or $32 per square foot. Skanska wouldn't have to deal with that mess if they just redeveloped a portion of the car dealership that transacted at Lakes at 610 Drive (for much, much less per square foot).

Yes I understand it is like a MUD, but it is pretty novel for a commercial development inside city limits, as you have implicitly acknowledged.

I don't think all of your assumptions are necessarily good ones, but that is neither here nor there for the purpose of our immediate discussion. The added annual expense for the developer arising out of the additional District tax is exactly why I said that, ceteris paribus, a developer would not pay as much per square foot for land in this development as they would for an identically developed parcel next door where the infrastructure was financed in a traditional manner.

I see no reason that this kind of financing cannot work... Indeed it seems logical that it should result in lower total costs, because of the use of tax-free financing to fund the infrastructure. Whether this particular development, with what appears to be more elaborate, more expensive infrastructure, will work is, of course , a different question.

Edited by Houston19514

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I see no reason that this kind of financing cannot work... Indeed it seems logical that it should result in lower total costs, because of the use of tax-free financing to fund the infrastructure. Whether this particular development, with what appears to be more elaborate, more expensive infrastructure, will work is, of course , a different question.

We're in agreement that its basically a MUD. Of course it could work, however I see limited market support unless their ad valorem tax rate turns out to be extraordinarily low. The land values south of the Loop, even with good frontage, are just...low. They drop off a cliff. I don't know what the new owner's basis in the property is or what their holding costs are, but it just doesn't seem like this can be made to work.

Personally, I think that townhomes are the way to go. Home buyers are a lot less sensitive to (and oblivious of) tax rates than are commercial developers.

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These renderings scream "FRAUDULENT SCHEME" at first glance to me. Out of all of Houston outlandish and far-fetched proposals and grandiose renderings, this one looked custom ordered for born suckers.

 

gallery_723_64_24658.jpg

gallery_723_64_54786.jpg

gallery_723_64_20483.jpg

gallery_723_64_19487.jpg

gallery_723_64_426.jpg

Notice the sales office that, according to their website, was supposed to be there in 2008:

gallery_723_64_16240.jpg

gallery_723_64_72668.jpg

gallery_723_64_3169.jpg

gallery_723_64_49651.jpg

gallery_723_64_16328.jpg

Edited by Reporter
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