Local Partnership Nuys North Main Shopping Center

A partnership led by Braun Enterprises, a Houston-based real estate investment firm known for such offbeat acquisitions as the Lucky Burger building in Montrose and the former Harold's in the Heights property on 19th Street, has purchased an older shopping center on North Main, a commercial thoroughfare surrounded by popular and up-and-coming residential areas.

"It used to be kind of the Mason-Dixon Line of the Heights," said Dan Braun, who operates the firm.

Not long ago, the east side of North Main housed a collection of rundown bungalows and Victorians. As the Heights became more popular and real estate prices shot up, investors started fixing up the older properties, attracting young professionals and families to the area around the North Main and Interstate 45 interchange.

The 23,000-square-foot retail center Braun Enterprises purchased is partially occupied. It's at 4721 N. Main, a few doors from the Spanish Flower restaurant. The property will be renovated and filled with new tenants, Braun said. A restaurant and national home goods store are planning to lease space there, he said.

As the market for commercial real estate has gotten more competitive, Braun Enterprises has been using more of an unconventional approach to obtaining properties.

In just the last few months it has made five acquisitions, including properties on West Gray in Montrose and another on Ella near 34th in the Oak Forest and Garden Oaks area.

The company often goes after properties that are not on the market but have owners who may have an interest in selling.

"We called on a lot of stuff on North Main," Braun said. "That's how we've been finding things in this hot market."