Heights Waterworks Project is a 'Blank Canvas'

HOUSTON BUSINESS JOURNAL

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Houston-based Braun Enterprises, the developer that acquired and plans to redevelop the historic three-building Heights waterworks site, is leasing the property with a cautious and specific approach.

The company plans to build an additional 5,000-square-foot building and develop a collection of four freestanding restaurants and a lawn area on the site, which it purchased from Alliance Residential.

"It’s a very important project to us. The Heights is important to us," Braun Enterprises' Zach Wolf told the Houston Business Journal. "You've got to be careful with who you do deals with nowadays. You don't want turnover."

Wolf's working on securing tenants for the historic property, which Braun Enterprises is redeveloping alongside Alliance Residential's new multifamily project. Last December, the Houston City Council approved a deal to sell the waterworks site to Phoenix-based Alliance for $15.2 million. Alliance plans to redevelop the roughly 4-acre site into two mid-rise apartment buildings with garages.

Alliance's managing director Cyrus Bahrami approached Braun Enterprises and sold the company a roughly 2.1-acre site within the property. Braun will develop its site into a restaurant-focused strip.

"It’s almost a mixed-use development," Wolf said.

Braun's site currently contains a 750,000-gallon brick reservoir building from 1928 that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, a 1939 Art Deco pumping station built by the Works Progress Administration and a 1949 pumping station.

For one building, Braun is finalizing terms with a coffee-focused restaurant, Wolf said.

"We have all sorts of historical guidelines," Wolf said. "(We) can’t alter the exterior of the buildings. The buildings are beautiful."

The development's gem, though, will be the old waterworks Reservoir Building, Wolf said. Braun is working with several groups toward revitalizing the building into an event space, a food hall or a wine bar and restaurant.

"This truly is a blank canvas," Wolf said.

No leases have been signed yet, Wolf said.

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