Courtenay Green is investing in Fondren’s Overlay District again.
The owner of Comeback Properties, Green’s first major project was the renovation of the four-plex at 3517 North State Street in the summer of 2017.
Now, Green has taken on the property on the opposite northwest corner, a six-unit townhome development at 3601 North State Street.
We talked with Green about her latest project, what to expect and what’s next for the developer.
I believe we began talking about this project back when we interviewed for your four-plex across the street. There was an old “Spanish-influenced” house at 3601 at one time. Hadn’t the plan been to keep that house and turn it into a couple of rentals?
The plan was always to turn it into something else. The house had been vacant for quite some time and had deteriorated to the point where salvaging it wasn’t an option. At the time when I purchased the house, I’d been looking for my next project and realized this parcel was both zoned for multifamily and large enough to accommodate more than just a house. I was immediately excited about the possibilities; it just took some time to pull all the pieces together to make it happen.
And you came up with a fresh set of Mid Century Modern inspired townhomes! Talk to me about how that design came together.
It was after I spent quite a bit of time studying the shape of the parcel, the zoning regulations, and ways to maximize the space available while providing something unique, architecturally interesting and beneficial to the area. After looking into a number of different scenarios, I settled on six townhouse-style apartments. That seemed to make the most use of the available land while still leaving room for adequate parking and outdoor space. Once I had that part figured out, I brought it to Wier Boerner Allin so they could help me realize the overall vision.
Why did you choose to work with them (and builder, David Turner Companies)?
I chose WBA for a variety of reasons. I admire their work and think they’ve got a very talented team, and I also felt that their ideas for the building aligned with mine. Equally important, they are based in Fondren and care deeply about the continued revitalization in the neighborhood. Their enthusiasm for the project and pride in the Fondren area really helped to cement the deal, because it made it very easy for all of us to stay on the same page.
David Turner Companies came through WBA. After meeting with David, I immediately felt that he had the team and resources to take this on. Ground-up construction is different from a renovation, and building is his area of expertise. While I still care about making design choices and am very hands-on with the whole process, I recognized that I needed someone with this particular skill set to handle the process, keep to the timeline, and make sure everything is done correctly. He’s been great to work with and a valuable asset to this project.
Walk me through a unit: are all of them individually designed or are all six the same? What are the stats of each and features you have planned?
All six are more or less the same, with some minor variations on the end (State Street) unit because of its location and lack of a shared wall on one side. They are all 2-bedroom, 2.5 bathrooms, which I think is a really great setup for either roommates or a family. The downstairs areas will have an open-plan kitchen and living room space, along with a powder room, and a door that opens up to a private outdoor area.
Upstairs are two bedrooms, each with large closets and their own bathrooms. Each unit will have a dishwasher, washer/dryer, and two gated parking spaces, with concrete floors downstairs and hardwood upstairs. The overall vibe is modern, clean and sophisticated, with plenty of light filling each apartment. I’m so excited to bring this type of housing to Fondren!
You continue to invest in Fondren: why?
I continue to invest in Fondren because I believe in the neighborhood and I also believe it has a need for more quality rental units. My own house is in Fondren, I frequent Fondren businesses and have friends and family there, so it’s very personal to me. I recognize the need for continued investment in the area to help it thrive.
On the less personal side, I also recognize that it’s a very popular area for renters, and saw an opportunity to provide more housing stock that not only elevates the neighborhood aesthetically but also gives tenants an experience more closely aligned with what they might find in other larger cities.
What’s next beyond this project?
This is a fairly large undertaking, so I haven’t started thinking beyond this project just yet. We’ll see how this one turns out first!