Good market bringing new construction to East Texas: Disposable income thought to spur upcoming development

Published on Saturday, 8 March 2014 22:59 - Written by Kelly Gooch

When Lori Morrison and her family looked at the recently opened Palomar Apartments, she said “there was just no comparison.”

The 49-year-old said they needed somewhere to stay for an interim period, and ended up choosing Palomar.

“They don’t look like apartments to me. It looks like a … small home,” she said. “We just fell in love with it.”

Local builder/developer Ed Thompson believes a good market and disposable income in Tyler is spurring housing development throughout the city.

Various projects have been constructed in recent years or are planned.

One such development is Forest Meadows North, on North Broadway Avenue, near Lake View Apartment Homes and Pinnacle at North Chase. All three opened in the past four years.

Thompson, with North Chase Development, described Forest Meadows North as “a very unique neighborhood.”

Forest Meadows North is composed of single family detached homes and townhomes, and plans are in the works to begin a second phase, Thompson said.

He said seven homes are available for purchase by low-to-moderate income families thanks to a partnership with the city of Tyler Neighborhood Services.

That public/private partnership helps make affordable housing possible in north Tyler, and gives low-to-moderate income residents a home, possibly one close to work, he said.

Thompson said Forest Meadows North, Lake View and Pinnacle at North Chase filled up extremely fast.

Also planned is Saige Meadows, off U.S. Highway 69, near Interstate 20. It is described on the Pinnacle Housing Group website as a “garden style, mixed income, family oriented community.”

According to its website, the development will have more than 90 units, with one-, two- and three-bedroom townhomes. It is expected to open in December.

Odyssey Residential, of Dallas, has started construction on a $6.5 million renovation to Grand Manor, a 60-year-old apartment complex at 2700 Grand Ave.

Apartment Manager Robin LaGrone said they are renovating the 120 units, as well as adding a clubhouse and pool, computer center and playgrounds.

She expects the project to take nine to 12 months and said the complex will be renamed to Victor Park.

In south Tyler, Palomar Apartments, at 5872 Old Jacksonville Highway, opened in August offering one-, two- and three-bedroom units.

Regional Property Manager Brittany Shepherd has said the complex has open-concept floor plans that are “more modern,” with features, such as kitchen islands and pendant lighting. 

The complex itself includes a pool, fitness center, conference room and yoga room.  

Additionally, a new phase at Cumberland Place Apartments recently was completed, said Wayne Pierce, president of Heritage Properties.

He said the new phase started more than a year ago and includes a new activity building.

He said 108 apartments and an additional pool also were added.

Bob Breedlove, with Brannon Corp., said there also has been talk about a possible apartment complex on Roy Road. However, plans are not concrete, and more information will be gathered, he said.

Thompson attributed the housing development to a good market in Tyler and referenced the disposable income in the city. He said he believes that is part of the reason the city is seeing housing growth, as well as businesses growth.

“They recognize Tyler as a great place to do business,” he said. “There’s a lot of disposable income here, so people can support their products.”

The bottom line, Thompson said, is that the housing development helps individuals who try to bring jobs to Tyler.

“Companies don’t want to move where people aren’t going to be able to stay,” he explained.

“They look at infrastructure, they look at schools, they look at housing, and they look at taxes,” he added.

Tom Mullins, president and chief executive officer of the Tyler Economic Development Council, said he believes development is being spurred by the recovering economy.

“We’re seeing improvements across the board, throughout the U.S. economy,” he said. “Certainly the Tyler and Texas economy are showing that strong growth.”

In the past decade, the Tyler Metropolitan Statistical Area has averaged about 3,500 net new people moving in per year, and he doesn’t expect a decrease going forward, Mullins said.

City of Tyler Planning Director Heather Nick said the city’s comprehensive plan “encourages … multifamily uses on collector and arterial streets with connections to local streets.”

Business Editor Casey Murphy contributed to this report.