Land broker: ‘We’re seeing a ton of activity’ from this kind of buyer
Throughout 2018, Houston land sales have been on a hot streak and Dosch Marshall Real Estate has seen no shortage of deals. The Houston-based land brokerage has been involved in several high-profile deals this year. In February, Dosch Marshall represented The Sierra Vista Partnership in its acquisition of 500 acres in south Houston, which the partnership will use to double the size of its master-planned community.
Also in February, the brokerage represented Houston-based McCord Development in the sale of its 81,505-square foot office building near the River Oaks area, which will likely be redeveloped.
David Marshall, principal and co-founder of Dosch Marshall, spoke with the Houston Business Journal about land investment activity in 2018 and what one of the firm’s clients – San Antonio-based H-E-B Grocery Co. – is planning in the Upper Kirby area.
What’s a trend that’s driven much of your activity in 2018? We’re definitely seeing a lot of activity from apartment developers, and we’re seeing a lot of activity out in the Katy area and in The Woodlands. Across the board, we’re seeing a ton of activity from them. … In a short period of time, we’ve seen land prices pick up – not only out in the suburbs, but also in the inner Loop area – and we’re seeing more density being developed on sites. Instead of building 22 or 24 units per acre, which is typical, we’re seeing developers push that into the high 20s range.
What kind of commercial developers have the biggest appetite for land right now? There’s some big commercial developments going on, and a lot of it is grocery-anchored. H-E-B is a very active player in the market right now. Kroger has slowed down – they haven’t been nearly as active in Houston in the last few years. We sold (H-E-B) a piece of land along Kirby Drive. They’re going to put a store in there eventually. They haven’t told us this, but I would imagine there would be some sort of mixed-use component to that. They’ve been looking in the infill market a lot more than they historically have.
Do you have a timeline on when H-E-B would break ground on its Kirby Drive store? We sold Hanover their tract just on the other side of the street (at 2930 Kirby Drive), and they’re developing that site. … I haven’t heard of the timeline for H-E-B breaking ground on their store.
One of the hottest commercial sectors right now is industrial. Has Dosch-Marshall been working on a lot of industrial deals this year? The industrial sector is strong right now, and we had a meeting with an industrial developer last week, and his comment was about how hard it is to find land at this point. But, there’s definitely a demand for it, and a need for it. It’s just a matter for justifying industrial on a land site. There’s definitely a lot of activity in the industrial side. We’re also seeing it start to push further out – in the past, development has pushed out to Highway 6, but now, it’s even pushing out to the Grand Parkway.
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
Houston Business Journal