Just days after asking the Sealy City Council why his condo project is being delayed, Barry Lynn now sees his EvLyn Court Condominiums project on the fast track.
“I’m hopeful I’m not being too overly optimistic but since we’ve had the meeting, since we’ve appeared before city council, there seems to be an impetus on behalf of the city to move this along at an expedited pace,” the developer said.
What began as a proposed apartment complex off Schmidt Road near Acres Lane is now a scaled-down condominium development that will probably break ground by the end of June or early July.
“It will be, as it is planned now, a series of four quadraplexes each containing two-bedroom, two-bath condominiums,” Lynn said. “They’ll be roughly 900-plus square feet. We’re making it a moderate to higher-end type of development. It will have a recreational area; we’ll have open spaces. The ambition is that it will provide high-quality living opportunities for young professionals. I think that’s the market that we’ll primarily target.”
Each quad will have four units and be two stories in height. The whole project will provide 16 homes on the 1.3-acre lot.
“They’ll be modern, up-to-date, they will have vaulted ceilings on the top units, they’ll all have balconies, moderate to high-end touches and amenities on the interior. It will be affordable living. It is not in any way a low-income development,” Lynn said.
The Missouri City-based developer said he has made many adjustments to the project after listing to neighbors and city officials.
“In the meeting that I had with (assistant city manager) Warren Escovy, we determined that it would be best utilized if we reduced the number of quadraplexes from five to four and added some more parking and create some more green and recreational space to make sure the development met all the compliance criteria by the city,” Lynn said.
He said he anticipated having to make changes after submitting his original proposal.
“I understand the concerns of people. Residential resistance to multi-family housing is a very old phenomenon,” he said. “You do have to make concessions; you do have to work with the community when you make your projects.”
Lynn said he was attracted to Sealy after conducting housing research in the west Houston area.
“The studies that we did show that the development on the west end of Houston have been completed in Katy. Sealy was an area that was being targeted for development,” he said. “If you’re doing development in Harris County, to get a permit could take almost a year. In Sealy we were told it would take roughly three to four weeks, which is still the timeframe that we’re working in since we submitted the initial set of documents.
“So with all of the data, all of the due diligence that we did, knowing that there was a significant lack of housing with companies moving into the town that would create more jobs, we felt it was a good opportunity to provide affordable housing in the community,” he said.
Additionally, “home ownership is down about 5%, so that has a negative effect on tax revenues.”
Lynn reiterated what local government officials have been saying for years – that growth from Houston is coming.
“I mean 10 years ago Katy wasn’t completely built out and now my understanding is Katy’s completely developed, so that’s why Sealy was targeted as a potential growth area,” he said.
In addition to projected growth, Lynn said his condos will help solve an age-old housing problem in Sealy.
“What was explained to us is that every year you have teachers that teach in the Sealy Independent School District but they have nowhere to live in Sealy, so they have to live in Katy and commute. What happens in a lot of instances, as it’s been explained to me, is that they get tired of the commute and they get hired into the katy Independent School District,” he said. “This is an opportunity for people to live where they work.”
“I love the project,” said Robert Worley, executive director of the Sealy Economic Development Council. “It is exactly what Sealy needs at the time – good housing in a good location at an affordable price. Plus, an experienced developer is doing it.”
Lynn said ground hasn’t even been broken yet and he already has six potential buyers for the 16 planned units. He said he is optimistic that the condos can be built by the end of this year or early 2020.
“I want the citizens of Sealy to know that we are grateful to city management and grateful for the opportunity to provide affordable housing in the city of Sealy and we look forward to exploring future opportunities and we look forward to the opportunity of making quality affordable housing available to families as long as it’s needed in the area,” Lynn said.