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Moran Ranch sells land to builders as H-E-B project kicks off

Houston Chronicle | September 10, 2021
By Katherine Feser

The development of Moran Ranch, a 500-acre former family ranch property in the Willis and Conroe area, is taking shape with new residential and retail projects coming soon.

Two years after acquiring the land from the heirs of oil and gas magnate W.T. Moran, Houston-based Satya and Stolz Partners of Alpharetta, Ga. announced the sale of 262 acres to M/I Homes and Lennar Homes for single-family homes.

The land, at the southeast corner of Interstate 45 and FM 1097, is across from The Woodlands Hills, a 2,000-acre residential development of the Howard Hughes Corp. Todd Edmonds with Colliers International represented the buyers in the purchase from MRSS Partners, the venture of Satya and Stoltz Partners.

The project is being developed to serve households in a growing region of Montgomery County, said Sunny Bathija, CEO of Satya.

To provide access to the southern portion of the development, an extension of the frontage road on Interstate 45 is planned by summer of 2023, according to Satya.

Another 100 to 110 acres remains to be sold for commercial development in Moran Ranch. There are a number of possibilities.

“It could be in the form of day cares, movie theaters, hospitals, nursing homes, medical offices, retail, multifamily,” Bathija said.

One piece of that puzzle has begun already.

Houston-based Fidelis Realty Partners broke ground on its first Moran Ranch project. The company owns 69.7 acres in the development. It started construction on the Market at Willis Shopping Center, an H-E-B-anchored center. The first phase, slated to open in 2022, is expected to bring more than 200,000 square feet of retail, restaurants and services.

“With the closest retail shopping center over five miles away, this property will provide much needed restaurants and shopping options to the immediate area,” Fidelis Co-President and Chief Leasing & Development Officer Lynn Davis said in an announcement.

The company owns 69.7 acres in the development, and construction of phase two, which will include stores, services, restaurants and a 250-unit apartment complex, is expected to begin in the third quarter of next year.

Fidelis Residential, a division started in late 2019, will be developing the multifamily complex, according to the company. Fidelis is nearing completion on its first project, Fidelis|Cypresswood, and expects to open Fidelis|Grand Central, within its 336 Marketplace in Conroe, in May 2022.

Future apartment developments include Westlake Marketplace near Humble, another in Cypress and the third at Rayzor Ranch Town Center in Denton, according to the company.

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Real estate transactions: Fidelis to launch project in Willis

Houston Chronicle | March 25, 2021
By Katherine Feser

Market at Willis Associates, an affiliate of Fidelis Realty Partners, purchased 31.6 acres at the southeast corner of Interstate 45 and FM 1097 in Willis. The land, part of the 500-acre Moran Ranch development in Montgomery County, was purchased from MRSS Partners, a partnership of Houston-based Satya and Stolz Partners of Alpharetta, Ga. Fidelis now owns two adjacent tracts totaling 69.7 acres and is planning a shopping center and possible future mixed-use development.

Satya and Stolz acquired the Moran Ranch land in July 2019 for a mixed-use development planned for retail, multifamily, office and a potential medical campus. The property, near The Woodlands Hills community, was purchased from the heirs of oil and gas magnate W.T. Moran.

West of Houston, Satya sold 1.2 acres at Mason Road and Fry Road in Cinco Ranch to Xuyen Trang. The property is the final parcel Satya owned in Cinco Ranch since acquiring 8 acres in 2008. Joshua Jacobs of Blue Ox Group represented the seller. Lily Loh of LV Realty represented the buyer.

Miami-based 3650 REIT invested $42.5 million of junior interests in a first-mortgage loan secured by Brookfield Property Partners’ recently renovated One and Three Allen Center in downtown Houston. The loan is secured by 2 million square feet of mixed-use space, including two office buildings, the complex parking facility and athletic and social club amenities. 3650 REIT’s interest represents about 10 percent of the equity in the loan.

Molto Properties broke ground on the West Gulf Bank Distribution Center, a 115,642-square-foot project for Armstrong Relocation at 9700 West Gulf Bank in Brookhollow West Business Park in northwest Houston. Nick Peterson and John Ferruzzo of Transwestern Real Estate Services represented Molto in the acquisition of the land and subsequent building, which will be owned by Armstrong Relocation. Planned for completion in September, the project will have 97 parking spaces for cars, 24 spaces for trailers, 28 loading docks and two drive-in doors and ramps.

Sunbelt Rentals signed a 10-year lease for its scaffolding division for 24,200 square feet of office/warehouse space on 4.7 acres in Port Commerce Business Park, at 4458 Genoa Red Bluff Road. Carolyn Fincher and LeDon Wissner with Smith Raines Co. represented the landlord, Jaws Realty, and tenant.

D’Agostino Cos. broke ground on The Reserve at Baybrook, a 291-unit apartment complex at 19302 Glenwest Drive in Friendswood. Chris Bergmann Jr. of JLL represented D’Agostino in the land acquisition. The apartments will have floor plans of up to three bedrooms, 10-foot ceilings, a resort-style pool and golf simulator. Opening is planned for early summer 2022.

Miami-based-Elandis, in a joint venture between its affiliate Libra Group and London-based M&G Investments, acquired Waters at Westchase, a 260-unit apartment complex at 11490 Harwin Drive in Westchase. The seller was Nizinski Family Waters. With the acquisition, Elandis owns more than 1,000 units in Houston.

Chicago-based Dayton Street Partners selected NAI Partners as the leasing agent for its 90-acre truck terminal at 5800 Mesa Drive in northeast Houston. John Simons, Chris Haro and Jack Gilbert are handling the assignment for DSP, which acquired the terminal in January as its first property in Texas. The 500,000-square-foot terminal has 333 doors and a 33-bay maintenance facility and is undergoing a multi-million-dollar renovation.

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Moran ranch north of Houston purchased for residential community

Houston Chronicle | October 15, 2019
By Nancy Sarnoff

stolz moran ranch
Photo: Courtesy Of Satya And Stolz

The Moran family ranch is just south of FM 1097 and east of Interstate 45. It is being redeveloped into a residential community.

A pair of developers have closed on their acquisition of the Moran family ranch, a 500-acre tract in Montgomery County where the new owners are planning a residential community of more than 850 homes and multiple commercial sites.

Houston-based Satya Inc. and Stolz Partners of Alpharetta, Ga., purchased the property from the heirs of oil and gas magnate W.T. Moran. The purchase price was not disclosed.

The land is south of FM 1097 and east of Interstate 45. It is across I-45 from The Woodlands Hills, the newest development from Dallas-based Howard Hughes Corp.

The property is split between the extraterritorial jurisdictions of the cities of Conroe and Willis. The cities will eventually annex the community, the new owners said.

“This project is going to bring huge tax bases and economic development to both of those cities,” Sunny Bathija, Satya’s chief executive, said.

The new owners have sold 36 acres to retail developer Fidelis Realty Partners for what is expected to be a grocery-anchored shopping center. Fidelis has an option to buy an additional 31 acres.

Bathija said a national homebuilder, whose name he declined to disclose, is under contract to buy 240 acres slated for housing. The homes are expected to be built on a range of lot sizes with prices from around $250,000. Construction could begin in about two years.

The property is in an Opportunity Zone, which can provide tax benefits to investors who own land in the area for a set amount of time.

Satya and Stolz have created two in-city municipal utility districts to bring utilities to the community. The portion of the land in the city of Willis is also within a TIRZ, or Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone.

In all, the developers expect to spend as much as $40 million to develop the site’s infrastructure, including a feeder road along Interstate 45.

The new owners, who have had the property under contract for several months, intend to call the community Moran Ranch.

“It’s such a historic farm,” Bathija said. “Why try to create a new brand?”

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Mixed-use development with up to 800 homes planned near The Woodlands

Houston Business Journal | October 15, 2019
By Jeff Jeffrey

stolz moran ranch
An aerial view of Moran Ranch, which was recently purchased Houston-based Satya Inc. and Stolz Partners of Alpharetta, Georgia. The two firms plan to turn the property into a 500-acre mixed-use development on the border of Willis and Conroe. PHOTO COURTESY OF STAY INC. AND STOLZ PARTNERS

Houston-based Satya Inc. and Stolz Partners of Alpharetta, Georgia, teamed up to purchase the tract in Montgomery County, which was formerly the site of Moran Ranch. The property is located between Interstate 45 and State Highway 75 on the border of Willis and Conroe. On the other side of I-45 is The Woodlands Hills, a 2,055-acre master planned community being developed by Dallas-based Howard Hughes Corp. (NYSE: HHC).

The partnership between the developers, dubbed MRSS Partners Ltd., paid an undisclosed price to buy the property from 27 heirs of W.T. Moran, a local oil and gas magnate who used the land for social gatherings and hunting parties. The deal closed last month after about a year and a half of negotiations, said Satya CEO Sunny Bathija.

“It was a complex process to reach consensus among Mr. Moran’s 27 heirs, who all had an undivided share in the property,” Bathija said. The Moran Ranch property is divided between the extraterritorial jurisdictions of Willis and Conroe, both of which have agreed to annex the community, Bathija said.

“Both cities have been very helpful and cooperative,” Bathija said. “They are excited by the prospect of greatly expanding their tax base in the area.”

While he wouldn’t disclose how much the partnership paid for the property, Bathija said plans for the new development call for an initial investment of about $40 million to build out the local infrastructure, including a 1.2-mile frontage road along I-45. Bathija said he and his partner, Will Stolz, founder of Stolz Partners, are in negotiations to sell 230 acres of the parcel to a national home developer, which plans to build about 800 single-family homes in the area.

The remaining portion of the property has already been zoned to allow for about 180 acres of commercial development along I-45, 12 of which are designated for a multifamily development.

Stolz said the partnership has already sold a 36-acre parcel to Houston-based Fidelis Realty Partners, which plans to build a grocery store-anchored retail project at the corner of I-45 and West Montgomery Street. Fidelis also has an option on an additional 30-acre parcel owned by the partnership, Stolz said.

“The retail component by Fidelis is really the catalyst that’s going to help the rest of the project really take off,” Stolz said.

The plan is to allow the Fidelis project to become established while the infrastructure work on the rest of the property is completed over the next few years, Stolz said.

“That will help drive demand for people looking to live in our community, as well as The Woodlands Hills community,” he said.

Bathija added: “This is really the only major commercial development in the area, which is kind of the missing piece. As we always say, commercial follows residential.”

The partnership is working with land planners from Katy-based Meta Planning & Design, as well as engineers from Montgomery-based L Squared Engineering and traffic engineers from Houston’s BGE. The deal was financed by Laredo, Texas-based IBC Bank.

The new community will retain the Moran Ranch name, which Stolz said will build on the property’s legacy. “This is a property with a neat history that is well known in the area. We thought it was a good idea to keep the name because of its connection to the community,” Stolz said. The Moran Ranch development is just the latest investment Satya Inc. and Stolz Partners have teamed up on.

Stolz said the two firms came together to invest in The Sophie at Bayou Bend and Giorgetti Houston, two high-end luxury condominium projects in Houston. Those projects are scheduled to be delivered next year and are being marketed by the local firm formerly known as Sudhoff Cos., which recently entered into a joint venture with New York real estate brokerage firm Douglas Elliman.

Stolz said the average condo price in The Sophie and Giorgetti will be around $2 million.

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Stolz Partners tops out condo mid-rises near Memorial Park, Upper Kirby

My San Antonio | December 11, 2018
By Katherine Feser

Residential developer Stolz Partners has been busy putting up trees that would look right at home in a decked-out holiday living room. Instead, the trees now decorate the tops of two separate condo projects that reached their final construction heights in December.

stolz tops out condo

Stolz Partners on Monday hoisted a 10-foot pine tree to the roof of The Sophie at Bayou Bend, a seven-story development that will bring 39 condo units to 6017 Memorial Drive next year. The project, a few blocks east of Memorial Park overlooking Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens, is 60 percent presold.

Earlier this month in the Upper Kirby District, the developer celebrated the topping out of Giorgetti Houston near Kirby and Alabama. Both of the projects are set to open in winter 2019.

Designed by Mirador Group and marketed by Sudhoff Cos., both midrises will offer private loggias with outdoor kitchens, an optional outdoor porch potty for pets, and private garages. Private terraces average more than 400 square-feet.

Condos in The Sophie range from 2,800 to 5,200 square feet and will have 10-foot ceilings. Prices start at $1.6 million.

"The design inspiration for the project began by looking at art, architecture and fashion icons throughout history that have come to represent a 'classic contemporary' style that is timeless," Mirador Group principal Jerry Hooker said in an announcement. "Icons like the Chanel little black dress and classic New York apartment houses of Rosario Candela and Robert Stern gave way to the inspiration behind the architecture, interiors and landscape architecture. Even the name 'The Sophie' stems from the word 'sophistication.' "

Amenities will include a resistance pool; a fitness center with virtual yoga studio; a private lounge with a coffee bar; private garages; a dog park; and 24/7 concierge and porter services.

"The Sophie's presale success speaks to market preferences," Sudhoff Cos. CEO Jacob Sudhoff said. "Graciously sized residences with expansive outdoor terraces, pet-friendly amenities, private garages within the garage, bring a whole new meaning for opting for a home in the sky."

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Stolz Partners, LLC
12645 Birmingham Highway
Alpharetta, Georgia 30004
Stolz Partners, LLC
12645 Birmingham Highway
Alpharetta, Georgia 30004

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