Jan 3

Behind the deal: Houston’s growth brought this furniture retailer to town

For Nolan Morrison, regional manager with American Furniture Warehouse, expanding the company from its locations in Colorado and Arizona to Houston was a numbers game.

Houston offered a lot of advantages to the Englewood, Colorado-based company, Morrison said. American Furniture Warehouse already had a sizable Houston-area clientele base, who previously had their furniture shipped in from out of state.

“So, to us, we looked at Houston and thought, ‘Here’s a huge market, it offers us the ability to expand what we will call local delivery for the website.’ Also, Houston (has) the high population, the geographic area and quite frankly, the growth,” Morrison said.

Ben Brown, the broker with Houston-based Baker Katz who negotiated for American Furniture Warehouse in its purchase of three Houston-area sites, said that Houston’s rapid-fire population growth brings opportunity for the company.

The company’s strategy, Brown said, was to maximize space throughout the enormous Houston metropolitan statistical area. To do that, the team decided to build three locations: one north, one west and one southeast. The Katy and Webster locations were announced last year, and the Conroe location was announced just this week.

All of the stores are on 20- to 30-acre tracts and will each span 355,000 square feet to 500,000 square feet. For all three stores, Houston-based Burton Construction is the general contractor, and Phoenix-based Butler Design Group is the architect. Each facility will cost around $50 million to build, employ 350 people, and generate an estimated $100 million in sales, Brown told the Houston Business Journal in 2018.

There are no plans to build another location, Brown said, until the stores are open and stable. Other cities in Texas like Dallas and Austin are options, both Brown and Morrison said, but they aren’t on the table yet.

“With how these mega-furniture stores trade, we really kind of capture all of Houston with those three units,” Brown said.

It was important the stores be alongside major interstates, Brown added. The newest, in Conroe, will be built along the west side of Interstate 45 at River Plantation Drive. The Katy store, to debut later this year, is at Interstate 10 and Pin Oak Road. The Webster store, which opened last year, is on I-45, near the NASA Bypass and TopGolf’s Webster location.

Brown credits municipal support for allowing these stores to happen. American Furniture Warehouse secured a 380 Agreement from the city of Webster for up to $7 million in tax rebates over a 16-year term and a 380 Agreement from the city of Katy for up to $6 million in tax rebates over an 18-year term.

In March 2018, American Furniture Warehouse secured a 380 Agreement from Conroe for up to $6 million in tax rebates over 16 years, but more details about the company’s plans for Conroe were not disclosed at the time.

“We’re just really please to have their support,” Brown said of the cities’ 380 Agreements.

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Jan 3

American Furniture Warehouse buys land for Conroe store

American Furniture Warehouse completed the purchase of a 30-acre tract at Interstate 45 and River Plantation Drive in Conroe for its third Houston-area location.

The site will house a 443,375-square-foot store, including 150,000 square feet of showroom space and 293,375 square feet of storage, according to Houston-based Baker Katz, which represented American Furniture Warehouse in the deal. A timeframe for breaking ground has not been set.

“It’s thrilling and rewarding to see a project take shape, starting with a vacant land tract and then envisioning the finished product, while considering the value it will have for both AFW and the surrounding community.” Ben Brown, a broker at Baker Katz, said in an announcement. “AFW’s strategic and aggressive expansion into the Houston market speaks volumes about our growing city and opportunities therein.”

American Furniture Warehouse made its Houston debut in September with a 355,000-square-foot store in Webster. The Colorado-based company, which was founded by Jake Jabs, is building a 500,000-square-foot location in Katy that is slated to open in April.

Ben Brown of Houston-based Baker Katz represented the buyer. Mark Terpstra of Houston-based Caldwell Cos. represented the seller, Gross Land Fund I LP. Baker Katz specializes in retail tenant representation, investment sales and project development and leasing.

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Jan 2

Furniture retailer buys third massive tract for another Houston-area store

American Furniture Warehouse, an Englewood, Colorado-based furniture retailer, has acquired a 30-acre tract in Conroe for its third Houston-area store, according to a press release.

The store, just south of the Grand Central Park master-planned community, will be 443,375 square feet. Roughly 150,000 square feet of that will be showroom, and 293,375 square feet will be merchandise storage. It will be on the west side of Interstate 45 at River Plantation Drive, near Bartholet Home Furnishings.

The land was purchased from Gross Land Fund I LP. Ben Brown, a broker with Baker Katz, represented American Furniture Warehouse, and Mark Terpstra, associate vice president of brokerage services with Caldwell Cos., represented Gross Land Fund. There is no timeline yet on when the store will break ground. 

“It’s thrilling and rewarding to see a project take shape, starting with a vacant land tract and then envisioning the finished product, while considering the value it will have for both AFW and the surrounding community,” said Brown. “AFW’s strategic and aggressive expansion into the Houston market speaks volumes about our growing city and opportunities therein.”

In July 2018, American Furniture Warehouse closed on a 29-acre tract of land in Katy and a 23-acre tract in Webster with plans to build similar showrooms and storage facilities. The 355,000-square-foot Webster store opened in September, and the company plans to open the 500,000-square-foot Katy store in April. The Webster store is located on I-45, near the NASA Bypass and TopGolf’s Webster location, while the Katy location is at Interstate 10 and Pin Oak Road. 

Both of those locations were expected to cost around $50 million to build, employ 350 people and generate an estimated $100 million in sales, the Houston Business Journal reported in July 2018. American Furniture Warehouse also secured a 380 Agreement from the city of Webster for up to $7 million in tax rebates over a 16-year term and a 380 Agreement from the city of Katy for up to $6 million in tax rebates over an 18-year term, Brown said at the time.

In March 2018, American Furniture Warehouse secured a 380 Agreement from Conroe for up to $6 million in tax rebates over 16 years, the Houston Chronicle reported, but more details about that location were not disclosed at the time.

For all three stores, Houston-based Burton Construction is the general contractor, and Phoenix-based Butler Design Group is the architect.

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