Jun 27

Baker Katz buys League City retail center near future destination developments

By Florian Martin – Reporter
Houston Business Journal

Houston-based commercial real estate firm Baker Katz has acquired a shopping center adjacent to League City’s planned 70-acre Riverview mixed-use development.

The firm purchased the 108,000-square-foot Pecan Park Plaza retail center this month from WFP Pecan Park LP, a subsidiary of Houston-based Wingfield Partners, for an undisclosed amount.

The retail center, on the corner of FM 518 and Interstate 45, is anchored by a Jumping World indoor trampoline park. Other tenants include Dollar Tree, Hertz and Kolache Factory.

Jason Baker, principal at Baker Katz, said he and his partner, Kenneth Katz, had been looking at the property and the general area for a while.

“This side — and the retailers down here on this stretch of I-45 — has effectively been in a construction zone for the last more than two years,” Baker said.

That construction is now close to being finished. Meanwhile, right next to the shopping center, work is underway on Riverview, a mixed-use district with a boardwalk, hotel, restaurants and retail.

And just north of that development, in the city of Webster, a developer is building another mixed-use district called Flyway, to be anchored by a Great Wolf Lodge indoor water park resort.

“We felt like the timing was really good to get our arms around this and… be positioned for the future.” Baker said.

Baker Katz plans to replace the parking surface area, which currently has potholes and uneven drainage, and add a new roof.

Occupancy is currently above 80%, and Baker said he’s confident that will increase soon.

The hope is also to replace some existing tenants when their leases expire to “improve the tenant mix” and “lift what I call the offerings to the community that they would love to see here that maybe aren’t down here at this intersection yet,” Baker said.

Baker Katz, founded in 2004, has about 100 retail properties that it has either developed or acquired, Baker said, mostly in Greater Houston.

Like other real estate companies, it has focused more on acquisitions recently.

“It’s increasingly difficult to develop ground-up right now just because of everything between supply chain and inflation and all the material cost increases,” Baker said.

Meanwhile, the retail market is doing well in Greater Houston.

While new construction went down year-over-year in the first quarter of 2022, the vacancy rate decreased to 5.6% and net absorption was 1.1 million square feet, according to Colliers.

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