Chinese firm will change Houston

Updated: 2016-08-19 23:36

By MAY ZHOU in Houston(China Daily USA)

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Real estate developer gets green light to build multi-use buildings that will alter skyline

Chinese firm will change Houston

The rendering of the master plan of the $500 million mixed-use development by Tianqing RED and DC Partners on Houston’s Allen Parkway. PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Tianqing Real Estate Development LLC (Tianqing RED), a US subsidiary of one of China's largest real estate companies, has acquired a prime location in Houston to build high-rise buildings of mixed use that will change the city's skyline in the next few years.

Tianqing RED recently closed on the purchase of the land on Allen Parkway, west of downtown and across from the newly improved green space Buffalo Bayou. It is the last track of undeveloped land of that scale at such a prime location in the city.

"The land is a rectangle with hard corners, sufficient depth and width for development. It has great views all around. To the north there is the Buffalo Bayou, to the south the Texas Medical Center, to the east downtown Houston, and to the west the financial district Galleria. We are very happy to be able to get our hands on it," said David Du, president of Tianqing RED.

Tianqing RED is a US subsidiary of Tianqing Group Real Estate Company, Ltd ( Tianqing Group), the largest real estate company in China's Gansu province.

A total of $500 million will be invested in the project. The planned first phase includes a luxury hotel of 150-180 rooms and a high-rise condo. Construction is expected to start by the end of 2017 or early 2018. Another high-rise condo, a class-A office building and possibly a luxury senior-living building will be built later.

Upon completion, there will be two condo towers with a total of 180 units along with the hotel, an office building and ground-level retail spaces. The project aims to become a new landmark in Houston.

Tianqing RED, as the major stakeholder, is partnering with Houston developer DC Partners on the project. The master plan will be designed by Gensler, which designed China's tallest building, the Shanghai Tower.

"Working with a local partner enables us to readily gain access to the local contractors, connections, talents and other resources. It also helps to reduce our risk somewhat," said Du.

Du said Tianqing RED had looked around the US for opportunities and eventually picked Houston because of its thriving economy.

"Texas is number one in the US in GPD growth, population growth and job creation. Houston's economy is much diversified. The people here are open and welcoming. In addition, the government policy provides a favorable business environment. To us, Texas is like the California of 1990s or China's Shenzhen," he said.

Du said Texas' welcome was evident when Tianqing Group's chairman of board Han Qing visited here in May this year. He was well received by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and state officials. All expressed support for the project that will stimulate the local economy.

"The consul general of China in Houston, Li Qiangmin, also gave us a lot of help by providing some useful suggestions," added Penny Sizemore, vice-president of Tianqing RED.

EB-5, the popular immigration investment program among Chinese, will be used to raise part of the money for the project.

However, Du said Tianqing RED will not rely heavily on EB-5 for financing. When it gets ready to start construction, parent company Tianqing Group will guarantee and provide the remaining funds for the project, he said.

Houston is the first stop for Tianqing RED in the US but won't be the last, said Du.

“Our chairman Han Qing has the vision of being an international player. In the next three to five years, we plan to do three big projects in the US. Once that is accomplished, Tianqing RED will be capable to regenerate and sustain on its own in the US,” said Du.

Other cities under consideration are all in Texas, including Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio, according to Du.