Rendering of Residences at Hardy Yards, a proposed luxury apartment project on the former rail-yard site in Houston’s Near Northside neighborhood. Houston-based Steinberg Design Collaborative is the architect.

After Hurricane Ike ravaged Houston in 2008, the Bayou City received an unprecedented $265 million in federal disaster relief funds to rebuild.

The city of Houston decided to allocate part of that money toward new apartment projects that can spur redevelopment in key neighborhoods devastated by the hurricane.

The Hardy Yards site — a 45-acre prime piece of property just north of downtown Houston — had been vacant for more than a decade.

Enter Lee Zieben, a Houston native and second-generation apartment developer. The 39-year-old developer is proposing a bold idea to transform the sleepy railyard into a bustling mixed-use development. Zieben shared his plans for the first phase of development — a luxury apartment project — exclusively with the Houston Business Journal.

Lee Zieben

Lee Zieben

“I like a challenge. I want to develop something that has a transformative and positive effect on an area,” Zieben said. “This project will be the catalyst that spurs redevelopment of the Near Northside.”

Residences at Hardy Yards will be one of the first truly mixed-income apartment projects in the Bayou City, which was made possible by a $14.5 million investment from the city of Houston through the disaster relief fund.

About half of the luxury apartment complex — 171 units — will offer market-rate rents as high as $1.90 per square foot. The remaining 179 units will be workforce housing, targeting renters with household incomes ranging between $35,000 and $45,000.

Zieben said the project will attract professionals working downtown as well as teachers, police officers and firefighters looking for luxury living on a bargain.


Paul TakahashiReporter- Houston Business Journal