By Laura Gillespie – Reporter, Houston Business Journal
The Platform Group, a Houston-based real estate and investment group, will open its first project, a mixed-use retail and office development, this May.
Steve and Hilary Ybarra, a husband-wife team and principals behind Platform, will develop, lease and manage the 11,500-square-foot space at 2132 Bissonnet, per a press release.
The development will include an all-day café and restaurant, Tropicales, a concept created by David Bueher of Greenway Coffee. The first Houston branch of Austin-based Westlake Dermatology and Platform will occupy other portions of the development. A fourth space at the development has yet to be leased. The unassigned space will cost $40 a square foot, triple net. Westlake and Tropicales are paying more.
The Ybarras said they wanted as much density as possible at the development without feeling unapproachable. Westlake occupies 6,700 square feet, while the unassigned space will be 2,325 square feet.
“We always knew we wanted a café, or a coffee shop tenant of some type, … so we, fairly quickly after getting the property, started talking to David Bueher of Greenway Coffee and really wanted them here as a coffee tenant,” Steve Ybarra told the Houston Business Journal.
The Ybarras represented themselves as the landlord, while Liz Tucker of JLL and Liz Tucker Realty represented Westlake. Michael Hsu of Austin-based Michael Hsu Office of Architecture designed and served as architect for the space, while SWA Group was the landscape architect. Big Red Dog served as civil engineer, and Burton Construction was the contractor.
“Ultimately, we always wanted to do projects like this,” Steve Ybarra said. “When the site became available for sale, it was a good opportunity for a first project.”
Steve Ybarra comes from a restaurant background. His father, Russell Ybarra, owns Jimmy Changas and Gringo’s Mexican Kitchen, while his late grandfather Eugene Ybarra owned El Toro. Family equity helped pay for the development, and Origin Bank gave the Ybarras a construction loan.
“We’re looking to bring innovation and think differently about a space,” Hilary Ybarra said.
The Ybarras also own a 7,200-square-foot property at 3501 Harrisburg, as well as 3509 Harrisburg next door. Once completed in fall 2019, that property will be a bar and events space. In addition, they own a 25,390-square-foot lot at 615 W. Gray.