Investors Start Construction on $26 Million Student Housing Near the University of Texas

by Katie Sloan

Austin, Texas — Development group is made up of local and international investors who are focused on central Texas.

21 Pearl. Rendering courtesy of GIS Virtual.Austin, Texas — Land Development and Construction, LLC (LD&C), an Austin-based commercial real estate development company, has started construction on a $26 million student housing apartment community near the University of Texas in Austin’s West Campus neighborhood.

Robert Lee, principal of LD&C, has brought together several Chinese American investors to fund this project. LD&C says this is the largest privately funded Asian commercial real estate project to date in Austin.

The construction team includes Stephen Haug, of Skyline Commercial Inc. of Austin as the general contractor and interim financing by Chris Martineau, senior vice president of commercial lending, Mutual of Omaha Bank, Dallas. LD&C will be the project manager. The 21st Street project is scheduled to open August 2013 and will begin pre-leasing in the fall. Lee Properties will lease and manage the property.

“A lot of the other buildings of this size are being held by companies like American Campus,” Lee told the Austin Business Journal. “[21 Pearl] is going to be a well-run building, but we’re going to have a different flavor than one of the large-scale companies.”

Lee is the grandson of Admiral Ma Chi-Chuang, former secretary general of Taiwan. The Lee family has been investing in real estate since the early 1980s when Rita Lee (Lee Ma Chiu Yi) founded Lee Properties, a real estate brokerage and leasing company. “Our 21 Pearl street project is the next step in the evolution of our business,” Lee says. “We started in residential properties, then my brother, Raymond, and I progressed into duplexes and multi-family housing and later planned a suburban community. So, when we had the opportunity to develop high-rise housing in Austin’s West Campus, I didn’t hesitate to invest.”

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