Council retains PEDC contract

Former Palestine Economic Development Corporation Director Gayle Cooper

The $30-million Overlook luxury apartment complex will soon grace the corner of Loop-256 and Murchison Street, offering 200 housing units for up to $1,450 month.

With an average annual household income of just over $37,000, many Palestine residents might find Overlook a little over their heads. Even so, with Palestine's acute housing shortage, the complex will provide a welcome addition to Palestine's rental market, especially for younger professionals.

The units, approved by City Council members in October, are expected to break ground in September or October.

“We're about 80 percent completed with the design and lender stages of the project,” said Bill Wait, owner of Williamsburg Custom Homes, the firm leading the apartment project. “We just acquired 15 or so more acres, and planned an additional access off Murchison. Ground-breaking should be more or less on time.”

Aside from apartments, the complex will include a coffee shop, clubhouse, two dog parks, resort-style pool, business center, and other amenities.

Palestine Economic Development Corporation Director Gayle Cooper told the Herald-Press luxury housing will attract high-income professionals, as well as potential investors from cities like Dallas and Houston, to Palestine.

“Doctors look at available housing in the area,” she said. “It will be much easier to attract professionals like that with high-quality, luxury housing.”

City officials said 200 more middle-to-upper-income families will mean more local retail and restaurant business.

The project calls for 96 one-bedroom apartments, from 650-872 square feet, and 104 two-bedroom units. A dozen of the two-bedroom units also will include a den or garage.

The city has offered $100,000 in incentives for the project – $60,000 in permit fees and $40,000 in tax abatements. PEDC has chipped in $70,000 for streets, sewer, and lighting.

“It makes developers feel more confident when a city is willing to partner with them,” Wait said. “Everyone in Palestine and Anderson County has welcomed us with open arms.”

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