Embrey Partners Ltd., developer of high-profile projects such as Artessa at Quarry Village and the Can Plant at Pearl, now has a new generation of projects in the works — and a new generation of leadership.
Walter “Trey” Embrey III — president of Embrey Partners and son of Walter M. Embrey Jr., founder and CEO of the firm — is heading up the next wave of high profile developments for the company. Those projects include The Brackenridge at Midtown,along the Broadway corridor in the burgeoning midtown submarket; and The Park at West Ave., Embrey Partners’ first ground-up, townhome community in San Antonio. These upcoming communities also are representative of the larger building boom taking place in the greater San Antonio multifamily market.
Trey Embrey spoke with the Business Journal recently about the factors driving his firm’s latest wave of new projects.
Q: Where is the market for San Antonio’s multifamily projects coming from?
A: A little more than a third of our market comes from outside of San Antonio — about evenly divided between job and personal relocation, with a handful moving out of homes into rentals. The rest comes from the local market — a mix of movement from single-family homes and other apartment communities.
Q: Describe the renter by choice — the individual who is pursuing a certain lifestyle.
A: Part one is economically driven. Renters by choice are not interested in making a sizeable down payment, tying up a bunch of cash in a house. Part two is mobility driven. We have a much more transient workforce. (Renters) want the flexibility of being able to pick up and move. Part three is convenience driven. Our market likes the ease of turning the key and walking away — the luxury of having amenities and services at their fingertips.
Q: What is the correlation between the single-family and the multifamily market?
A: Every percentage point that home ownership goes down represents 1.2 million units we are able to rent. Clearly, we benefitted during the downturn. However — and I’ve said this numerous times — it’s a double-edged sword. Long-term, multifamily needs the single-family market to recover. The single-family market drives jobs. And jobs drive the multifamily market.
Q: Is San Antonio in danger of getting overbuilt?
A: There’s some concern about overbuilding, but we haven’t seen it yet. The marketplace is doing a better job self-regulating. Banks and — more importantly equity — is much more aware and cautious of submarkets that appear to be oversupplied. Generally, everyone seems pretty optimistic about the Alamo City.
Tricia Lynn Silva covers real estate, retail, construction, and law firms; she also plans and edits some special reports.