Priced out of the woodlands? - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

Priced out of the woodlands?

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This is usually a good sign in any community....Construction means growth which leads to a stronger economy with increased property values and a robust tax base.

That's what those who live in and near the Woodlands can expect from this new Exxon campus...It's currently under construction.

But that exploding growth in the Woodlands and Spring areas is pricing out non-profits like Special Angels of the Woodlands. It's an adult daycare facility for mentally challenged adults like Micah Pendergrass.

He says, "I'm not sure we like this place a lot better."

Michah will soon have to move with Special Angels of the Woodlands. The group has been given 30 days to move out of this business park only a mile or two away from the new Exxon campus and the Woodlands.

Phillip Givens is president of the non-profit. He says after 4 years of leasing space from Corporate Park Woodland they were told by the leasing agent at Whitestone their rent was being increased to market rate.

Givens says, "our rent is going from $1275 to $4775 or $4800. We recently got a couple of weeks ago that we need to vacate the premises in 30 days or by June 15th.

That means Micah and the 30 other mentally challenged adults will have to find another place to go during the day because Givens says Special Angels simply can't afford the huge increase rent. Rent he believes is increasing because of the growth in the Woodlands.

"We're hoping that someone could say this is a non-profit that's helping the community let's see if we can give them some favor and they still can get a tax write off," says Givens.

If that change of heart doesn't come it will be time to pack up boxes for a group of people the organization says truly needs stability and consistency.

Givens says, "any kind of change in pattern can greatly affect their psychological outlook."

Whitestone - the property management company issued this statement: Since 2010, we have provided this organization with nearly free occupancy...we were able to help Special Angels gain a foothold in the local community...However, as a public company...we are responsible to oversee our shareholders investment...

Whitestone Full Statement:

Whitestone REIT is committed to assist charitable organizations in the communities in which we own properties. We appreciate the cause of Special Angels and recognize that they provide a valuable resource for families in the local community. Since 2010, we have provided this organization with nearly free occupancy in one of our Houston properties where we had available space. In providing the space at a considerable cost to Whitestone, we were able to help Special Angels gain a foothold in the local community and help children and families in the surrounding community. However, as a public company traded on the NYSE, we are responsible to oversee our shareholders investment in the real estate we own and make a profit as a business. Today, we are experiencing considerable market demand for space at this center. As company policy, we first alerted Special Angels that we had another firm interested in leasing the space at market rent, and offered to lease it to them at the same rate, which they declined. We also offered Special Angels another space in one of our other Houston properties, as well as a smaller space in their current Center. They also declined both of these offers. Unfortunately, it was only this morning that they alerted us via email that they would like to stay in their current location and pay Whitestone a market rental rate, but we have already committed the space to another company and are obligated to stand by this decision.

Anne Gregory

Vice President, Marketing Communications


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