It’s not just about investment and maximizing profit. It has to do with the emotions of the deal and those involved. It’s great to exceed your client’s expectations.

The Market Center at Harvest Green was never going to be simply a shopping center. Imran Bhaidani saw its potential to be a hub for shopping, jobs, and community in Fort Bend County.

“We decided it was good land for retail and mixed-use development,” Bhaidani says. “The tract is also in a targeted employment area, so we told the investors we could create more jobs. It’s not just profitable in terms of development but also its economic impact.”

This new retail space would have modern amenities, such as phone and electric vehicle charging stations, and fit in with the nearby planned community’s agriculture-meets-neighborhood design.

He worked with the involved parties and stakeholders to create a project everyone could be excited about. He was even able to negotiate an agreement to keep moving forward before utilities reached the site.

Bhaidani’s team leader, Pinky Pirani, described the transaction as not just a sale, but an innovative, methodical collaboration between the buyer, developer, and the team every step of the way.

“Imran truly considered the interests of the community and acted in an advisory capacity to build a development that would not only be financially viable but would also serve the needs of residents, community members, and patrons,” she says.

For his efforts, Bhaidani won the 2022 William C. Jennings Award for commercial transaction of the year. He says he was overwhelmed with the news. “It was surprising to me that I had won the award. I know it takes a lot to win the recognition.”

A Future Gathering Place

The Market Center’s location was key to its potential.

The 7.4-acre tract on Harlem Road sits at the entrance to the Harvest Green Phase 2 community, with its additional 1,400 single-family homes and four multi-family developments. The Market Center would attract residents from nearby developments Pecan Grove and Waterside Estates. More than 15,000 people live within a mile of the site.

The Market Center’s stores and restaurants would also draw some of the 1,224 students at James Bowie Middle School across the street and the 2,489 students at William B. Travis High School about 2 miles away.

The tract was poised to generate a lot of foot traffic and repeat customers, as well as occasional visitors headed to a new H-E-B supermarket and the Messina Hof Harvest Green Winery & Kitchen farm-to-table restaurant.

The tract’s status in a targeted employment area and opportunity zone meant it was eligible for significant tax credits and financial leverage.

Working Toward a Vision

Bhaidani is an agent with The B&P Team—Keller Williams Southwest in Sugar Land. The B&P Team focuses on new construction sales in subdivisions. As a result, Bhaidani has an excellent working relationship with Harvest Green’s developer, Johnson Development.

Bhaidani’s buyer client submitted a purchase offer with a mixed-use, “modern agrarian” concept. Property renderings included lawns, flowers, trees, and walkways throughout the property. The buyer worked with Bhaidani and project development consultants to understand tenant needs, triple-net leases, building characteristics, kick off site planning and set requirements with the architects, according to Pirani.

“It’s not just about investment and maximizing profit. It has to do with the emotions of the deal and those involved,” Bhaidani says. “It’s great to exceed your client’s expectations. If you are introducing new ideas, you don’t just want to get your client’s consent. You want them to be enthusiastic about the changes and excited for the retail development.”

Bhaidani hired a real estate attorney to represent the buyer and negotiate the contract. The contract was executed in the third quarter of 2021.

Afterward, consultants got to work on completing technical and financial due diligence. The buyer’s team met with city officials and plans were reviewed.

Bhaidani helped the buyer raise approximately $10 million through accredited investors once technical and financial due diligence were completed, Pirani says. An offering memorandum along with the private placement memorandum were presented to the investors and required funds were raised within three weeks and a cash offer at closing.

Utilities were a final challenge for The Market Center. The tract did not have utilities yet and plans were underway for the site to be annexed by a nearby MUD.

“You cannot start construction until the utilities are in,” he says. “I had worked with Johnson Development in the past. I was able to explain the timeline to bring utilities to the site. I was able to negotiate a post-closing development agreement with them. It worked because we had that comfort and trust of established relationships.”

The transaction closed on January 25, 2022. An economic impact study later showed that more than 150 jobs would directly or indirectly result from The Market Center’s development.

Next Steps

The Market Center will be developed in two phases. When completed, the site will have approximately 40,000 square feet of retail space in various configurations and more than 260 parking spaces, including electric vehicle charging stations.

The first phase will be a next-generation convenience store; phase two brings 16 retail spaces including two with drive-thru capacity. The property includes benches, attractive planters, phone charging stations, and a community green space.

As of February 2023, The Market Center is still in the initial stages. “We haven’t even broken ground yet. But we recently started advertising as a pre-lease. Now people have access to what the project will be. We’ve gotten really positive feedback,” Bhaidani says.

That initial interest is very important to him. “With every retail development that you bring to market, you’re always very sensitive about how it will be received,” he says. “How will it impact our neighborhood? It’s a Class A retail development. There are a lot of kids, parents, and residents living right behind our property. How will the project work? Are they excited that a commercial project will be in their backyard?”

Bhaidani was particularly invested in the project’s success. “I live in the same community. We’re creating a landmark which will benefit everybody. All of the kids going to school and their friends see the development. Even my daughter has seen the sign and was asking about the progress. She’s excited about it.”