NEW YORK *#8211; The Cheval Apartments complex, a Spanos Companies project located in Houston, was recently awarded two prestigious Aurora architectural awards from the Southeast Building Conference during the 27 Anniversary Aurora Awards gala in Orlando last month.
This apartment project, designed with a European influence, is a 387-unit (36 unit-to-the-acre) urban complex developed by the Spanos Corporation and designed by Charlan Brock *amp; Associates in Maitland, Florida.
Each year, the Aurora Awards are presented to outstanding builders, planners, architects, developers, designers, interior merchandisers and other housing-related professionals in a 12-state region in the Southeast, which includes Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
This year*#8217;s theme was, *#8220;Designs of Distinction,*#8221; as several hundred entries were considered for their overall architectural merit in more than 75 categories *#8211; from best single-family home to master-planned communities, to kitchens and bath.
The Aurora awards show the very best of the architectural industry and provide real estate firms with a valuable marketing tool.
This year, Cheval received the only Grand Aurora award for the best overall rental community, and also received an Aurora award in the Rental Apartment Community Density (of 15 or more units per acre) category.
*#8220;It really is a beautiful design, and it functions very, very well,*#8221; said Mary Molson, an associate with Charlan Brock *amp; Associates who was directly involved with the Cheval project.
The complex is reminiscent of a resort, featuring bellboy service to handle luggage, a multi-tiered swimming pool with a waterfall, sunning benches, fountains, lush terraced plantings, billiards, tennis courts with post-match massage service and a bridge connecting the parking lot to the main structure.
Each apartment home *#8211; currently renting from $995 to $1,565 a month (see www.chevalapartments.com) *#8211; is filled with several luxuries and conveniences, with a level of extravagance that seeks to spoil its residents.
*#8220;Wander the grounds, and you*#8217;ll find yourself in a perpetual holiday from reality. The grand foyer is only the first hint. Where is the bellboy to handle your luggage? You just know that there are fresh flowers in your suite and Belgian chocolate on your pillow,*#8221; the Cheval website sates.
Tucked just inside the Loop 610 and Interstate 10 interchange of Houston*#8217;s Old Katy Road, Cheval offers its residents ready access to the Galleria and Uptown areas to the city*#8217;s southwest.
Charlan Brock *amp; Associates finished designing the project in 2003. Construction commenced in the Spring of 2004 and was completed in the Summer of 2005.
Because Cheval has been so well received, the Spanos Corporation, the construction and development unit of the A.G. Spanos (AGS) Companies, is currently in the process of developing additional projects similar to it with the design team at Charlan Brock, according to a press release issued by AGS Companies on August 10.
A.G. Spanos Companies consists of eight corporate entities which, together with the National Football League*#8217;s San Diego Chargers, comprise the business interests of the Spanos family.
AGS Construction grew from AGS Construction, which was founded by California real estate magnate Alex Spanos in 1960. Today, Mr. Spanos*#8217; two sons, Dean and Michael, share hands-on management of AGS with their father.
Corporate headquarters are located in Stockton, California with divisions in Florida, Georgia, Nevada and northern and southern California, with ongoing projects in Texas, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado and Upstate New York.
One of the most respected housing development and construction companies in the country, AGS*#8217; trademark is to make sure that *#8220;every Spanos community is carefully planned, imaginatively designed and soundly constructed,*#8221; according to Charlie Raffo, an AGS Companies executive vice president in Tampa.
*#8220;Each Spanos project gives special attention to design and decoration. Improving the quality of life in a community is our primary goal, and our projects*#8217; features and amenities reflect the demands of today*#8217;s consumer lifestyle,*#8221; said Mr. Raffo, who first started with Mr. Spanos back in 1972, and has been working for the Spanos family continuously since 1989.
AGS Companies has another 12-15 ongoing projects currently, he said, and the average project is about 300 units.
But once AGS builds a housing community complex, he added, the goal is to sell the project to another company.
*#8220;We build and rent everything ourselves. That way, we can control quality assurance. But once the projects are about 80 percent rented, we sell them to another company to manage,*#8221; he said.