Listen to Austin 360 Radio

Young developers launch new firm with $35M apartment, retail complex in East El Paso

Vic Kolenc
El Paso Times

Two El Paso high school friends, who recently formed a new El Paso real estate development company, are about to begin their first project — the high-end, 225-unit Desert Commons apartment complex in far East El Paso.

The apartment complex, to begin construction in September, is part of a $35 million project with two adjacent strip shopping centers, of which one is already open, said Jordan Furman, president of Furman Malooly Development.

The entire project is on 16 acres at 2801 N. Zaragoza Road, near Pebble Hills Boulevard, in a booming area of the city.

Furman, 28, an El Paso native who moved back to El Paso this year after working for large real estate companies in Dallas and Houston, formed the new development company in the spring with Chris Malooly Jr., 29, who also operates EPX Construction Partners, a growing El Paso general contractor.

This rendering of the 225-unit Desert Commons apartment complex, to be built in far East El Paso, shows some of the 39 car garages that tenants can rent separately. The complex will be at 2801 N. Zaragoza Road, near Pebble Hills Drive.

“Chris and I became friends in (Coronado) high school. One thing led to another and we started talking about future business plans,” Furman said.

Malooly said they decided to form the company because each has "skill sets that work well together."

They both come from families of successful entrepreneurs.

For subscribers: El Paso labor shortage persists as workers factor in wages, COVID-19 fears, other concerns

Developing apartment complexes will be the new company's focus, and it has other projects in the planning stages, Furman said.

The first phase of Desert Commons is to be completed in spring 2022 and the entire complex done in late fall 2022, Furman said.

The yet-to-open La Terraza Mexican restaurant is one of several tenants in a strip shopping center to be incorporated into the 225-unit Desert Commons apartment complex to be built on vacant land behind the center at 2801 N. Zaragoza Road in far East El Paso.

Two adjacent strip shopping centers part of Desert Commons project

One of the two, adjacent strip shopping centers was completed in late 2020, and has several tenants, including the franchised Teapioca Lounge and yet-to-open La Terraza Mexican restaurant.

The second center, to begin construction soon, is to have a No. 4 Taqueria and Cantina, a Juarez restaurant opening its first El Paso location, Furman said. It also will have a Coffee Box with the signature freight container structure used at the coffee shop's Downtown location, he said. 

It will be an easy walk for tenants to use the adjacent shops and restaurants, he noted.

EPX Construction Partners is developing the retail centers and will be the general contractor for the apartment complex, of which about 75% of the cost is being financed by a WestStar Bank loan, Furman said.

Apartment rents estimated at $800-$1,600 per month

Desert Commons will have one- to three-bedroom apartments spread through nine, three-story buildings. Rents likely will range from $800 to $1,600 per month, Furman said. Most ground units will have private, fenced yards, and most upper-floor units will have balconies, he said.

It will have 36 single-car garages, three two-car garages and 39 storage units tenants can rent separately, Furman said. Some of the garages are to have charging equipment for electric cars. It also will have an unspecified number of electric car charging stations.

For subscribers: From new cars to new furniture, pandemic-related problems make some items harder to buy

A rendering of what the pool area will look like at the high-end, 225-unit Desert Commons apartment complex to be built at 2801 N. Zaragoza Road, near Pebble Hills Boulevard, in a booming area of far East El Paso.

The complex will have a resort-style swimming pool, pocket park with grilling stations, and a clubhouse with a fitness center, co-working lounge, game lounge and golf simulator.

Young developers' families spark entrepreneurialism

Furman spent the last five years at The Howard Hughes Corp., a large real estate development company based in Houston. He was an asset manager helping to oversee a portfolio of about 4,500 multi-family units across the nation, he said. He moved back to El Paso in 2021 after being away for 10 years, including four years at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, where he received a degree in finance and real estate.

Jordan Furman, co-owner and president of Furman Malooly Development in El Paso.

“I want to make a difference in the community I grew up in,” Furman said. "I loved growing up in El Paso.”

“This is a city where you can really make an impact instead of being one of hundreds and hundreds of developers” as in larger cities, he said. “It’s more about enhancing development in El Paso.”

He credits his entrepreneurial drive to his father, Tony Furman, who for 25 years operated Interstate Capital Corp., an invoice-purchasing company in the El Paso area. The elder Furman and his partner, Cliff Eisenberg, sold the company in 2018 to a Dallas banking firm for an estimated $100 million-plus.

Chris Malooly Jr., co-owner of Furman Malooly Development in El Paso.

Malooly started EPX Construction in El Paso in 2014 after spending seven years in the Phoenix area getting a bachelor's degree in construction management and master's degree in real estate development at Arizona State University. He also worked for a Phoenix general contractor for three years.

"I always planned to come back to El Paso. I love El Paso. There's a lot of opportunity here," Malooly said.

His immediate and extended family members are involved in real estate investment and retail development, including his father Chris Malooly, a partner in the retail centers next to the Desert Commons site, he said. His father also is president and co-owner of Casa Carpet Tile & Wood in Central El Paso.

"I grew up around (real estate) development all my life," he said.

Vic Kolenc may be reached at 546-6421; on Twitter.