For brothers Shahin "Sean" and Pejman "PJ" Jamea starting a business together simply made sense. PJ worked for some of the best architectural firms in Houston and Sean had a career as a tax attorney, specializing in real estate. "It was only natural," PJ said. "We were doing a lot of collaborations on both ends. We decided we should start our own business." The two joined forces to create the Oxberry Group, and their combined talents have resulted in the establishment of a successful development company, handing residential, retail, office, industrial and mixed-use development Now, 13 years later, the brothers are honing their vision and starting to make a mark on the city, focusing on creating walkable neighborhoods inside densely populated, urban areas. Sharing a vision Sean, 40, and PJ, 45, call the Rice Village area home. The neighborhood reminds them of Tehran, where they spent their childhoods. "We came from a dense, urban city," PJ said. "You walk everywhere. It's kind of like New York. Rice Village is the only place in Houston we feel is very pedestrian friendly." They started the Oxberry Group in 2002. We felt that the timing was right," PJ said. He admitted that it took a while to figure out the best way to act as business partners. "It wasn't easy at the beginning," he said. "I'm on the creative, artistic side. Sean brings the structure, the dollars-and-cents, to the project." But it was not long before the operation was running smoothly. "At the beginning, we butted heads a couple of times, but we respect each other," PJ said. "Now we're friends and great business partners." Sean agreed. "We've been working together for so long now," he said. "We're going into our 17th year. There's 100 percent trust there, and that's really important." The brothers also spent a few years determining their market niche. "When we started we were all over the map and doing all types of projects," PJ said. "More and more we realized our passion and focus was more toward urban corridors and inside the Loop." Sean said that the recession helped solidify their plans. "We saw our suburban assets had a lot of ups and downs as far as price, tenant mix and occupancy rates," he said. "But the urban portfolio barely moved. That solidified our vision." They wanted to create more spaces that mirrored the lifestyle in their own neighborhood. "We're big believers in pedestrian activity," PJ said. "Whatever projects we do, we have that in mind. We want to make sure we take into consideration the pedestrian lifestyle." They decided that condos, town homes, multi-family developments and retail conversions were more interesting. "We feel that Houston is lacking in companies that specialize in dense development," Sean said. "We would like our footprint to be dense, urban projects." Current projects The Jamea brothers are currently at work on building a mid-rise condo in the Museum District called the Mondrian. Pre-sales for the eight-story, 20-unit residence began in September. PJ said the location sets the project apart. "I love the Museum District," he said. "It's the best kept secret in Houston. It's just a wonderful place." Caroline has long been a favorite street for PJ to traverse on his bicycle, while riding to the Oxberry offices in Midtown. When he saw the property for sale at 5104 Caroline, he jumped on it. Being catty cornered to Asia Society inspired the brothers to seek out the best in architecture and design. "We searched for the right team," PJ said. They hired Perkings & Will from Washington D.C. and Mayfield and Ragni Studios of Houston to co-design the project. "It has features you won't see anywhere else in Houston," PJ said. "There are a lot of small, interior details." For example, the Mondrian condos feature double height ceilings, and large exterior living spaces complete with outdoor kitchens. The exterior geometry resembles interlocking boxes. "Every floor has only three units, because we wanted to offer larger units," PJ said. The Oxberry Group also has a separate division for hospitality projects. The most recent project was the opening of Tarakaan, a restaurant and bar inspired by Buddha-Bar in Paris and TAO in Las Vegas. The Oxberry Group also refurbished a 1920s building that earned national acclaim in the 1980s when it was transformed with a signature, red grid skeleton for Knoll Furniture by Chicago architect Stanley Tigerman. "We really liked the building's architecture," PJ said. "It had a lot of nice features. When we purchased it, we wanted to make sure to keep some of the architectural features and try to enhance it without losing its character." The Jameas think that urban, multi-use projects are not just a trend. "With land prices inside the loop, there's no other way to develop than vertically," PJ said. Sean agreed. "The price of land has skyrocketed in the past few years," he said.