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Lake community in works

3,000 homes will be joined by waterways


Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle

Cypress-Fairbanks is getting a town center and another master-planned community that will allow its residents to travel from neighborhood to neighborhood by boat.

Caldwell Watson Real Estate Group said it has started development of Towne Lake, a 2,400-acre community in Northwest Houston that includes 300 acres of water.

"Every single portion of the neighborhoods will have some sort of access to the lake or canals," said Peter Barnhart, vice president of residential development at Caldwell Watson. "Coupling that with the town center, we'll be providing housing opportunities across a myriad of price points."

The community will have 15 to 20 neighborhoods with about 3,000 single-family homes upon completion. Prices will start in the low $100,000s and go as high as $1 million-plus, he said. Townhomes and apartments are included in the mix.

Broker Keith Grothaus with Caldwell Watson closed the deal on the land.

David Weekley Homes and David Powers Homes have already started building the first section. The first homes should be ready for sale by year's end or the start of 2007.

Upon completion of the 2,400 acres in and around Towne Lake, the development value is estimated to be in excess of $1.6 billion, the company said.

Caldwell Watson plans to have the entire area built out in 10 to 15 years.

Each area will also be connected by the waterways, something the developer hopes will offer a different lifestyle to residents.

"You can get in a boat and go from one side to the other side, which is about 4 miles," he said. "You can get in a boat anywhere in the community and get anywhere else in the community."

Areas are also being reserved for churches, schools, a yacht club, a retail wharf area, a library, theaters and restaurants. Cy-Fair College sits on 200 acres of Towne Lake.

The developer is looking to join with national retailers to help create 500,000 square feet of retail space, including space in the town center.

"Our hope is to create a central business district/community center for Cy-Fair," said Fred Caldwell, CEO of Caldwell Watson. "It's to make a true urban environment in an area that right now doesn't have anything like that."

The community is about 2 miles from the 9,000-acre residential development called Bridgeland, being developed by the Rouse Co.

Houston-based Caldwell Watson has developed other residential communities in Northwest Houston, including Rock Creek, Wimbledon Falls, Wincrest Falls and Spring Creek Ranch.

Despite rising interest rates, making home buying more expensive and slowing sales elsewhere in the country, Barnhart said this is an opportune time to be building in Houston.

"Houston a lot of times runs countercyclical to other markets," he said. "With the energy industry doing as well as it is, it will continue to produce good, high-paying jobs."

Coupled with Houston's affordability compared with other markets, the environment is right to keep building, he said.

Edited by aggie0083
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That's awesome news. Cypress is ripe for something like this.

I wonder if this is going to get in the way of Bridgeland's plan for a Town Center? With the huge population already out here, and the same demographics as The Woodlands, the first one to the punch, will likely find a great deal of success. More power to them!

Longwood/Lakewood/Coles Crossing will truly be the sweet spot with 2 Town Centers on either side (Vintage Park at 249 & Towne Lake at 290).

I went to HS with Peter Barnhart and was friends with his younger brother, I'll have to give him a call.

Edited by mrfootball
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