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Hines Buys 954 Acres to Develop 2,100-Home Master-Planned Community in Houston Area
By Florian Martin  –  Reporter, Houston Business Journal

Proposed site plan for Hines’ future master-planned community in Iowa Colony.

Proposed site plan for Hines’ future master-planned community in Iowa Colony.

Hines plans to develop its largest master-planned community in the Houston area since First Colony in Sugar Land.

The Houston-based real estate company, along with Trez Capital and several limited partner investors, earlier this month purchased 954 acres of undeveloped land outside Iowa Colony, in southern Brazoria County. The yet-to-be-named community is slated to have 2,100 single-family homes at build-out.

Derek Graber with Dosch Marshall Real Estate represented Hines, and David Cook and Meredith Cullen with Cushman & Wakefield represented the seller. Flagstar Bank and Rocky Lai & Associates provided financing.

The community will be located along the western side of State Highway 288 just south of Iowa Colony’s current city limits. The property will be annexed into the city in the next several months as part of a development agreement, Iowa Colony City Manager Robert Hemminger said.

Hines plans to offer a variety of lot sizes ranging from 40 to more than 80 feet in width.

While Brazoria County requires lot sizes in new subdivisions to be at least 80 feet wide, municipalities can set their own rules.

“As Houston continues to be a major employment hub in the Southwest, coupled with a supply-constrained market and rapid in-migration, the need for attainable housing remains critical,” Carson Nunnelly, managing director at Hines, said in a statement. “With great schools in a prime location, this project will be vital in providing more homebuying opportunities in Brazoria County.”

Hines expects to start construction in the second quarter and deliver the first phase, consisting of about 400 homesites, late next year.

Houston-based Elevation Land Solutions is the engineer, and Katy-based Meta Planning & Design is the land planner. Homebuilders have not been selected yet.

Planned amenities include hike and bike trails, a 5-acre area with a resort-style pool, a large playground and clubhouse as well as parks in future phases.

A section on the southeast corner of the community fronting Highway 288 is set aside for commercial development, and future plans include a school site. The community is zoned to the Alvin Independent School District.

Nunnelly pointed to good schools and proximity to both 288 and a future section of the Grand Parkway as reasons to develop in this area, giving residents fast access to the Texas Medical Center and downtown Houston as well as Sugar Land and League City in the future.

“On top of that, Iowa Colony is rapidly growing due to the reasons above and is home to two of the nation’s top 50 [master-planned communities], one of which will be near completion at the time we deliver lots here,” Nunnelly said in an email, referring to Land Tejas and Starwood Land’s Sierra Vista and Rise Communities’ Meridiana.

This is Hines’ largest residential project since the 9,700-acre First Colony, which the company started developing in 1976 and is now home to about 60,000 residents as well as Sugar Land Town Square.

During the economic recession in the 1980s, Hines abandoned single-family residential development and focused more on commercial projects in Houston, but it returned to single-family development in recent years and has completed 26 communities in the Southwest since 2005.

In the Houston area, Hines has since developed two other single-family-home communities: the 338-home Laurel Glen in the Spring-Klein area and the 180-home Grayson Woods in Katy. It has also developed Somerset Green, a 550-unit townhome community on Old Katy Road near Memorial Park.

In Tomball, Hines is developing the 390-home Raburn Reserve with homes built by Taylor Morrison. And last September, the company announced it will develop Brookewater, an 850-acre, 2,400-home community in Rosenberg.

Hines has partnered with Trez Capital for all those projects.

“We are strong believers in the long-term growth of Texas,” John Hutchinson, vice chairman and global head of origination at Trez Capital, said in a statement. “We continue to see the need for more housing in Houston and across the state and will continue to work with strong developers like Hines to meet the growing future demand for residential real estate across the state.”

Hines has master-planned communities in places as far as Dublin, Ireland, where it has been developing the 338-acre Cherrywood community.

The plan is to develop more large communities, Nunnelly said.

“Master-planned communities are a very attractive product type for us, and we are highly focused on sourcing the right opportunities for future communities,” he said. “It provides us the opportunity to invest in amenities and build what we consider to be a Hines-quality development, as well as focus long-term on the markets we feel are well suited for single-family development.”

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