Nov. 02--An undeveloped island in the middle of Lake Woodlands is on its way to becoming an exclusive residential enclave accessible only by bridge and with homes priced well into the millions.
"We think it'll be the next great address in The Woodlands," said Paul Layne, executive vice president of master-planned communities for the Howard Hughes Corp., the parent organization of The Woodlands Development Co.
Plans are in the early stages, and home sites aren't being marketed yet. But people in the real estate community have heard the island will have fewer than 20 lots.
"This is going to be unique, the fact that it's an island with a very limited supply," said Robyn Brand, a real estate agent who sells custom homes in the area and is familiar with the project. Brand said prices for homes there could be "unprecedented" for The Woodlands.
Mitchell Island is named after the community's founder, the late George Mitchell, who established The Woodlands 27 miles north of downtown off Interstate 45 in the early 1970s.
Construction has started on a bridge and guard house that will connect the roughly 20-acre island to East Shore, a well-heeled neighborhood on the eastern edge of the 200-acre Lake Woodlands.
Over the years, other ideas have been floated for the property, but it has remained undeveloped, Layne said.
Clear Lake project
A homebuilder is moving forward on the development of a vacanttract in the Clear Lake area.
Trendmaker Homes has completed plans for a residential community that will have as many as 740 homes on 372 acres.
The project, called the Reserve at Clear Lake City, will be built in phases. Trendmaker has projected it will take five years to complete.
"In today's market, with such a tight lot supply, the idea of putting 700 lots down there seems very simple," said Will Holder, Trendmaker president. "We've got it planned over a five-year period, but we're thinking this could go in three."
The first section of 165 lots is expected to be ready for building by early next fall.
In addition to developing the land, Trendmaker will be one of several builders to put up homes.
Townhomes, patio homes and single-family homes are planned with prices ranging from the low $300,000s to more than $1 million.
Holder believes he has a unique piece of land that will be attractive to Clear Lake residents who want to move to someplace new but stay in the area.
"There's been no lots. It was basically finished out, and everything went south to League City," he said.
The land, just north of the intersection of Clear Lake City and El Dorado boulevards in the Clear Creek School District, originally was zoned for commercial only. Fidelis Realty Partners, which sold Trendmaker the property, had gotten that designation changed.
Fidelis is planning a large grocery-anchored shopping center at one of the corners.
The Fort Worth investment firm that acquired the former Six Flags AstroWorld site in 2010, and then sold a large piece of it to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, is now marketing the remainder of the property for sale.
Located along the South Loop at Fannin, the 44-acre parcel is near a light-rail line station and is the largest property in town with an immediate connection to mass transit, according to HFF, the real estate brokerage marketing the land for the seller.
No asking price has been set, but the rodeo paid $42.8 million for the 48 acres it bought about a year ago. A 12-acre parcel was sold to a Miami group.
AstroWorld, which opened in 1968, shut down on Oct. 30, 2005.
When a partnership led by the Fort Worth-based Mallick Group acquired the 104-acre amusement park site, the company said it had no plans to develop the property and would sell it as land appreciated. Mallick would not disclose what it paid for the land, but it was purchased from a local group that originally bought the property from Six Flags in 2006 for $77 million.