Master-planned community set for Spicewood

Master-planned community Thomas Ranch is set to begin development in the Spicewood area.

Master-planned community Thomas Ranch is set to begin development in the Spicewood area.

Updated Feb. 27 at 10:30 a.m. to include response from Texas Department of Transportation regarding any roadway improvements on West Hwy. 71 stemming from the proposed project


With its wide array of microclimates, hilltop panoramic views, prairieland and riverfront placement, the future site of a new mixed-use development at Hwy. 71

Thomas Ranch will be situated on 2,200 acres along the Pedernales River in western Travis County. Thomas Ranch will be situated on 2,200 acres along the Pedernales River in western Travis County.[/caption]

and Paleface Ranch Road in Spicewood seems like the perfect opportunity to create a community that offers a lifestyle with variety but still has connectivity, said Tom D’Alesandro, the project’s lead developer and president of Blakefield LLC.

Travis County Commissioners Court approved plans to develop Thomas Ranch, a 2,200-acre master-planned community in western Travis County, Feb. 14.

The project—with its 3,300 homes, apartments, restaurants, hotel, marketplace shops and about 10 miles of trails along the Pedernales River—will take about two decades to complete from start to finish, D’Alesandro said.

“Now that we have the master development plan approval from Travis County, we are going to begin the process of preliminary plats for the first neighborhood,” he said.

The developer of the project purchased various pieces of property to form the tract over the past 20 years, D’Alesandro said. The first homes in the community are

The project includes a marketplace with shops, restaurants and entertainment venues. The project includes a marketplace with shops, restaurants and entertainment venues.[/caption]

expected to be delivered in late 2019 or early 2020 and the marketplace, with its shops and restaurants, is anticipated to open in 2022, he said. The final buildout of the entire development is slated for around 2037, he said.

“The area is kind of underserved, even for existing Barton Creek and Spicewood residents,” D’Alesandro said.

However, he said the community’s construction may not be easy due to road grading on the area’s plentiful hills, and a water treatment system and sewer infrastructure will need to be added to provide utilities on this terrain.

More than 700 acres of the tract will be reserved for parks and open space and D’Alesandro said his company is working on drafting a stewardship plan to maintain the area’s natural beauty.

The project will offer four types of housing, including apartments, cottages, conventional homes and custom homes, he said.

“The idea is to have more of a diverse kind of [neighborhood],” D’Alesandro said of the wider array of housing types planned in the community.

The residential streets of Thomas Ranch will be two-lane to foster a more community feel, lead developer Tom D'Alesandro said. The residential streets of Thomas Ranch will be two-lane roadways to foster a community feel, lead developer Tom D'Alesandro said.[/caption]

Residential prices will be comparable to other areas in the West Hwy. 71 corridor and may be priced below the average $550,000 price for a local single-family home, he said.

“We are looking to meet the market and [offer] custom [homes] at $800,000 and over while trying to bring other homes below the market price and in the mid-$300,000s,” D’Alesandro said.

Community amenities also include extensive access to open spaces, swimming pool(s) and a town square for shopping and dining, he said.

“With its multiple activity centers, the community mixes the serenity of the Hill Country with a vibrant marketplace and many social gathering places,” D’Alesandro said.

The project will  draw residents who want to be near a golf course as three golf clubs—a private club and two public courses—are nearby, he said.

Although plans for the community’s hotel brand have not been finalized, D’Alesandro said its setting would be at a high point of the property and boast 360-degree views of Lake Travis, the Pedernales River and the Hill Country. The hotel—with about 100-150 rooms— would not only accommodate guests but also serve as a community meeting place for weddings, evening cocktails and entertainment events, he said. A spa may be included as well, he said.

Studies by the site’s developer indicate a smaller hotel that takes advantage of the hilltop views and close proximity to the river for water sports is advantageous, D’Alesandro said.

A traffic impact study is underway and the project will have 11 entry points, including West Hwy. 71, Paleface Ranch Road and CR 404, he said.

“We have the opportunity to have multiple [points of] ingress, egress and provide mostly two-lane streets that will offer a more intimate and residential feel [to the community],” D’Alesandro said.

Plans include a possible co-working space in the development as well as drawing a high-speed internet provider to make the development more useful for employees to work from home, D’Alesandro said.

The Texas Department of Transportation is currently evaluating the stretch of West Hwy. 71 encompassing Paleface Ranch Road—from the Pedernales River to US 281—for future improvements, agency spokesperson Kelli Reyna said.

"We will continue to work with Travis County and the developer regarding any roadway improvements that the increased traffic generated by the development may warrant," she said.

The community is zoned to Marble Falls ISD.


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