Serene Hills adding 300 'high-end' homes to Lakeway

Exclusive community to provide 'a new gateway from Hwy. 71 to Lakeway' developer says

A 456-acre development that will bring 300 new homes broke ground on Phase 1 for lot construction, and home building is expected to begin this summer.

"Our vision is to provide a very high-end development for the City of Lakeway, providing a new gateway from Hwy. 71," Douglas Hunter, Serene Hills operating developer and a principal of Hunter Interests, said. "We hope to provide an exclusive community with an awful lot of greenway."

Serene Hills Drive—a road that runs through the future Serene Hills development—winds from Hwy. 71 and connects at Flint Rock Falls, which goes behind the new Lakeway Regional Medical Center and meets at RR 620 in Lakeway.

Commercial development

The land for Serene Hills was purchased in 2007 and since then, 30 of the original 456 acres have been sold to H-E-B, which then sold 10 of the 30 acres to a separate developer who is planning to build four or five pad sites with retail and medical offices. H-E-B has not yet confirmed plans to build on its property.

Another 10 acres, which is zoned for commercial development, is still owned by the Serene Hills developers and may be developed in the future.

Luxury housing

When the land was purchased, the developers did not know a hospital was in the works.

"The only thing I was excited about was that we could connect Lakeway from Hwy. 71 to RR 620 [separate from its intersection in Bee Cave]," Hunter said.

Hunter said because of its R1 star zoning from the City of Lakeway, the developer must adhere to strict guidelines, such as a minimum of 10,000-square-foot lots, only side-entry garages permitted and no less than an 80-foot front lot.

Builders

The last project of this scope Hunter developed was Escondido Golf and Lake Club at Horseshoe Bay.

Three homebuilders, Bellaheim Homes, Brohn Homes and Sitterle Homes, have been contracted to build custom homes starting in the $500,000s. Model homes representing each of the three builders showing different plan options will be available in June.

"The general idea behind this community is that it will be a much more exclusive and higher architectural development [than some of the neighborhoods in the area]. It will be the most architecturally restrictive for a neighborhood," said Gary Liardon, president and CEO of Bellaheim Homes. "It will provide a whole new level of luxury."

Green space

Liardon said Serene Hills is one of the highest points in the area, which allows many residents to have views of Lake Travis. A large area surrounding Serene Hills will not be developed because the Lower Colorado River Authority owns the land for irrigation purposes.

The development will also be expanding a hike and bike trail from its adjacent neighborhood Falconhead West for residents of Bee Cave and Lakeway to utilize.

"The community, as an overall plan, has a lot of green space and views of the lake," Liardon said. "The idea was to preserve a green system of trails from Falconhead West to both sides of Serene Hills."

Phase 1

The plan for the first phase includes 68 residential lots—54 of which are already under contract—and two utility lots on approximately 32.2 acres located east of Serene Hills Drive and south of Flint Rock Road. The developer is also putting in wastewater lines from Hwy. 71 through Serene Hills Drive, which the commercial lots would use as well.

Lot construction for Phase 1 is expected to be complete in May, which will be followed by model-home construction, expected to be complete in June. Home construction will follow.

Hunter said market conditions will dictate when the entire project is finished.

Connecting driveways

At Lakeway City Council's December meeting, when the developer was given the go-ahead for Phase 1, council voiced concerns on having several shared driveways to Serene Hills Drive, a single-lane, divided road.

Councilman Joe Bain said having driveway access on a single-lane road was a poor way of doing business. Lakeway Assistant City Manager Chessie Blanchard said the city was concerned about the driveway access combined with the increase in traffic expected on Serene Hills Drive with the opening of the Lakeway Regional Medical Center.

Since the meeting, the developer eliminated four of the seven driveways, doing away with all of the driveways on the west side of Serene Hills Drive.