Westlake prepares for town's future

As town grows, residents desire to preserve open landscapes



As the landlocked town of Westlake seeks to update its 22-year-old comprehensive plan, officials are working to balance a growing town and maintain a low-density, rural environment.



Development Director Eddie Edwards said the town is only 20 percent built out. There are just 340 homes in the town, and plans show it is poised to double in size within the next two to three years.



Yet throughout the process of updating the comprehensive plan, including two public workshops, residents have expressed the desire to keep a pastoral town with open landscapes.



"We still have longhorn cattle but are 15 minutes from the airport. We are truly an oasis in the Metroplex, and we work hard to preserve that," Mayor Laura Wheat said.



Development



Entrada, a mixed-use development covering nearly 86 acres expected to begin construction within several months, could ultimately bring 320 new homes as well as an economic boost, Edwards said. Town officials plan for Entrada to emulate a European village with a Spanish flair that includes retail stores, hotels, a cathedral and a central plaza.



"We're hoping [Entrada will] be a gathering point for both our nighttime residents and daytime population for dining, shopping, entertainment and living," Edwards said.



Deloitte University is another draw to the town that Town Manager Tom Brymer said put Westlake on the map. He said the $300 million training facility brings in 40,000–50,000 people to Westlake each year. Pete Sackleh, managing director of Deloitte University, said the facility benefits from the pastoral setting and access to easy transit to and from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.



"We chose Westlake because it is probably one of the best backdrops in Texas," he said.



Sackleh said Deloitte invested time, money and effort in preserving the Hill Country environment that the town values by keeping trees, providing irrigation and conserving water.



"We have a great collaboration with the town in making our property fit within the mold that Westlake has created," Sackleh said. "We respect what Westlake is."



Looking ahead



The newest planned development is called Granada and will feature 84 single-family homes. Edwards said the custom homes have the attention of families wanting to downsize from larger homes, especially empty-nesters. He expects construction to begin in the fourth quarter of 2014.



Despite there being tension among some residents prior to the council's approval of the residential development, Edwards said that from his perspective, "An awful lot of people are ready for us to start building houses."



In other growth throughout the town, officials are planning to move ahead with the first of three expansion phases at Westlake Academy, a public charter school that opened in September 2003. Brymer said the $10 million Phase 1 includes a 9,600-square-foot cafetorium, a field house and a secondary school building.



With its offering of International Baccalaureate Organization programs, Brymer said the academy is a sought-after feature in Westlake. He said families outside the town's zoning must go through a lottery system to enroll.



Between new residential development and incoming commercial boosts, Brymer said there is still plenty of land within Westlake's boundaries to work with, which is mostly in the hands of Ross Perot Jr. His Hillwood Properties is in control of nearly 80 percent of Westlake's open space and represents approximately 50 percent of the town's entire land area, Brymer said.



To maintain the town's balance of keeping a natural landscape and attracting new businesses, Brymer said that as the town grows, residential land will be near where the cattle graze, and high-density office space will be closer to the highway.



"Even though we know we can't stop development, we would love to preserve as much as the [country] feel as we can," Wheat said.



MOST RECENT

A new gaming arena franchise is coming to the U.S. with Grapevine among the first locations. (Courtesy Belong Gaming Arenas)
U.K.-based gaming arena to expand to U.S. with Grapevine among first locations

Belong Gaming Arenas began in the U.K. in 2016 and is now looking to expand to the U.S. with locations set to open this summer and fall 2021.

Gov. Greg Abbott announced a special legislative session will begin July 8. (Trent Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Gov. Greg Abbott announces special legislative session to start July 8

Agenda items will be announced before the session begins, according to a release from the governor's office.

Carroll ISD Superintendent Lane Ledbetter unveiled safety strategies to the board of trustees on June 21. (Sandra Sadek/Community Impact Newspaper)
Carroll ISD Superintendent to address safety concerns with policy, code of conduct review

Carroll ISD Superintendent Lane Ledbetter said the district will be reviewing its harassment and discrimination policy as part of its safety strategies.

Shannon Braun raises her hand while taking the oath of office
Shannon Braun sworn in as newest Grapevine-Colleyville ISD board member

The board also elected new officers, including Jorge Rodriguez as president.

Sharen Wilson was first elected in 2014. She is Tarrant County's first female district attorney. (Courtesy Sharen Wilson Campaign Team)
Tarrant County District Attorney Sharen Wilson seeking re-election

Wilson announced her intent to run for another term June 22.

The job fair, which will be held in Irving, will feature more than 100 potential employers. (Courtesy Pixabay)
North Texas Congresswoman Beth Van Duyne to host job fair in partnership with local businesses

With federal unemployment benefits ending on June 26 in Texas, Congresswoman Beth Van Duyne has partnered with local chambers of commerce, officials and businesses to host a job fair in Irving.

woman in spa
Spa on the Square in Colleyville opens up rental space for beauty professionals

The new downtown Spa on the Square offers private salon suites for rent to licensed and independent beauty professionals in Colleyville.

Cajun restaurant Storming Crab is now open in McKinney. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Storming Crab restaurant open in McKinney; Romeo's Pizza comes to Frisco and more DFW-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

The Texas Central rail connection from Dallas to Houston will feature a bullet train similar to this one. (Courtesy Texas Central Partners/Community Impact Newspaper)
Texas Supreme Court declines to review high-speed rail case, freeing company up to use eminent domain

Texas Central, the company looking to build a 236-mile high-speed rail line connecting Houston and Dallas, has been given a big win in an ongoing legal battle over whether the company is legally recognized as a "railroad company" under state law.

baseball jerseys, two baseball bats and three baseball gloves
Not Just Soccer athletic apparel, equipment store to open in Southlake June 25

Not Just Soccer offers athletic apparel, youth and adult clothes, cleats and other equipment.

Bojangles recently announced it signed a franchise agreement to open a new location in Richardson. (Courtesy Bojangles)
Bojangles fried chicken coming to Richardson; bar and grill opens at Grapevine golf course and more DFW-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.