Editor's note: The foundation's charitable distribution since its founding was corrected.

A new master-planned community is coming to the Richmond area following a 1,500-acre land sale in George Ranch, which is about 21,000 acres of mostly farmland in Fort Bend County.

However, the land sale won’t affect the 475-acre park reserved for tours and educational opportunities, as it's core to the foundation’s mission, The George Foundation CEO Roger Adamson said.

“No matter what happens around it, in terms of development, those 475 acres will always remain and that is an asset—a community asset, a public asset—for education, for green space,” he said. “It’s a living history experience that about 25,000 school kids every year come visit and learn about Texas history, learn about the history of our community in a hands-on environment.”

The details

The board of trustees for The George Foundation, the charitable organization that owns the land, voted to sell the parcel near FM 2977 at Koeblen Road to Johnson Development, according to a March 18 news release from the foundation.

The land purchase—the dollar amount of which was not shared—will help the foundation continue donating to Fort Bend County nonprofits and providing scholarships. The foundation has donated about $300 million since its founding in 1945, Adamson said.

Project details

Details on Johnson Development’s new 1,500-acre community haven’t been shared, and a timeline for build-out isn’t available, according to the release.

The foundation’s land will be the ninth Fort Bend County community for Johnson Development, which also developed Sienna in Missouri City and Riverstone in Sugar Land, according to the release.

“This is a historic moment in land development in Fort Bend County and the Houston region,” Johnson Development President and CEO Michael Smith said in the release. “We look forward to showing regional residents the value and quality of life we can bring to the table and will be careful stewards of the land as well as the legacy of [company founder] Larry Johnson and The George Ranch.”

The history

Several properties in Fort Bend County make up George Ranch, which was roughly 21,000 acres prior to the 1,500-acre land sale. Of that, 475 acres at 10215 FM 762, Richmond, is reserved for the historic area known as The George Ranch, formerly called the George Ranch Historical Park, Adamson said.

In January the foundation rebranded the park and created The Historic George Ranch Association to take over management of the park from the Fort Bend History Association.

The George Ranch offers tours and educational opportunities where visitors can learn about the ranch’s history, which began in 1824 when Henry and Nancy Jones received the land as part of Stephen F. Austin’s “Old Three Hundred,” according to The George Ranch website.
The George Ranch offers tours and educational opportunities where visitors can learn about the ranch’s history. (Courtesy The George Foundation)
About 25,000 school children visit The George Ranch annually to learn about Texas history. (Courtesy The George Foundation)
What’s next

While this is the most significant land sale in the foundation’s 80-year history, it might not be its last, Adamson said.

“I think the monetization of our property of The George Foundation’s real estate assets is a significant part of our financial strategy for the future,” he said. “While we do think there will be additional monetization in the future, we don’t see that being something in the shorter term at the George Ranch, but it is part of the long-term strategy.”

However, he said the foundation understands the significance of the land to the community. The land is important to Adamson as well, as he grew up hunting and fishing on the property, he said.

“We understand that the agriculture, that the rural history of our community, all those things are important to people, it's important to me, ... so it's not a decision we take lightly by any means,” he said.