Coventry Development Corporation purchased 1,800 acres off of I-45 and the Hardy Toll Road in 1961 and sat on the land for 47 years, waiting for the right job creator. ExxonMobil came along in 2008 and Springwoods Village has been under development ever since. With employees already relocating to the 386-acre campus and construction scheduled for completion in 2015, the master-planned community is becoming a reality.
"There will be more than 12,000 people working in Springwoods Village, and by that time we'll have about 1,200 people living in Springwoods Village as well [by the end of 2015]," Coventry Executive Vice President Keith Simon said. "There will be a lot of activity in that area in the next 12-18 months. That's a big priority for us to get that going and get those amenities for the people who live and work there."
Springwoods Village will accommodate a population of 15,000 people and as many as 35,000-45,000 employees upon completion.
Commercial development is well underway with the relocation of 10,000 ExxonMobil employees having begun in late March.
Construction is also nearing completion of the first phase of Southwestern Energy's campus, a 10-story, 580,000-square-foot campus, which could be completed by the end of the year, Simon said.
Another 10-acre site south of Southwestern Energy was sold to a company last fall, Simon said, with an announcement expected in the near future.
He said the first phase of residential developers are already selling homes and leasing apartments. Leasing manager Jason Cohen said five apartments have been pre-leased at the Belvedere Apartments, a 342-unit complex on Mossy Oaks Road.
Cohen said the developer, Martin Fein, has received interest from ExxonMobil and Southwestern Energy employees as well as residents of the area who are looking to relocate to the development.
"It's not just people relocating from Fairfax, [Va.] with Exxon[Mobil]," Cohen said. "It's people from the area who are interested as well, which shows you that word is getting around. It's exciting to see the local response."
The first phase of the complex will open May 10. It features a clubhouse and amenities for residents, Cohen said. Martin Fein might also be interested in future residential projects in Springwoods Village, particularly in Town Center, he said.
Taylor Morrison opened its model home in January in Audubon Grove, a 51-unit single-family home development, while Sullivan Brothers plans for a May opening for its model home in Harper Woods, an 88-unit development with single-family homes and townhomes.
The second phase of residential development may also begin next year, as Coventry is already having preliminary discussions with home builders, Simon said.
Several transportation projects have broken ground to alleviate the congestion added by the master-planned community. Mark Seegers, Harris County Precinct 4 Communications Director, said development within Springwoods Village will inevitably exacerbate traffic in the region.
"For the people who already live there, the traffic is already there," Seegers said. "We still haven't seen the true impact. There's going to be a lot of people who live downtown or in Greenspoint who are going to be driving to those offices. So those east-west connectors and north-south connectors are [important]."
Seegers said Spring Stuebner Road, just south of Springwoods Village, has experienced an increase in traffic as Harris County continues to widen the road from two lanes to four lanes from Kuykendahl Road to I-45. The project will be completed by the end of the year and will improve congestion for motorists driving from as far west as Tomball.
Holzwarth Road—a key north-south corridor for Springwoods Village—is also undergoing construction, he said. The four-lane thoroughfare will extend from Springwoods Village south through Spring Stuebner to FM 2920. Seegers said the county has also been working with Coventry to make sure roadways within Springwoods Village are in line with Harris County standards as the roads will likely be turned over to the county in the future for maintenance.
The Harris County Improvement District No. 18, which serves the development, has completed about $75 million in infrastructure projects within the development, including roads, a water plant, a storm water system, a waste water system and a duct bank system, which allows for the future installation of underground utilities, Simon said.
With an expected completion set for the end of 2015, Segments F-1, F-2 and G of the Grand Parkway will also alleviate east-west traffic, connecting Houston's third outer loop from Hwy. 290 to Hwy. 59.
"[Grand Parkway is] a game changer, because it provides that east-west mobility," Simon said. "Without it, I-45 would have just been a complete mess with the growth that's occurring."
Students who live in Springwoods Village will be split among Spring and Klein ISDs, with most of the community served by Spring and some students on the western edge attending Klein ISD schools.
Christine Porter, associate superintendent for fiscal and human resources for Spring ISD, said land has been donated within the development for what will likely be an elementary school campus.
"To build the school, the Spring ISD community would need to approve a bond authorization," Porter said. "That is probably a year or two away because we're going through a superintendent search."
Spring ISD expects to see substantial growth from the community and is currently zoned for Northgate Crossing Elementary, Twin Creeks Middle School and Spring High School, Porter said. A possible future intermediate school is planned to serve Springwoods Village next to Northgate Crossing at I-45 and the Hardy Toll Road. The district may also consider renovations to Spring High.
"Our high schools overall are nearing overcrowdedness, and we have to think about how we handle our high schools," she said.
Spring ISD expects to see students from Springwoods Village as early as the upcoming school year. However, demographers do not expect students to attend Klein ISD until as late as 2019, said Judy Rimato, associate superintendent for communications and planning for Klein ISD. The ExxonMobil and Southwestern Energy campuses and other employers within the development could still have an effect on the district's growth in the meantime, Rimato said.
"We don't expect all of the ExxonMobil people to live in Springwoods Village," she said. "They'll live in neighborhoods that surround that or they might move to the Champions [area]."
Situated in the heart of the 1,800-acre mixed-use development, the Springwoods Village Town Center will house 60 acres of residential, commercial, retail and hospitality development.
Simon said Town Center will feature anywhere from 15–20 commercial buildings in a grid pattern with retail and restaurants on the ground floor.
"It's a very walkable environment with shops and storefronts that lead to parks and pathways," he said.
The office buildings will likely be five-to 10-stories tall and house smaller companies hoping to be near ExxonMobil and Southwestern Energy, Simon said. Two or three multiuse buildings could be completed by next year, with construction set to start on Town Center projects sometime between July and September.
"There's been good demand on the office leasing front as well as retailers who want to be near the development," Simon said.
About 15 acres of the Town Center will feature the community's plaza, scheduled for completion by the end of 2015. The plaza will feature a multifamily residential development and a full-service 300-unit hotel developed by Woodbine Development Corporation.
Simon said Woodbine is developing an extended-stay Residence Inn and two more hotels in Springwoods Village in the future.