Springwoods Village poised to continue growth spurt in 2018 with retail and commercial development in CityPlace

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Springwoods Village poised to continue growth spurt in 2018
Image description
Springwoods Village poised to continue growth spurt in 2018
Springwoods Village, a master-planned community resting on almost 2,000 acres north of the Grand Parkway at I-45, will see several major business openings this year and is poised to continue development at a steady pace into the next decade, developers said.

While the residential aspects of the community have developed more slowly than originally projected, Warren Wilson, executive vice president of the community developer CDC Houston, said he is pleased with the project’s progress as it marches toward a goal of about 4,500 residential units and as many as 15,000 residents at build-out.

About 700-750 residents are now living in the community’s single-family and multifamily dwellings, Wilson said.

However, that number falls short of the estimate given in 2014 by Keith Simon, CDC Houston executive vice president and director of development. Simon projected 1,200 people could be living in the community by the end of 2015.

Wilson said residential growth will come when the market is ready.

“It’s a matter of when [developers] want to move forward. When the market is right, and when we’re ready, we’ll bring that on,” he said.

Although the residential portions of the community are still gathering momentum, other major components of the development, such as the 171,000-square-foot shopping center The Market at Springwoods Village and CityPlace, a 60-acre mixed-use urban district, will see several large strides forward this year.

Marlisa Briggs, executive director of North Houston Association, a nonprofit organization that advocates for area business interests, said she believes developments like Springwoods Village, which began with the construction of campuses for ExxonMobil and Southwestern Energy, will have positive repercussions throughout the region.

“Major corporate campuses always bring with them supporting businesses,” Briggs said. “This creates synergy that provides an excellent foundation for a dynamic business climate.’

Market to grow

Retail and restaurant activity began to take shape in early 2017 at The Market at Springwoods Village, which includes 19 tenants and eight remaining retail spaces.

Among the businesses already open in the center are a Kroger grocery store; eateries, such as Torchy’s Tacos, MOD Pizza and Tarka Indian Kitchen; and services, including Banfield Pet Hospital, Natural Pawz, Edible Arrangements and Nails of America.

Two restaurants are slated to open in April—California-based Jinya Ramen Bar and B.GOOD, a farm-to-table, fast-casual chain. This will be the first Texas location for B.GOOD.

Abe Pacetti, vice president of investments for the shopping center’s developer, Regency Centers, said Hurricane Harvey did result in some leasing setbacks as the region recovered, but The Market did not flood.

Pacetti said the center will expand by 150,000 to 200,000 square feet in the future, but the timeline is not yet clear.

“Although plans for Phase 2 aren’t finalized, our goal is to create an appropriate mix of entertainment, retail and service users that will further enhance the shopping and dining experience we’ve created in Phase 1,” he said.

CityPlace openings

In addition to the retail and residential components, one of the keystones of Springwood Village development is the 60-acre CityPlace, the urban mixed-use district at the heart of Springwoods Village that will house several large corporate office buildings and supporting amenities within the next year.

In late 2018, the Marriott CityPlace hotel and CityPlace Plaza, a public gathering space, are expected to open. The American Bureau of Shipping will also complete its headquarters this year, said Robert Fields, president and CEO of the Patrinely Group, which is developing CityPlace with CDC Houston.

ABS provides classification services to the marine industries and will occupy the first office building to open in the complex, CityPlace 2.

HP Inc. will also occupy a campus just east of CityPlace, connected by a bridge to CityPlace Plaza.

Fields said he believes the proximity to I-45, the Hardy Toll Road and the Grand Parkway are key for attracting tenants to the site. Office space, multifamily living space and retail space will comprise future development at the site, he said.

“We are also close to finalizing a deal with a best-in-class fitness operator,” Fields said.

Another component of the CityPlace development, The Mark at CityPlace apartment building, opened in 2017, and the Star Cinema Grill, the community’s first major entertainment tenant, is slated for the second quarter of 2019.

Fields said he believes the timelines for the project’s developments are in line with his expectations for how CityPlace would take shape.

“While demand drivers have changed regionally over the past two years due to the energy slowdown, activity at CityPlace has, in fact, increased significantly,” Fields said.

Future development at CityPlace could include places to eat, drink, buy clothing and other stores that would appeal to cinema-goers, Wilson said.

“We want to be a part of that mental map that the person looks at and says … let’s stay at CityPlace, let’s go to the movies at CityPlace,” Wilson said.

Residential struggles

Two neighborhoods are partially built and occupied in Springwoods Village, but the population is still lower than what developers expect it to be at build-out, with about 4,500 residential units projected, including multifamily projects. Two apartment buildings are operational: 342-unit The Belvedere and 268-unit The Mark at CityPlace, which opened in 2014 and 2017, respectively.

Spring ISD Chief Financial Officer Ann Westbrooks said the number of students from Springwoods Village, which is zoned to SISD, has been low in the first few years of the project, but it holds the possibility for growth over time.

Two students from Springwoods Village attend Northgate Crossing Elementary School, which is zoned to accommodate additional residential growth in that development. Students from the community will attend Twin Creeks Middle School and Spring High School.

The two single-family residential developments in place in Springwoods Village are the Sullivan Brothers Builders’ Harper Woods community and Taylor Morrison’s Audubon Grove community, which broke ground in 2013.

Fewer than half of the planned 89 homes have been completed in Harper Woods, said Chris Tomhave, director of sales and marketing for Sullivan Brothers Builders.

“I think that we felt some of those slowdowns, but we’re picking momentum back up in 2018,” Tomhave said.

The 16-acre development has 34 homes on the ground, of which nine are inventory homes for sale and two were pending sale in mid-March. An additional 54 lots are available on the site, and new construction is expected to break ground in the summer, Tomhave said. The average price of a 2,300-square-foot home in Harper Woods is about $440,000, he said.

The Mark at CityPlace apartment building, which opened in 2017, is 40 percent leased, housing about 100 residents, said Rebecca Luks, vice president of Martin Fein.

Martin Fein’s other apartment building in the community, The Belvedere, is  85 percent leased, with 350 residents, Luks said. About a third of the residents in each building work in Springwoods Village, she said.

Amy Smythe Harris, broker and owner of Urban Provision Realtors, which serves the Spring and Klein area, said many of her buyers in the oil and gas industry are looking for new construction, but are looking for more established neighborhoods. The oil and gas downturn did affect some buyers’ decisions when considering homes priced at more than $300,000, she said.

“They’re not going to make big buying decisions because they’re not sure what’s going to happen with their jobs,” Smythe Harris said.

However, the proximity to I-45 and the Grand Parkway makes the area attractive for buyers, she said.

“They will take off, because there’s a lot of new construction—especially when they get more developed,” Smythe Harris said.

Emergency services, health care

Since Cypress Creek Emergency Medical Services opened Station 513 on Springwoods Village Parkway in February 2016, there has been steady growth in the number of calls it has received—about 7 percent each year, CCEMS Public Information Officer Norm Uhl said.

About two-thirds of the calls are responses to homes, about one-quarter are street- or highway-related, and the remainder are calls are to businesses, Uhl said.

Robert Logan, assistant fire chief with Spring Fire Department, said the department’s Station 70 also has seen  an increase in the number of service calls since it opened in 2016—from 891 in 2016 to 1,166 calls in 2017.

“As the area continues to grow and develop, we expect the need for service to increase,” Logan said.

The community also has access to a hospital, CHI-St. Luke’s Health-Springwoods Village Hospital, which opened its first phase on East Mossy Oaks Road in early 2016, including an emergency department and inpatient rooms.

The timeline for the second phase of the hospital opening is still being determined, said Jim Parisi, president of CHI St. Luke’s Health-The Woodlands, Lakeside and Springwoods Village hospitals.

“The demands of the community will be our biggest indicator for the next phase,” Parisi said.

Editor's note: In one reference to The Mark at CityPlace apartment building, it was noted as having opened in 2016. The building opened in 2017. The story has been updated to reflect the correct year.

Additionally, a sentence was removed stating that land is set aside for a potential elementary school in Springwoods Village. District officials retracted the statement, noting that there is not currently land set aside for that purpose.

By Vanessa Holt
A resident of the Houston area since 2011, Vanessa began working in community journalism in her home state of New Jersey in 1996. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2016 as a reporter for the Spring/Klein edition and became editor of that paper in March 2017 and editor of The Woodlands edition in January 2019.