Mike Meador, Montgomery County Precinct 1 commissioner, said large-scale residential developments encourage additional commercial development in the area that surrounds them.
“What grows up around these kinds of developments may be as big as the development itself,” Meador said. “Rooftops alone don’t really pay our bills countywide. It is industry and commerce. We are counting on a lot of commercial development that comes up around [residential projects], and it will.”
Meador said he expects development radiating from Houston to continue to move north in Montgomery County because space is running out in high-density areas in the southern end of the county.
Montgomery County’s population is expected to nearly double over the next 20 years, according to the Houston-Galveston Area Council.
Grand Central Park
Johnson Development Corp. is designing the 2,046-acre Grand Central Park development within the city of Conroe. The master-planned community will be integrated with the natural environment of the San Jacinto River corridor and feature a town center, traditional and urban residential options, commercial and retail space and business offices.
Crews could break ground on the Grand Central Park West residential village this year, and new home construction will begin in 2016, according to the development company. The first phase of construction will include 350 home sites within the village. The village will eventually have 500 home sites.
“[Grand Central Park] is a very significant development for us,” Conroe City Administrator Paul Virgadamo said. “Development enhances the property values around it. You will also see more development coming around, especially more retail, because you are bringing in more population.”
The development will also feature a residential village, which could include multifamily homes, townhomes and high-density residential space comparable to an urban area.
Virgil Yoakum, Grand Central Park general manager and vice president, said the city of Conroe and Montgomery County are well-positioned for developments like Grand Central Park, which could create up to 14,000 new jobs.
“I think they are poised at the right place at the right time to receive a fresh, new high-end and upscale community like we are planning for Grand Central Park,” Yoakum said.
He said he expects the company to rise to the occasion.
“We have to earn some respect and receive some confidence that everyone understands that we know what we are doing. We need to deliver. We need to execute.”
Johnson Development also plans to open 336 Marketplace, a regional shopping, dining and entertainment destination, near the residential village in late 2016. Developed by Fidelis Realty Partners, the approximate 112-acre center could feature about 700,000 square feet of retail space, Yoakum said. Johnson Development aims to have some of the major infrastructure in place by the end of the year.
Once complete Yoakum said the development will serve as a regional shopping and dining destination.
“There is no way the few number of rooftops [in the community] would support that development nor the town center,” Yoakum said. “It is definitely regional in its approach.”
Tiger Woods Design and Beacon Land Development are partnering to build Bluejack National, a 755-acre private club and community near the city of Montgomery. The community will feature an 18-hole golf course designed by Tiger Woods, 386 homes and a variety of recreational facilities.
Bluejack National President Casey Paulson said the property will feature estate lots, cottage homes, member suites, Sunday homes and homestead lots. Additionally The Porch, a recreational facility, will feature a bowling alley and game room.
“Families, children and activities have become really what is more important in today’s market,” Paulson said. “We are really trying to have a comprehensive place where people can do anything without having to leave the campus here to have incredible experiences. It has to be all-encompassing nowadays because people’s lives are all-encompassing.”
The 18-hole golf course is scheduled to open in October, and memberships will cost $125,000. Members would then pay about $10,000 in annual dues. Residents will also receive a discounted $75,000 membership incentive price with the purchase of real estate, Paulson said.
Paulson said because the community is so exclusive, Bluejack National is putting extra effort into community programs.
“We [plan] to give back, and I wish everybody could play the golf course,” Paulson said. “We are talking about a local caddy program here and about a scholarship program that [could] go with that.”
Development will affect the more remote parts of the county as well, said Shannan Reid, director of the Montgomery Economic Development Corporation.
“Whether we like it or not, we are in the growth path,” Reid said. “If we participate in this process, we have an opportunity to influence what happens instead of reacting to what other people do [to] us.”