Saturday, January 10, 1998

Newland-Texas buys 1,500 acres with frontage on I-35

Developers buy big tract along I-35

Californians want to build 1,510-acre community between Round Rock and Georgetown

January 10, 1998

Dylan Rivera
Austin American-Statesman
Copyright 1998

ROUND ROCK -- A California developer has bought the 1,510-acre Nash Ranch between Round Rock and Georgetown, opening the way for construction of 3,000 homes and 225 acres of office space and light industry.

Newland Associates of La Jolla has bought the property for an undisclosed price, said Jim Powell, vice president of Newland-Texas.

Real estate experts say that the Mary Nash family ranch -- with frontage on Interstate 35 -- is a gem that developers have been eyeing for years.

"It's got to be one of the major acquisitions for development in the last decade for the Austin
metropolitan area,'' said Jerry Heare, a broker with Commercial Industrial Properties, which lists property in that part of Williamson County. The ranch is "probably the single largest tract of land between Austin and Georgetown yet to be developed with interstate frontage,'' Heare said.

Newland wants to build a master-planned community with heavy landscaping and deed restrictions ensuring quality design for houses that would sell from $90,000
to $500,000. It could take 10 to 12 years for the community to be built out, Powell said.

The company has developed and managed more than 25 master-planned communities nationwide, including two in the Houston area, Greatwood and Cinco Ranch. The Nash Ranch purchase is the company's first development in the Austin area.

"The only thing like this in Central Texas is Circle C, and that's not nearly as planned as this is,'' said Pete Peters, spokesman for Newland-Texas.

The land purchase closed Thursday, but because of an agreement with the Nash family, officials would not discuss the terms of the sale, such as whether entire 1,510 acres was paid for in full or how it was financed.

What is clear is that Newland controls the tract, Peters said.

Newland expects to start construction by the fourth quarter of 1998 on utilities, four sections of houses and a golf course that will anchor the community. That initial phase will be located just north of Chandler Road.

The company also will market 225 acres that front I-35 for office and light industrial development, Powell said.

"I don't foresee a manufacturing facility,'' Powell said. "It's planned to have an office campus out front, but that may include some clean industrial use.''

A final phase of development, on which construction probably would start no sooner than seven years from now, would include more residential sections in the Westinghouse Road area, Powell said.

The land is almost completely in the extraterritorial jurisdiction of Round Rock, except for about 385 acres straddling Westinghouse Road that are in Georgetown's jurisdiction. The land is in neither city's boundaries.

Round Rock Mayor Charlie Culpepper said Friday that the development will be good for the city and the region.

Culpepper said he expects that Round Rock will annex the parts of the community that are in its jurisdiction as they are built. The southern part of the tract is next to the city's water and sewer lines on Chandler Road.

Round Rock and Georgetown will work together to provide sewer services to the northern portion of the tract, Culpepper said.

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