Friday, February 20, 2015

Dallas developer will kick off construction of 7,200-acre Fort Worth residential community

Dallas-based Republic Property Group has landed the job to build one of the largest new residential communities in North Texas.

Republic has been selected as the developer of the 7,200-acre Walsh Ranch on Interstate-20 about 14 miles west of downtown Fort Worth, which eventually could have more than 15,000 homes.

Republic – which is developing the Lantana community near Flower Mound and Light Farms in Celina – was chosen in a competition with developers.

“The Walsh family did a national search to find a development partner,” said Republic co-president Jake Wagner. “They sent the request for proposals to 40 development firms around the country.

“We have been working with them since last year to finalize all of our partnership documents and begin to developing the vision for this community,” Wagner said.

The ranchland, which is located at the intersections of Interstates 20 and 30, has been owned by the F. Howard Walsh family since the 1930s and has been headquarters of their cattle ranching operations.

Starting in the early 2000s the family began long-term planning with the city of Fort Worth for eventual development of the rolling ranchland, Wagner said. The property totals more than 11 square miles.

“This is the largest piece of land within 10 minutes of a major central business district in the whole county,” he said. “For us this tract of land is the ideal landscape for a really unique community.

“It has great highway access and schools.”

Republic’s agreement with the Walsh’s calls for starting development on the first 1,700 acres of the property located along the north side of I-30.

“We are anticipating breaking ground in the late fall or early winter,” said Republic co-president Tony Ruggeri. “We should see homes going up at the end of next year.”

The first phase will include 300 to 500 home sites.

Along with land for single-family home neighborhoods, Walsh Ranch has potential sites for commercial development and apartments. Ultimately the development could total more than $5 billion in value.

“Currently today there are 100,000 cars a day that drive though the site on the interstates,” Ruggeri said.

Republic is working with Austin-based RVI Planning and Landscape Architecture to design the community.

“In Republic Property group we have found a partner who shares our passion and vision,” Malcolm

Louden, president of Walsh Holdings said in a statement. “They are legacy minded in their desire to create a world-class community which will have a positive, lasting impact on the region.”

Walsh Ranch will be the largest development ever by Republic, which has been in business for more than 30 years.

The company built the Stonebridge Ranch community in McKinney.

And Republic is currently developing the Phillips Creek Ranch in Frisco.

Steve Brown, The Dallas Morning News