March 9, 2017
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Earlier this year, Travis County commissioners approved development plans for Thomas Ranch, a 2,200-acre, master-planned community near Spicewood, TX, northwest of Austin. Connect Media queried Tom D’Alesandro, Thomas Ranch’s lead developer and president of Blakefield LLC, about the make-up of one of Texas’ newest planned communities.
Q. First of all, congratulations on receiving approval for Thomas Ranch from the Travis County Commissioners. When you first started purchasing property in this area back in the mid-1990s, was this the end result you had in mind?
A. When the property was assembled, the owners envisioned a conservation-minded community. Our master development plan that the county approved captures this vision.
Q. There are a lot of MPCs throughout the Austin area. How will Thomas Ranch differ from some of the others?
A. We took a “design with nature” approach to laying out the community. It’s the land-planning discipline that was used in The Woodlands [in Texas, north of Houston], and it starts with the preservation of the most sensitive land. In our master development plan, we started with preservation of the most important open spaces on the property, and designed the community around these spaces.
We plan to have a wide array of housing options available at different price points, all at market rates. Housing options would include everything from apartments, to 1,500 square-foot cottage homes, and 4,000-square-foot to 5,000-square-foot custom homes on multi-acre lots.
We’re also committed to creating some great gathering places in the future-planned marketplace, as well as the resort hotel and spa. We want to ensure residents will have a relaxed social life in a beautiful natural setting.
Q. What will you be doing for the remainder of 2017?
A. The master development plan that the county approved only establishes a template for the portion of the 2,200 acres that is in Travis County. Our next steps are to prepare plats of the initial neighborhoods and utilities. All aspects of the development must be submitted to the county for its approval.
In 2017, we intend to work on the plats and submit to the county for approval. We expect construction of the community’s infrastructure to begin in 2018, and plan for construction on houses to begin in 2019.
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