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Published 29th Jan. 2015

Castle Hills growing with new corporate park, apartments and retail

 

More than 12,000 people have made a home in the Castle Hills development in Lewisville in the 20 years since the project was started.

Now the 2,600-acre community is entering a new phase of development with the start of construction on thousands of apartments, more retail space and an office park.

“We are probably about 60 percent built out,” said Chris Bright, CEO of Castle Hills developer Bright Realty. “I figure we have another 10 to 15 years’ work left.

“Now we are about 60 percent residential,” Bright said.

With about 3,300 occupied homes, Castle Hills has been one of the most successful suburban residential developments in the Dallas area.

Single-family homes in the project, which includes a country club, central shopping village and neighborhood parks, start at more than $300,000 and go above $1.5 million.

“It’s been one of the most active communities in the metroplex,” said David Brown of housing analyst Metrostudy Inc. “It was in the top 10 in the second half of last year.

“It’s become more of an infill location now as everything has moved to the north. I would expect the final phases to do extremely well.”

Bright said that there is only enough vacant residential property left in Castle Hills for 800 to 900 more single-family homes.

So the developers are turning to commercial land that’s been withheld for higher-density projects.

“The first 15 years at Castle Hills has been about building the residential component,” Bright said. “We had to do that first.”

Construction has started on a 150-acre office and business park at State Highway 121 and Carrollton Parkway.

The Crown Centre Office Park is planned for as much as 3 million square feet of construction. The first office building will have more than 200,000 square feet.

Bright said the location between Interstate 35E and the Dallas North Tollway should be attractive to businesses.

“We’re 11 miles from the north entrance of D/FW Airport on the freeway,” he said. “And we have the single-family housing for the decision makers to live.”

Young professionals

Soon Castle Hills will have high-density rental communities that appeal to young professional workers.

Bright Realty is breaking ground on a 20-acre, 423-unit urban-style apartment project that will be on Castle Hills Drive south of State Highway 121.

The $75 million development is across the street from where Bright plans to build several hundred thousand square feet of shopping and entertainment venues.

“We’ve been talking to theater operators,” Bright said. “There is going to be some office, but the anchor of our project is multiple restaurants.”

Castle Hills is just up the freeway from where Nebraska Furniture Mart is about to open its almost 2 million-square-foot store and distribution center next year at State Highway 121 and Plano Parkway.

The giant furniture complex and surrounding retail are expected to draw thousands of shoppers to the area.

“When they go next door, I get all the benefits without having to accommodate them,” Bright said.

Toyota Motor Corp.’s $350 million North American headquarters campus is also being built nearby, on 121 at Legacy Drive. It will bring almost 4,000 new professional workers to the area.

Preferred lifestyle

The new apartments at Castle Hills and other suburban Dallas residential developments are bringing a lifestyle now preferred by the majority of young office workers.

“You are talking about an integration of single-family homes with apartments, entertainment and retail,” said Greg Willett, vice president of Carrollton-based apartment analyst MPF Research. “We’ve spent the last decade talking about the urban core, and the suburbs are becoming a new interesting story.

“It’s an evolving environment where you are urbanizing suburban locations,” Willett said. “The jobs are already there.”

Adding commercial businesses and Uptown-style apartments at Castle Hills will complete the vision for the plan that dates back to the 1980s.

“I’ve been working on this project for a long time,” Bright said. “My dad bought the first piece of this land in 1952 — the year I was born — for $83,000.

“He had acquired it all by 1966.”

Businessman H.R. “Bum” Bright bought up the farmland northwest of Dallas after studying suburban locations for future development potential. “He wanted to buy as close to downtown Dallas as he could at the lowest price,” Bright said. “Having this land free and clear without debt enabled us to address it carefully over time.

“You have to have the discipline to wait for what makes sense for your development.”


visit: Dallas Morning News

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