Two large ranches in Denton could soon become two very large housing developments. Questions remain, however, on how to pay for the infrastructure needed to support thousands of new homes. Developers and city leaders are working on a possible solution.
Representatives of the developers, Hillwood and Stratford, gave a presentation to Denton City Council during a work session this week. Hillwood hopes to develop the Hunter Ranch, off Interstate 35W, while Stratford seeks to do the same on property just to the north, the Cole Ranch. Combined, the master planned communities would include more than 15,000 single family homes and 5,000 apartment units.
I-35W on Denton's west side provides something that's becoming more and more rare in North Texas. Wide open land, prime for development.
“We've been working to develop that side of the city for several years,” said Bryan Langley, Denton’s deputy city manager.
The issue for developers is a lack of infrastructure on the 6,000 acres between the two ranches, which make up the proposed development site. To pay for infrastructure, the developers have asked the city of Denton to approve the creation of a Municipal Management District, which would allow a tax on people who live in those developments, to pay for roads, water, sewer and other infrastructure.
“This is a very major development,” said Langley. “We say 6,000 acres, it’s hard to wrap your mind around what that means. But this is really putting the city of Flower Mound on our west side."
Hillwood has experience with MMD’s in some of its other developments, including Pecan Square in Argyle, said Brian Carlock, senior vice president of acquisitions. Carlock told city officials the project, if approved, would take up to 40 years to build, and would add $14 billion dollars in property values.
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If the city of Denton approves the MMD, the Texas State Legislature would have to approve it also. City leaders say such a large development could help attract new retail and corporate business to the west side of Denton. Developers will meet with the city again early next month. A move which could pave the way for big changes -- and big growth -- in Denton.