Hammer time: Have a hard hat handy? Houston-based Trendmaker Homes is bullish on area residential communities, as evidenced by the way it’s snapping up land and lots. For starters, Trendmaker, a top Houston-area builder, has acquired 100 lots in Hitchcock’s luxury community Harborwalk. Trendmaker plans to build homes in the $500,000 price range at the 550-acre Harborwalk, a development 2.4 miles west of Interstate 45 on state Highway 6 known for million-dollar homes.
Trendmaker also recently purchased the remaining 20 lots in Victory Lakes, a master-planned neighborhood along FM 646 just off Interstate-45 South in League City.
But what’s caused the biggest area buzz is Trendmaker’s announcement this month it would build a 700-home development on 372 acres just north of the intersection of Clear Lake City and El Dorado boulevards. This is the first major residential project in Clear Lake City proper since the 1990s. Friendswood Development Corp. began Clear Lake City in the 1960s. At its peak, the development generated new homes sales of up to 1,000 a year. The Clear Lake area had mostly been built out, sending residential development south to League City. Trendmaker acquired the 372 acres from Fidelis Realty Partners. It was the last remaining parcel for a large residential development.
Why did it take so long for homes to rise at the site? Initially, the land was not envisioned for single-family development, said Will Holder, president of Trendmaker Homes.
“It had some very old deed restrictions on it,” Holder said.
It took a few years to change the rules to allow for the single-family development.
Trendmaker, which has both land development and home construction divisions, will develop 690 lots. Trendmaker will likely build half the number of houses at the development and sell the remaining lots to other builders. Community amenities will include swimming pools, dog parks and walking/jogging trails.
Related retail: Meanwhile, Fidelis Realty Partners is still in the picture. Fidelis, which manages 40 Houston area shopping centers, including Baybrook Square in Webster, plans to develop about 300,000 square feet of retail space at two corners of the intersection of Clear Lake City and El Dorado boulevards. About 50 tenants would fill the retail center, according to reports. No word on the identities of those tenants, however.
Lot shortage: Demand for new homes is there, Holder said. The Houston area is experiencing a lot shortage for quality home sites and new lot deliveries have been outpaced by new homebuilder starts 2-to-1 in the past three years, Holder said. Look for new homes to begin rising in the first quarter next year. Completion of the subdivision is expected to take about five years.
Lagniappe: Now, back to Harborwalk in Hitchcock. Along with Trendmaker’s acquisition of 100 lots, much is happening as Austin-based development firm Legend Communities moves ahead with re-branding the development. Look this spring for Floyd’s Cajun Seafood and Texas Steakhouse to take over the restaurant at Harborwalk’s yacht club. Floyd’s, with four locations in Texas, will be open to the public. The Cajun concept is heavily influenced by the Gulf Coast, including décor, ambience, cuisine and attitude, according to its website.
Legend Communities closed on the acquisition of Harborwalk in May. A developer of single- and multifamily residential and associated commercial projects, Legend Communities bought Harborwalk from BBVA Compass, which took possession of it from Harborwalk LP, the original developer. Legend Communities, which has developed projects in Central Texas, California and Colorado, said it would re-brand the property, emphasizing the authenticity of the original Flamingo Isles project long-ago planned at the site. Altogether, Harborwalk has 380 lots. Stay tuned.
Nice buns: Today is the day some island sandwich lovers have long been waiting for — Schlotzsky’s-Cinnabon-Carvel opens at 10 a.m., 500 Seawall Blvd. The first 100 people to buy a Cinnabon six-pack will get free Schlotzsky’s for a year, among other giveaways, prizes and promotions. Cynde Whitson, who owns Schlotzsky’s franchises in League City and Texas City, is the franchise owner.
Brown-bag bummer. After five and half years, The Lunchbox Café, 213 23rd St. in the island’s downtown, has closed. As of last week, owners Laura Hurt and Daya Myers were selling off kitchen and restaurant equipment, including a two-door cooler, a sandwich station, Bunn coffee brewer and a Wisco stove. Myers, who last week said she was too busy to talk, declined to elaborate when contacted by Biz Buzz. Those in the know report Myers has taken a chef position at a Houston restaurant. The Lunchbox Café was popular for sandwiches, salads and sweets.
Buzz blooper: An error was edited into one sentence of this column Jan. 24 about Sunflower Bakery & Cafe. That sentence should have said: “The couple purchased the 23rd Street building late last year as an investment and are considering eatery-related possibilities for the space.” Sunflower owners have three years remaining on their lease at Columbus Street Market, 512 14th St., a building owned by Ed Eubanks and Al Fichera.
Coming Thursday: What’s all that digging going on next to Shipley Do-Nuts, 5401 Broadway in Galveston? What’s the status of Boudreaux’s on the Bayou on the island? Which Texas City-bank just opened its first Houston branch? When will Bone Daddy’s serve up a grand opening in Webster? Find out in Thursday’s Biz Buzz.