The first rooftops are nearly complete at Lago Mar — the largest proposed master-planned community in the area — and those homeowners could be in as early as the end of the year, the developer said.

To date, builder Gehan Homes, one of several in the development, has pre-sold eight homes, said Collin Campbell, Lago Mar Project Manager for developer Land Tejas. Builder Westin Homes is expected to finish its model home within the next 45 days.

The developer is now working to get power, gas and cable lines to serve the homes, Campbell said.

“The homes you see are already under contract and hopefully those folks will be in their new home by Christmas or New Year,” Campbell said.

Lago Mar is one of the largest mixed-use projects ever to be planned in the county. Its developer projects 1 million square feet of houses, restaurants, hotels and offices to eventually surface at the site. The development is also expected to shift a major share of Texas City’s mass west across Interstate 45.

But the city will not likely see a huge increase in the property taxes it collects from the development until 2036 because of the terms of Lago Mar’s Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone.

Lago Mar is under a 30-year contract, which started in 2006, that stipulates any increase in taxes collected from development in the area will be spent on specific projects for the area, Texas City City Engineer Doug Kneupper said.

Commercial properties in Lago Mar will inject more sales tax revenue into Texas City’s economy, Kneupper said.

“It has economic development opportunity,” Kneupper said. “The commercial development there, like Tanger Outlets, make the area a regional destination.”

Altogether, Lago Mar land encompasses 3,350 acres east and west of Interstate 45; Land Tejas controls 2,033 acres on the west side. It alone plans to develop more than 4,000 home sites. Unaffiliated owners control the remaining land on the east side of Interstate 45.

The first phase of Land Tejas’ Lago Mar development — the two main entries are at Exit 16/Holland Road and at Lago Mar Boulevard, one mile south of there — will include 520 home sites, Land Tejas officials have said.

The development has been in the works since 2006, but was delayed because of the housing market crash, Campbell said. Construction was also delayed last year because of heavier than usual rain, he said.

Land Tejas expects the full build-out of more than 4,000 homes will take at least the next decade, Campbell said. That building will be dependent on home sales.

Developers are hopeful employees from the nearby petrochemical industry and the University of Texas Medical Branch will be attracted to the master-planned community, he said. The island lacks new housing stock except on the beach or on canals, which are often more expensive than the $250,000 to $375,000 range expected at Lago Mar, Campbell said.

The M Group, a Houston builder and architecture firm, is constructing a 232-unit apartment complex on the Lago Mar development. The apartments will likely be available for rent by April or May, Campbell said.

Dickinson Independent School District, which is where students in the community will attend, has already started planning for an influx of new students.

Dickinson school district voters in May approved a $70 million bond for a new junior high school, which school district officials said in part is needed to keep up with anticipated growth from the Lago Mar development.

Contact reporter Marissa Barnett at 409-683-5257 or marissa.barnett@galvnews.com.

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