The developer of Sienna Plantation, Silverlake and Fall Creek is planning a residential
community just north of The Woodlands.
The more than 2,500-acre project, called Woodforest, will
have some 4,700 homes as well as commercial properties when fully developed,
Johnson Development Corp. said.
The community is yet another sign that residential growth
is continuing to spread beyond Beltway 8 and into new territory.
In addition to Woodforest's northern location, the community
will share other characteristics with its neighbor.
Like The Woodlands, it will have a wide range of housing
in a heavily wooded surrounding with plenty of parks and nature trails.
"The Woodlands has proven very successful offering a wide
variety of housing choices and a highly amenitized community," said Doug Goff,
senior vice president and director of land development for Johnson Development.
Located in southern Montgomery County, the project will
surround the Woodforest Golf Club, a championship course designed by Steve
Elkington that opened in 2001 east of Honea Egypt Road between FM 2854 and
FM 1488. The development also will be accessible from the future Fish Creek
thoroughfare, which will connect the area to Conroe to the north.
Woodforest is 38 miles from the center of Houston, a fact
that doesn't concern its developers.
"In many respects, our commute will be comparable to the
commute that residents of The Woodlands have," Goff said. "We don't have any
concerns about its location and proximity to employment centers."
Realtor Pam Shaw said the northern Harris and southern
Montgomery County area is booming because the commute tends to be shorter than
areas west of town where traffic can be heavier.
Shaw also noted the importance of nearby amenities like
hospitals, colleges and entertainment venues.
"The brilliance of these planned communities is they can
do so much within them that takes care of everyone's needs," said Shaw, broker
of record for Weichert, Realtors-Shaw & Associates in The Woodlands.
Officials at Johnson Development emphasized the community's
Several creeks cross the property's rolling terrain. The
land includes more than 500 acres within the 100-year flood plain that will
be preserved in their natural state for recreational uses.
The community will have walking trails, which is the No.
1 amenity of choice according to customer surveys, Goff said. Such trails give
residents the ability "to reconnect with nature."
A recreation center and "splash pad" for children will
be another draw for buyers, said Virgil Yoakum, vice president and general
manager of Woodforest. Yoakum recently joined Johnson Development after almost
30 years at The Woodlands Development Co.
To serve another segment of the population, several hundred
acres will likely be set aside for the development of townhomes, apartments
and active-adult housing for retirees or those nearing retirement age.
Homes in Woodforest, which will be served by the Montgomery
and Conroe school districts, will range from the mid-$100,000s to more than
Builders will be selected next year, Goff said.
The first section of lots will be ready for home construction
by early 2008.
Founded in 1975, Johnson Development has been involved
in numerous master-planned communities in the Houston area, including Sienna
Plantation in Missouri City, Silverlake in Brazoria County and Fall Creek in