DANIEL CLIFTON • EDITOR
MARBLE FALLS — When the first homes in the Gregg Ranch development are ready in late 2017, it will fill a need local leaders have been eyeing for some time.
“Gregg Ranch is crucially important to Marble Falls,” said Christian Fletcher, director of the Marble Falls Economic Development Corp. “New, moderately priced housing in a master-planned development will help us attract young workers and their families to the community.”
Gregg Ranch, a development of Harvard Investments out of Scottsdale, Arizona, will eventually encompass 240 acres in the Texas 71-U.S. 281 area south of downtown Marble Falls. When it’s completely built out, officials expect about 700 residential homes.
Harvard Investments has been developing properties in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona for more than 30 years, including properties in the Austin and San Antonio areas. But this is the first time the development company has looked at Marble Falls.
Chris Cacheris, senior vice president of Harvard Investments, said when a person he knew mentioned Marble Falls to him and invited him and other company leaders to take a look at it, they saw great potential in the area.
“We came here to look at opportunities in Austin, but during this, we were showed Marble Falls,” he said. “There were quite a few things that made this a place we were interested in.”
One of those was the new Baylor Scott & White Medical Center. As Harvard Investment officials began looking deeper into the potential of doing something in the Marble Falls area, one thing they kept hearing was the lack of homes starting below $300,000.
“When we met with management of the hospital and other leaders in the area, we started hearing the same thing, ‘When people come out here looking for a place to live, they just can’t find anything in that price point,’” Cacheris said. “We started seeing the real need for homes below the $300,000 price point.”
Fletcher said any new homes are a major benefit to the area.
“At this point, any new housing produce in Marble Falls is selling quickly because of the severe shortage of ‘normal’ houses in the market today,” he said.
Even as new homes come on-line, they often jump in value and price because of the limited supply.
This often forces people to either live elsewhere and commute to their Marble Falls jobs or simply work elsewhere.
Gregg Ranch, Cacheris said, can help meet that demand.
But it’s not just about the homes, he said. One of the things to which Harvard Investments is committed is a world-class development.
“In designing the community, we’re big believers in a fair amount of green space, trails and outdoor living,” he said. “The main amenities people want are walking trails. We’re even talking to the city about how to incorporate our trails with what they’re already doing.”
Cacheris added that the city of Marble Falls, its staff, the EDC and others in the community have been exceptional to work with throughout the process.
The next big step includes getting homebuilders on board, he added.
The first homes, he said, should be up and ready by the end of 2017.
“We’re excited about what this will mean for Marble Falls,” Cacheris added.
Fletcher agreed that a development of this size and price point definitely could mean a boost to the local community.
“So with Gregg Ranch, people will have the opportunity to live here and work here rather than moving to an outlying area or community long distances,” he said.