CONNIE SWINNEY • STAFF WRITER
MARBLE FALLS — In an effort to launch a large-scale housing project, private developers will fund water and wastewater extensions to the planned Gregg Ranch development at the intersection of U.S. 281 and Texas 71, officials said.
“It’s the first phase of the largest master-plan development in the city,” said Marble Falls Assistant City Manager Caleb Kraenzel.
The city council recently cleared the way for Arizona-based Harvard Investments to begin the permitting process in the first phase of the planned development.
Gregg Ranch is proposed to encompass approximately 240 acres in the southern-most city limits of Marble Falls.
When completed, officials expect about 700 residential homes. The first phase involves 150 lots on 45 acres.
“It’s significant because one component is the layout of phase one. The other component is the engineering for the layout component,” Kraenzel said. “The developers are paying for everything — all of the infrastructure on site and off site.
“They’re extending the water and sewer from the hospital,” he added. “This is going to be the main entrance fronting 281 just south of 71.”
As crews begin work on infrastructure, developers could start the process of marketing sites to builders, which is expected to spur the economy.
“They’re assuming the risk of their investments,” Kraenzel said of the developer and builders. “When the houses come out of the ground, it will help the hospital and be a job creator.
“It will help local businesses with workforce housing,” he added.
Developers are expected to take steps to recoup the cost of the infrastructure by potentially pursuing Public Improvement District (PID) status.
“It’s a financial mechanism the developer can impose for paying for some of the major infrastructure improvements,” Kraenzel said. “They’re extending the water and sewer from the hospital. Once it’s built, the developer will take the step of having the city take over the infrastructure.”
Construction of the homes — starting in the mid-$200,000 range — potentially could begin in late 2017 or early 2018 in the first phase.
“It’s filling a demand in the local housing market,” Kraenzel said. “The development will add much-needed single-home lots to the city based on the fact the city has had many lots built on in the Mormon Mill area.”
Harvard Investments has developed properties in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona for about 30 years including some in the greater Austin and San Antonio areas.