News Article | 2/21/2011

Hillwood changing its residential development business

Hillwood Development Co., one of the top commercial real estate and residential players in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and across the country, announced Feb. 18 it has established InnovationHillwood, a think tank task force made up of industry veterans and experts on community design, technology, conservation and education.

The inaugural members of the task force will be announced later this year, the developer said in a press release.

“For two decades Hillwood’s name has been synonymous with innovation and master planning excellence,” said Ross Perot Jr., chairman of Hillwood. “The goal for InnovationHillwood is to continue raising that bar and put a discipline around what we do. We are assembling the best in each of these fields to continually guide us to meet our objectives and become even smarter about how we plan our communities.”

The company also is making a subtle shift in its single-family residential development business. A new name, Hillwood Communities, reflects the company’s 22 years of developing master planned communities, and a new tag line called “Live Smart” better represents the developer’s principles of healthy living and environmentally-friendly communities, said Fred Balda, Hillwood Communities president.

Hillwood Communities also said it will announce in the near future several new master planned developments in Texas, the first being Rocky Creek, a 468-acre residential community in Austin, which will open in March.

The company has delivered more than 20,000 single-family lots in more than 60 cities, primarily in North Texas.

AllianceTexas, Hillwood’s major development in north Fort Worth, provided the area with a $2 billion economic impact in 2009, according to a report conducted by Insight Research Corp. and presented to the city of Fort Worth on Feb. 15.

The Alliance project’s overall economic impact to date is $38.5 billion.

According to the report, Alliance Town Center inside of Alliance Texas has grown from a taxable base of about $1.3 million in 2003 to a value of more than $162 million in 2010. The mixed-used growth center also has generated an estimated annual $2.9 million in sales tax revenues for the city of Fort Worth, and has funded regional transportation improvements through TIF 7, including North Tarrant Parkway and North Riverside Drive.

Current projects under way at Alliance include a 750,000-square-foot Class A training center at Deloitte University that will employ nearly 500 workers and the 262,000-square-foot Texas Health Resources Harris Methodist Hospital Alliance and a 10,500-square-foot HCA Emergency Care Center.

Earlier this month, Hillwood Properties bought just under 156 acres at the northeast corner of Interstate 35W and Farm Road 1171 in Denton County, north of its Alliance development.

The company said much of the success of Alliance can be attributed to the exponential population growth of the surrounding residential area.

According to census figures released Feb. 17, Roanoke grew a whopping 112 percent from 2000 to 2010, and Saginaw 60 percent. Keller’s population increased 45 percent as it attracted more new people – 12,282 – more than any other Northeast Tarrant County city.