News Article | 10/4/2007

Hillwood Moves into Houston with 3,800-Acre Grab

As part of an increased focus on acquiring more residential property, Dallas-based Hillwood has acquired more than 3,800 acres for an undisclosed amount.Located directly across from the massive Sienna Plantation development (pictured), Sienna Plantation South is in Fort Bend County near Houston. Plans for the site include approximately 7,000 single-family homes, as well as 300 acres for retail and commercial use. Hillwood also is setting aside 100 acres for schools and churches, as well as preserving more than 1,000 acres for parks and open spaces.“We are concentrating on more acquisitions this year,” a Hillwood spokesman told CPN.Since the beginning of the year, Hillwood has obtained more than 7,100 acres of residential property, which makes it the company’s most aggressive year in terms of purchasing residential land. The transactions are part of an increased focus on acquiring residential property.Hillwood’s purchase of Sienna Plantation South marks the company’s first project in the Houston market and the largest residential property the company has ever planned. The project is part of the 10,500-acre Sienna Plantation development, which was developed by Houston-based Johnson Development Corp. Several commercial and retail projects are open and other developments are in the works, including The Crossing at Sienna Ranch, a 19-acre property that will offer 12,000 square feet of ground-level retail and 10,000 square feet of second-story office space in its first phase. Several pad sites also will be sold as professional/office condominiums. Wells Fargo Bank purchased a site at Highway 6 and Sienna Parkway; construction is slated to begin this year. Directly across from Sienna Plantation at Highway 6 and Sienna Parkway, a 16.9-acre retail tract is being developed.At Sienna Parkway and Sienna Springs Boulevard, Houston Community College System is building its main Missouri City campus, HCC-Southwest, which includes a Fort Bend County library, also slated to begin construction this year, according to information from the Sienna Plantation website.In July 2006, the Houston Business Journal reported that an Arizona investor purchased 3,800 acres adjacent to Sienna Plantation with plans for 10,000 homes and a town center with plans to call it Sienna Plantation South.Plans for Sienna Plantation South, which is located in the Fort Bend ISD, include several school sites. Hillwood also plans to build two amenity/recreation areas, each with multiple swimming pools and a clubhouse. Homes in Sienna Plantation South will be priced from $160,000 to $1 million. Hillwood has started engineering and predevelopment on the property. Construction of infrastructure is scheduled to begin in 2008 with the first lots set to be available in mid-2009. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Fort Bend County has added close to 123,000 new residents since 2000 and expects close to 140,000 more new residents by 2011. Sienna Plantation, which is consistently ranked by Metrostudy among the top four active communities in the Houston area, averages more than 700 new home sales per year.Dallas-based Hillwood, a Perot company, has developed high-rise condominiums, offices, single-family residential communities, distribution centers, regional malls and mixed-use urban developments. In addition to its residential communities, Hillwood is best known for its development of the 17,000-acre AllianceTexas project, located 15 miles northwest of DFW Airport; the $420-million American Airlines Center and Victory district near downtown Dallas; and the 2,000-acre AllianceCalifornia development near Los Angeles.