To hear Chris Bright describe the concept behind Enchanted Hill, Castle Hill’s newly updated luxury estate home development, is to get a lesson in the human dynamics of living, working, and playing in a community together.
Bright, who studied philosophy at the University of Dallas, paid careful attention to how this centrally-located Denton County neighborhood integrates family, community, and communication. “A contemplative peace of the human private space,” as the longtime Dallas land developer and CEO of Bright Realty calls it.
Enchanted Hill is a guard-gated enclave of estate homes located within the master-planned community of Castle Hills in Lewisville. Technically not in the city of Lewisville, but rather an extraterritorial jurisdiction, Castle Hills is well-situated at the crossroads of State Highway 121, Sam Rayburn Tollway, and FM 423, which becomes Park Blvd. in Plano.
Surrounded by the lush fairways of The Lakes at Castle Hills private country club and golf course, custom home sites in Enchanted Hill are available from the $300s with custom homes from $1.75 million and up.
Castle Hills offers 25 parks and green spaces, several lakes, and trees planted every 30 feet. Catch-and-release fishing is allowed at the 12-acre park and lake area. Hike-and-bike trails wind throughout Castle Hills offering many outdoor recreational opportunities for residents.
“But in the context of talking to people over time, you never really hear anybody say they want to live in a master-planned community,” Bright tells CandysDirt.com. “What they want is to live in a small town.”
The land on which Castle Hills was built on stems from rural town roots. It was once the Bright Family Farm, which legendary land developer “Bum” Bright, former owner of the Dallas Cowboys, pieced together by 1966 for family recreational getaways. Bright with his brother Clay, who together run Bright Realty, spent summers and weekends at the farmland that was used for hunting and fishing.
“My dad was a big fisherman,” Bright says. “He built the lake initially that’s become part of the park property now. There are stock tanks now that we used to fish in, too.”
Because Bright understood what life was like on the land that now inhabits Castle Hills, he created the community specifically with future residents in mind.
“As a land planner, you typically figure out ways to gather density or put more lots on the ground, but here I specifically wanted to think about the neighborhood, the future residents, and how things will come together for them,” Bright says.
Inviting resident interaction was especially important, while not sacrificing the need for private space for individuals.
The community’s master plan incorporates specific design elements to achieve this. It’s reminiscent of Jane Jacob’s The Life and Death of American Cities, which calls upon sidewalks and porches as essential facilitators of community connection, though Bright was more heavily influenced by British architect and design theorist Christopher Alexander and Joel Garreau who wrote Edge City: Life on the New Frontier.
Specifically at Enchanted Hill, you’ll find homes that use the front of the home as the point of connection to neighbors, rather than the rear alley driveway.
Homes have smaller front yard setbacks, where single-story homes and homes with prominent front porches were placed closer to the wide sidewalks and street.
Even street design was planned with residents in mind. The neighborhoods have few 90-degree street intersections to encourage movement but discourage cut-through traffic.
That’s a key consideration, considering the projected growth for Castle Hills.
Since welcoming its first residents in 1998, the 2,900-acre community of Castle Hills has grown and evolved into a live-work-play community with the Village Shops, a town square-like mix of retail, restaurants, and offices, and more planned for the future.
The 324-acre acre, mixed-use development in Lewisville broke ground in June 2019. The development, The Realm at Castle Hills, a Bright Realty development, will be a new urban center for the Castle Hills community located on State Highway 121 west of Josey Lane. It will include offices, retail, restaurants, and multi-family developments.
Bright lives at Castle Hills with his wife, and two now-grown children, who live down the street. His grandchildren attend Castle Hill’s own public schools there in the neighborhood, which are all highly-rated.
And here’s a fun fact: One of his favorite neighborhood amenities in Enchanted Hill is the full-size labyrinth in the park, an inspiration that came from the movie Notting Hill.
That makes Enchanted Hill truly a place where the developer of this neighborhood lives, works, and plays.