Like most developers, Tom Woliver is a professed data junkie. He doesn’t take that first step, of course, until the project’s feasibility is absolutely clear. Tens of millions of dollars are at stake during a struggling, pandemic-stricken economy.
So, it has to make perfect sense.
In the case of the vast 1,100-acre development that Woliver’s firm, Dallas-based Oxland Advisors, is putting together west of McKinney, this project checks all of the boxes. The 3,400-home development comes during a housing inventory shortage in North Texas while many people are evaluating their pandemic-related, stay-at-home situation.
“We do a lot of data research, and before the pandemic, I think there was a trend in the fact of folks wanting something maybe a little more authentic and a little more simpler,” Woliver says.
“The pandemic accelerated that trend.”
Woliver and his fellow consultants did their homework and determined McKinney was a city that could accommodate homesites ranging from detached townhomes and cottages to larger family homes and even some custom homesites. Named Painted Tree, the new community will include mature trees and a natural trail system that will connect with the city’s Erwin Park and Bonnie Wenk Park. Other amenities include a 20-acre lake and an open-air trail outpost.
Oxland Advisors recently met with more than 30 prospective builders. The firm is also working with city leaders in McKinney on zoning matters. If all goes smoothly, construction will begin in early 2021 with a grand opening in 2022, Woliver says.
New York-based JEN Partners, one of the nation’s leading investors in residential land and homebuilding companies, purchased the development site last month. Plano-based Green Brick Partners is the first builder to close on lots at Painted Tree.
Woliver took the time to answer a few questions on the project.
CandysDirt.com: Why was McKinney a choice site for your firm?
Woliver: “Over the years, in Frisco and McKinney, the amount of land out there is limited. A lot more development is happening a lot further north in Celina and Melissa. This is kind of a suburban infill is how we look at it. If you look at suburban development, McKinney is that city that suburban cities are trying to be. It’s got that authentic downtown square. It’s got a little bit of character to it. That’s what makes this project more appealing — to have that authentic downtown and an interesting arts and cultural scene, but you still have room to spread out in a suburban location.”
CD: How will this development be unique to others this size?
Woliver: “We’re kind of conceiving the vision in the middle of a pandemic and seeing just how people’s lives have changed. Your home is not only your place to decompress. It’s your office. It’s your fitness place. It’s your school. It’s everything. The home is now more than your castle now. We came with the approach, your home is your porch.”
CD: What was your vision for this development in the pandemic era?
Woliver: “Behaviors are going to change. People are going to be working from home. They’re probably going to do more daytime activities because they’re not at the office. If that’s a community, what does that look like? The solution came out of our vision, one thing we had going on for us is that you have this incredible natural setting, which is pretty unusual for North Texas, with the topography, trees and there’s a 20-acre lake on the site. You just don’t find that everywhere in North Texas.”
CD: How does this setting translate into amenities?
Woliver: “In lots of the new communities, you have to manufacture this lifestyle, whereas we have it. Instead of trying to manufacture another large amenity building, swimming pools, or very expensive indoor facilities, we’ve kind of taken that script and moved it outdoors. Nature is the new luxury. We’re investing more into our pathways and trails and open space probably like nothing our competition has done before.”