Here’s more proof of how well home builders are doing in some parts of the country, namely, of course, Texas: a Coral Gables residential developer recently bought up a super successful builder of residential communities, many in Texas.
In early May, SouthStar Communities paid $29 million big ones to buy Bluegreen Communities, which has created 11 residential developments in the Southeast and Texas. Close to home, Bluegreen owned the Lake Ridge development on Joe Pool Lake and the Reserve at Sugar Tree near Weatherford, as well as beautiful Vintage Oaks down in New Braunfels, Texas, which I have had the pleasure of visiting. Very impressed with the homes and the vineyard which is a part of the property development. SouthStar, which has been in business since 1999, is led by CEO J. Larry Rutherford, who has been on Bluegreen’s board of directors for 14 years. Boca Raton-based Bluegreen Corp. Bluegreen’s primary business is vacation resorts, such as time-shares. I’m told SouthStar will not be involved in timeshares.
Bluegreen also developed, then sold, one of my favorite developments north of town, the lush Bridges at Preston Crossing. It’s a 1580 acre former private horse farm that Bluegreen turned into a living community with an 18 hole golf course, a clubhouse, pool, 24 acre fishing lake, greenbelts and forests all in Gunter, north of Prosper. Here’s a huge plus for The Bridges: a first class equestrian center for all homeowners right in your backyard.
Once a playground for international polo players and Dallas’ elite, The Bridges Equestrian Center is now the perfect paradise for horse and riding enthusiasts. Bluegreen sold The Bridges to Mehrdad Moayedi, than man developing out around Champ D’Or, aka Saint Stoneleigh — the man who snapped up the Stoneleigh Residences out of bankruptcy. I hear the ranch house, once the site of many a Cattle Barons bash, has been snapped up by a prominent Dallas family. BTW: coolio party at the Stoneleigh penthouse this Wednesday, so stay tuned for deets.
Near Cedar Hill, Lake Ridge is the Dallas answer to the Hill Country. Though at one time it held the unsavory title of the foreclosure capital of North Texas, LakeRidge is actually one of housing’s most complete success stories as the foreclosed inventory was absorbed.
“My wife is from Austin,” says former pro player Dexter Coakley. “Lake Ridge reminds me of those Hill Country hills and landscapes you don’t get in flatter parts of Texas. Plus there are bigger lots, so you can enjoy all your toys.”
The lots are huge in Lake Ridge, most averaging one to three acres per homestead. And the homes are large, too, with a minimum square footage requirement of 2200. Most are far larger: one retired couple built an 18,000 square foot home. Sam Putney’s Lake Ridge home, before he sold it, weighed in at 9202 square feet. (And that home was loaded!)
That SouthStar liked the props enough to buy is further evidence that these areas have turned the corner. Stay tuned for more news from these peeps: as they say in Hollywood, this is only the beginning.