Several commercial development projects are underway in Cy-Fair’s master-planned communities that developers hope will transform the landscape of the community into a regional destination.
Residential growth in the Cypress area has driven much of the demand for additional retail infrastructure, said Randy Corson, vice president of Mischer Investments, the developer of Cypress Creek Lakes.
“All the things residents want and need are coming here,” he said. “I think the retail and commercial development is coming in because of the needs of the families living in this area.”
Filling a void
Caldwell Companies, the developer of master-planned community Towne Lake, is making progress on two mixed-use projects this year: the Boardwalk at Towne Lake and Cypress Crossing.
The Boardwalk at Towne Lake will feature both retail and office space in four buildings along with a central green area at the forefront of Towne Lake, near the corner of Barker Cypress and Tuckerton roads.
“It will be a great place for families to gather and have a place to go eat, shop or dine in the neighborhood,” said Miranda Hadamik, vice president of investments for Caldwell Companies. “There will be 20 boat slips, so residents can ride their boat to go to dinner, go shopping or get their nails done.”
Hadamik said the project will be a draw for the entire Cypress region because of its location on the water. Outdoor activities are also being planned for the weekend at the central green space.
“We wanted to create a sense of place in Cypress that was lacking in the community,” Hadamik said. “We wanted a central location for people to come and gather.”
Caldwell Companies plans to deliver spaces to retail and dining tenants in July, allowing businesses time to build out their space and open by the third or fourth quarter of 2015.
Farther south in Cy-Fair, Caldwell Companies is wrapping up design work on its Cypress Crossing project at the corner of FM 1960 and Hwy. 290. Although plans are still being conceptualized for the project, the 15-acre site could entail 460,000 square feet of office space, 60,000 square feet of retail, 330 multifamily units, a hotel and a central green area.
“We’re calling it Cypress Crossing because it’s at the center of Cy-Fair ISD, and it is at a major intersection with two heavily traveled roads,” Hadamik said. “We also see a lack of event and meeting space in the area, so we’re hopeful we can get the right hotel user in there. I think the whole team is excited to see dirt start moving and see these projects come online. It’s been an exciting process.”
New retail complex
Mischer Investments has several commercial development projects in the works for the master-planned community of Cypress Creek Lakes this year, including a medical office development, a new H-E-B and a retail complex.
“[Walter and Paula Mischer] are really dedicated to finding out what the market’s needs are and what would go with the development for the residential community,” Corson said. “They want the development to be there for generations to come for the families that live there.”
In 2013, H-E-B purchased 15 acres from Mischer Investments to build a new grocery store at the corner of Tuckerton and Fry roads. Construction began on the new store in mid-December and is expected to be complete by mid-2015.
Adjacent from the H-E-B site, Mischer Investments is planning a 30,000-square-foot retail complex that could break ground by late 2015 or early 2016.
“After that, we have 60 acres left,” Corson said. “We are doing the land plan for that now. It could include anything from retail to townhouse development to mixed-use to multifamily.”
When built-out with a total of 21,000 homes, Bridgeland will be largest master-planned community in the Cy-Fair area to-date.
In addition to a large residential component, the master-planned community will have several village centers and a larger town center that will bisect the Grand Parkway in the future. Located along Fry Road, Lakeland Village Center will be the first village center to open in Bridgeland. The development will feature a combination of retail options, fast/casual restaurants and other neighborhood services that residents use on a routine basis.
“We hope we’ll be able to open the first retail options by the end of the year,” said Alex Sutton, co-president of The Woodlands Development Company, which, along with Bridgeland, is owned by the Howard Hughes Corporation. “We’re excited about that, and we are aggressively leasing other neighborhood-type services that will be embraced by residents and people along the Fry Road corridor.”
The addition of mixed-use retail complexes in and around residential developments has gained popularity in the Greater Houston area in recent years, following the adage that retail follows rooftops.
“People like pedestrian-friendly areas and environments,” Sutton said. “That is not only in Houston but everywhere. I think people want that lifestyle, and we embrace that here. It’s also attractive and interesting from a development standpoint.”
Future dining options
In mid-2014, commercial real estate firm Read King finished the Vintage Marketplace development at Cutten and Louetta roads. The center features a Whole Foods Market, Torchy’s Tacos, Mod Pizza and several other dining concepts. Phase 2 of Read King’s development in The Vintage, located on the vacant land next to Vintage Marketplace, will be referred to as Restaurant Village, leasing broker Cort King said.
The development will feature two 8,500-square-foot buildings designed with large patios, parking availability and two restaurants housed in each building. Although he could not release details, King said negotiations are ongoing with three leases at the site and added that interest has been high in Restaurant Village.
“Whole Foods is obviously a huge draw, and there’s just not much new space being built in the Houston market,” he said. “[Hwy.] 249 and Louetta [Road] is a good office submarket, so you’ve got a lot of good daytime [traffic].”
Construction is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2015 on Restaurant Village, but the site could eventually feature office space as well.
“We’ve thrown around a lot of ideas,” King said, adding that the construction of the Grand Parkway has made The Vintage more accessible from the neighboring communities in northwest Harris County.
“Residential and office growth is just going to continue in this area,” he said. “All these restaurants will be where people dine for lunch and dinner.”