Within the next couple of decades, 15,000 homes ranging from the high $200,000s to the millions will dot the Walsh development, named for the prominent North Texas ranching family who own the land. Walsh will be a place in the way that old, beloved neighborhoods are places — with markets, schools, parks and communal trust. But that’s looking many years and tens of millions of dollars into the future.
“We’re trying to create a timeless place,” Wagner said. “You can drive to some suburbs and tag them as being from a certain year. We don’t want people to drive by and say, ‘Oh, this is a typical 2018 suburb.'”
To date, buyers have moved into 112 homes and purchased 217. The first phase, scheduled for completion by the end of 2020, will have 587 homes from almost a dozen builders in several different architectural styles. The more modestly priced are on lots of 3,800 square feet; the larger home sites will stretch nearly an acre.
At more than 7,000 acres, the completed Walsh project will be one of the country’s largest master-planned communities, the developers claim.
The planning goes back the better of two decades. In 2002, a group of planners and developers assembled a PowerPoint laying out the broad strokes of what the development could be: a sprawling, ranch-inspired community basking in the “quiet dignity” of western life; a place with respect for the natural environment and a “smart,” technologically-enabled community.
RPG responded to a request for development proposals issued by the Walsh family in 2013. They inked a deal in 2015.
“It’s such a large tract of land — over 11 square miles — that we want this place to be relevant 100 years from now,” Ruggeri said. “We can’t be over thematic. We have to be real. What would a real place do?”
So they interrogated the concept of place. They consulted with dozens of business and thought leaders, toured historic neighborhoods and read Jane Jacobs, whose writing served as the basis for the urbanism movement.