Almost 65 years ago, the state formally designated FM 1463 to run from US 90 to Flewellen, a community of about 50 people and one business, at FM 1093.
In recent years Flewellen, which disappeared from most maps in the 1980s, has changed dramatically. Some of the most visible changes, however, are only now underway. Last year three of the area’s major master-planned communities were listed among the nation’s 50 best sellers—Cinco Ranch, Cross Creek Ranch and Firethorne—according to a real estate consultant’s nationwide survey. Early data suggest an even stronger start
Plans for a new Walmart Supercenter, a possible H-E-B store and two church campuses along FM 1463 are indicative of even more changes already in the works. Additional developments expected in 2014 include a new CVS pharmacy, an automotive repair facility, Children’s LightHouse day care and a variety of retailers at the Shops at Cross Creek Ranch, said Cheryl Stalinsky, community and economic development director for the city of Fulshear. Judwin Properties also has plans for a 442-unit apartment complex northeast of Cross Creek, she said.
“I think in the next 18 months we’ll see this corridor and the Fulshear Parkway corridor just bursting at the seams,” Stalinsky said.
In 2013, Cinco Ranch ranked third nationwide in sales, with 854 houses, on the best-selling master-planned community list, compiled by John Burns Real Estate Consulting. The list, which rates communities based on their overall sales activity, shows Cross Creek at No. 13, with 509 houses, and Firethorne at No. 21, with 361 houses.
For Cinco Ranch—now in its 23rd year—last year’s sales actually slowed from the previous year, not because of lack of demand, but because of the availability of lots, the report said.
“There is some urgency,” said Heather Gustafson, marketing director for Newland Communities. “The number of homes in that area that are in Katy ISD is dwindling.”
That demand has already led to record sales in January 2014.
“We haven’t released any numbers yet, but we’ve had the best January sales in the history of the community,” Gustafson said.
At build-out, estimated for 2017, the entire Cinco Ranch community will have about 15,000 homes and span about 8,000 acres. Right now it has about 14,000 homes.
Cross Creek Ranch and Firethorne have seen similar success, garnering record sales and thousands of visits from prospective buyers. Late last year Firethorne surpassed the half-way point in the build out of its 3,400 homes.
But the influx of new residents highlights the ambiguity of the community identity.
Stalinsky is quick to point out that Cross Creek Ranch is in Fulshear, not Katy. As the head of Fulshear’s community and economic development efforts, it is a distinction she wants to keep clear. Cross Creek is part of the city’s story of growth—its 10 anticipated master-planned communities and 700 percent boom in population since the year 2000—not merely an extension of Katy.
But just across FM 1463 from Cross Creek Ranch is Cinco Ranch, with its deep Katy connection. To the north is Firethorne, partly in Fulshear. Both Firethorne and Cross Creek are split between Katy and Lamar Consolidated ISDs.
On the heels of the homebuilders are a series of landscape-shaping commercial developments.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. confirmed Feb. 6 that it plans to build a new Supercenter on the northeast corner of FM 1463 and FM 1093.
“We’re really excited to come to the Fulshear area,” said Anne Hatfield, director of communications for the company.
The 182,000-square-foot Supercenter is expected to employ about 300 local workers.
“If all things move along perfectly, it looks like construction is scheduled to begin this summer,” Hatfield said.
By that schedule, the store would likely open in the spring of 2015, she said.
Final negotiations about water and sewer services are still underway between the developer and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, said Andy Meyers, Fort Bend County Precinct 3 commissioner.
The store will only take up about 5 acres of space on the 93-acre site, leaving a large swath open for other development.
“Once we get the Walmart, hopefully other stores will follow,” Meyers said. “It will become a destination shopping establishment, drawing residents from four or five miles around.”
Among the development possibilities for the area is a 600-unit apartment complex and additional retail sites, he said.
Meyers said on the west side of FM 1463 near Fry Road there are also plans for an H-E-B store.
When contacted, H-E-B would not confirm the location as a possibility for a store.
“Currently we are not looking at property out there,” H-E-B spokeswoman Cyndy Garza-Roberts said. “We are not building a store out there. We really don’t have any comment.”
Across the street from that proposed location, Second Baptist Church purchased 46 acres of land where it intends to build its sixth campus, church officials said. It initially planned to start construction in the latter part of 2013.
Area officials are trying to keep up with a host of road projects meant to ease traffic as more people and businesses move into the area.
“Mobility is a huge issue right now because people are just sitting on FM 1093,” Stalinsky said. “It’s hard to get anywhere. That’s why Fulshear Parkway is so important to us.”
Fort Bend County officials are moving ahead with a variety of projects that could ultimately provide at least five north-south thoroughfares between I-10 and FM 1093, including Fulshear Parkway, over the next several years and a number of east-west connecting streets.
One key project is the extension of the Westpark Tollway farther down FM 1093 toward Fulshear. Meyers said the county just received clearance from the Federal Highway Authority to expand the road.
The first phase of the project will extend the main lanes of the tollway about 2.5 miles to Spring Green Boulevard. Additionally, crews will build four lanes of frontage road, two in each direction, from the Grand Parkway to FM 1463.
The second phase would extend the four lanes of frontage road through the city of Fulshear to Fulshear Parkway.
“It has taken us a long time to get to this point,” Meyers said. “It will provide a significant amount of traffic relief.”
The county also plans to tie Cane Island Parkway into FM 1463 near the Willow Bend neighborhood. That, combined with possibly connecting Spring Green Boulevard to the present FM 1463 near Katy-Flewellen, would allow at least two additional north-south thoroughfares between the FM 1093 and I-10. Both of those projects could be completed in as soon as 18–24 months, Meyers said.
He said he is also working with developers to complete what is now called West Firethorne so it ultimately connects from FM 1093 and Cross Creek Ranch to I-10.
The Fulshear Parkway, which could start as soon as next year, would also link FM 1093 to I-10 around Pederson Road. Several developers have agreed to contribute money for sections of the road, but Meyers said he does not yet have the $16 million the county needs to contribute.
Source: Katy Impact News