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Developer announces 1,175-home project

By Jessica Rodrigo
March 24, 2014 at 9 p.m.
Updated March 23, 2014 at 10:24 p.m.

The Pine Mills Ranch master-planned community in Katy features a spray park, pool, walking trails and picnic pavilions. A new development in Victoria would include similar features, said Michael Kim, president of the MAK Development Group.

Potential features

•  Walking trail

• Lakes

•  Recreation center

•  Parks

LOTS OF SPACE

•  512 lots 50' x 120'

•  479 lots 60' x 120'

• 184 lots 70' x 120'

Total 1,175 lots

A Houston developer announced Monday a $95 million housing development that will be the first of its kind in Victoria.

The master-planned community, featuring 1,175 homes, will resemble developments commonly seen in the affluent Houston suburbs of Sugar Land and Katy.

The project is being handled by MAK Development Group, a Houston-based company led by Michael Kim.

"This will have a tremendous impact on Victoria," Kim said. "We hope this will set a standard for the area."

The housing development would take up more than 450 acres on the east side of Zac Lentz Parkway where Mockingbird Lane and Ben Jordan Street now end and would include space for commercial and multifamily housing as well as a possible elementary school.

Kim, 46, of Katy, said he has been a part of eight of these master-planned communities, which include built-in amenities such as parks, trails, recreation centers and a variety of housing options, in Houston and surrounding areas, including Sugar Land, Cypress and Katy.

Homes in the development will range from small homes perfect for first-time buyers to those homeowners who are ready for something larger, he said.

"We're still in the preliminary stages," Kim said. "If everything stays on track, we want to deliver the first set of lots in 12 months and possibly see homes on the ground by fall of next year."

Kim pointed to a similar project in Katy, named Pine Mill Ranch, which covers 600 acres with walking trails, spray parks, lakes and picnic areas. The features will be similar to those in the Victoria development, he said, but the home prices will vary.

John Quitta, Remax land and home real estate agent, said the new community would help boost the low supply of housing in the area.

"If we can get housing in the range of $125,000 to $250,000, that would be a big help," Quitta said. "We don't have any new housing in this area being built."

The city's housing inventory is the lowest it has been in his 35 years of experience, he said, leaving buyers few options.

"We have more and more people coming into the area to work, but we don't have anywhere for them to live," he said.

Jared Mayfield, city of Victoria director of development services, said he was excited to see a master-planned community come to the area for the first time. There hasn't been a lot of new-home activity in Victoria, he said, so the timing is perfect.

"To me, this makes sense that this is the next step in the plans for Victoria," Mayfield said.

More housing for the area is key for not only continuing to grow the city but also to recruiting more people to the workforce, he said. It could open the door for a lot more opportunity in this city, he said.

Kim said he has been working on bringing a housing development to Victoria for more than two years. His company chose the city because of the region's strong job growth.

Next steps for the project include land planning to engineering before his team can break ground on the 450 acres owned by a small group of heirs of the Wedemeier family.

The land deal has not yet been finalized, said Frances Wedemeier, 74, of Victoria. The land is an undivided estate owned by four of her sons and their cousins, she said.

"It's too early to tell," Wedemeier said of the sale.

As far as she knows, the land has been in the Wedemeier family since the 1950s, when her husband was in college.

"It's a great piece of property to have homes," she said. "There's nothing on that side of the loop."

From the economic development standpoint, Dennis Patillo, restaurant owner and Stewart Title owner, said bringing a master-plan community would benefit the Crossroads in several ways.

Not only will people coming into Victoria to work have a place they can call home, but a planned community could raise the bar.

The easy access to trails and a potential school provides a great setting for family living, Patillo said.

"A community like this will bring a level of living that is exceptional," he said.

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