New housing development planned for north side of Victoria

July 17, 2010 at 2:17 a.m.

Optimistic about Victoria's future, a longtime developer is planning a new master-planned community on the city's north side.

The Victoria City Council on Thursday gave developer Steve Klein the green light to begin building a new master- planned residential development called Terra Vista. It will be situated on the nearly 200-acre tract at the corner of Mallette Drive and Ball Airport Road.

"It's a different overall design than I've ever done in Victoria before," said Klein, who has developed seven other communities in the city, including Silverado and The Estates of Colony Creek. "Instead of having all the big houses in one neighborhood and all the small houses in another neighborhood on the other side of town, we're building one big neighborhood where all the houses are together."

He added, "We want the grandkids to be able to ride their bikes down the street and see their grandparents."

The first phase of Terra Vista, which translates to land and sky in Spanish, is expected to be completed in summer 2011 and will consist of 42 sites available for purchase.

Klein said he foresees the home costs ranging from less than $200,000 to the mid- $300,000s and home lot sizes ranging from 1,400 to 3,000 square feet to an acre.

"We want the cost of the lot and the house combined to be at a level that people can afford, " he said.

Klein's custom home building company has already signed on to be one of the preferred builders for the initial phase of Terra Vista, which will span about 13 acres.

Klein said developers are looking for one additional builder to get involved.

Prospective Terra Vista home buyers should expect close proximity to fairly new schools, but they should not expect neighborhood amenities such as recreation centers and water parks that are now commonly found in many new subdivisions in nearby larger cities.

"In larger cities, people have to drive 30 minutes just to get their hair done, or go to church or school. In Victoria, you can go all over town in 15 minutes or less. To add swimming pools and water parks would be cost-prohibited because in five minutes you can use one that's already in town," he said.

He continued, "When you start adding water parks and amenity centers, the cost of the lot gets so high that it doesn't work in Victoria."

Despite the current state of the economy, Klein, who has been developing for a little over 21 years, said the time to build is now.

"I'm confident we're in good shape. If it wasn't improving, I wouldn't be doing it," he said.

Population size and the presence of existing buyers who are looking for a change, growing families needing more space, and retiring homeowners who are looking to downsize, are all reasons why Klein has no worries about the development being a success.

"There's always a definite housing need," he said.

A lack of what Klein described as "quality" lots is also reason to build now rather than later.

"There needs to be a certain amount of quality lots available at all times. Right now, inventory is a little low," he said. "The housing economy could stand to perk up a little around here."

The fact that a new development like Terra Vista is under way seemed to be great news for Realtors like Louise Hull Patillo, owner of Cornerstone Properties.

"I was very pleased that he was going to be involved in another subdivision in Victoria. In the past, his subdivisions have been beautifully executed and have sold very well," said Hull Patillo, who also serves on the Victoria Planning Commission.

The introduction of a community like Terra Vista is anticipated to set a positive economic ripple effect into motion as well.

"I think Victoria is on the cusp of some really good growth opportunities," Klein said. "The Victoria Economic Development Corp. and the community leaders at-large are all working to create good things for Victoria. They want to make sure we have housing and developments so people can move to Victoria and be housed."



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