project in Horseshoe Bay
homes to anchor development
Austin Business Journal - August 24,
2007 - by A.J. Mistretta - ABJ Staff
Capitalizing on demand for Highland
Lakes living and resort amenities, developers are under way on a $1 billion, 1,600-acre
residential community adjacent to Horseshoe Bay Resort on Lake LBJ.
Seventy of the initial 80 home sites
released in the first two neighborhoods at Skywater Over Horseshoe Bay have sold and the
next set of lots are set for release later this month. At full build-out in the next seven
to 10 years, Skywater will feature a total of about 1,000 home sites and residential
Construction has also begun on
Summit Rock Golf Club, an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course that will run
throughout the property. Roughly 40 percent of the 1,600 acres will remain green as open
space or part of the golf course, and up to 10 miles of trails will wind through the
The residential breakdown at
Skywater will include roughly 550 custom-home lots, 160 villa-home sites, 100 multifamily
units and 130 homes in a [designated] fly-in community near the resort's private airport.
The villas will range from the upper $500,000s to around $900,000, while finished custom
homes are likely to range in value from just under $950,000 to around $2 million. Jim
Rohrstaff, director of sales for Skywater, says those prices are likely to rise in time.
Rohrstaff says a list of up to nine
preferred custom homebuilders is being developed, though he declined to name the
companies. An agreement is also in the works for a builder to handle the first 40 villas.
Marble Falls developers Sam Martin
and Molly and Armand Biglari bought the three separate tracts of land that comprise
Skywater from different sellers in September 2006. The Jack Nicklaus golf course, which
had been designed years earlier for a project that got shelved, was updated and tweaked to
become the centerpiece of the development.
"Our investors had an
expectation that we would get going right away, and that's what we did," says Molly
Biglari. "Between what we'll have on Skywater plus what Horseshoe Bay itself offers,
it's going to be an extremely large number of amenities."
From the start, says Biglari, the
development team wanted to make Skywater as environmentally friendly as possible. What's
resulted is a fully sustainable master plan that calls for roads and neighborhoods to flow
with the landscape, and incorporates everything from solar energy for street lighting to
grey-water use in landscaping. The community's sales office/residents' club and the golf
clubhouse will be built to LEED specifications.
Rohrstaff says so far about 75
percent of prospective buyers at Skywater are Texans looking for a slice of the Hill
Country, while the remaining 25 percent are coming from California and elsewhere across
the West and Pacific Northwest.
"Some are people buying second
homes to use as a getaway and others are younger people buying second homes to retire into
later, which seems to be an increasing trend," says Rohrstaff.
With a drive-in time to Austin of
about 45 minutes, Biglari says the Horseshoe Bay area is getting a lot of interest from
those willing to commute. Meanwhile, the airport access is making the area attractive to
those working in other Texas cities during the week.
Skywater will also help increase
access to Horseshoe Bay Resort from U.S. Highway 71, cutting the distance by 7 miles and
providing a more scenic arrival as drivers come over a ridge through the property that
overlooks the resort and lakefront.
In a unique arrangement with
Horseshoe Bay Resort, every lot sold at Skywater will come with inheritable memberships at
Residents who choose to take
advantage of that option will have the initiation fees waived but will still need to pay
monthly membership dues.
Amenities at Horseshoe Bay include a
private jet center, three championship golf courses, swimming pools, a spa and fitness
facility, a full-service marina and a 349-room Marriott hotel.
Skywater's principal designer is Tim
Blonkvist with Overland Partners Architects of San Antonio. Vita Inc. handled the
Through their firm Lakes and Hills
Development, Martin and the Biglaris are responsible for a number of developments in the
area, including the 1,100-acre Flatrock Springs at SH 71 and U.S. Highway 281 that will
feature homes and about 200 acres of commercial space. The company is also handling a
116-acre medical/commercial development on SH 71 that will be anchored by the planned Lake
of the Hills Regional Medical Center.