1,730-acre community with Harris County detention system coming to Hockley

Work has started on a 1,730-acre master-planned community in Hockley, just south of U.S. Highway 290 in northwest Harris County.

Houston-based Concourse Development said it will deliver lots for the first phase of The Grand Prairie by the end of the summer, with home sales expected to begin in the fall. Five homebuilders will build 481 single-family homes on 40- to 60-foot lots: Perry Homes, Westin Homes, Village Builders, Sitterle Homes and David Weekley Homes.

Homes will be priced from the low $300,000s to the $600,000s, according to Concourse co-founder Harry Masterson. The Grand Prairie, which is zoned to the Waller Independent School District, could have up to 6,000 homes at full build-out in a decade or more.

The community will include 450 acres of parks, waterways and 4 miles of trails in the first phase. Amenities will also include a 6,700-square-foot open-air pavilion, swimming pools and splash pads designed by San Antonio-based Overland Partners. Houston-based Clark Condon is the landscape architect.

But what distinguishes this planned community from all others is a 70-acre detention lake that is part of a pilot program by the Harris County Flood Control District.

It’s part of an effort to mitigate flooding from Cypress Creek, which feeds into the Addicks Reservoir, and the result of a 2020 study commissioned by the flood control district that looked at the feasibility of working with landowners to create detention and retention areas rather than building a third reservoir in the Houston area.

Concourse and Houston-based equity partner Maquina Holdings acquired the different tracts making up the future community — located immediately west of Johnson Development’s 1,622-acre master-planned community Jubilee — from two different sellers in 2019 and 2020.

“With the developer, we basically started from the very beginning, when they were conceiving their site and their site plan, and we worked with them,” said Gary Bezemek, planning division manager at the Harris County Flood Control District.

The Harris County Commissioners Court approved the $10 million needed for the program in September 2021, and Concourse has now completed excavating the detention basin.

“We thought it was an important thing to do,” Masterson said. “In my opinion, working together, we’re able to build and design and deliver for the public something that’s better than us trying to do it individually by ourselves.”

The park area surrounding the lake will be open to the general public, who will be able to access it from Betka Road.

The Katy Prairie, a large area west of the Grand Parkway between U.S. Highway 290 and Interstate 10, is under increasing residential development, alarming some conversationists and flood control experts who worry it could lead to more flooding downstream, despite detention requirements for new developments.

The Harris County Flood Control District is considering additional similar partnerships with landowners and developers, not just in the Katy Prairie area but elsewhere in the county as well.

“It would be a mechanism that could be used anywhere, really, anywhere that somebody’s like, ‘Hey, if we could work with the existing landowners to reduce runoff, then the need for doing bigger projects on the channels and bigger detention sites would be reduced,’” Bezemek said.

For Concourse, The Grand Prairie is the second community it is developing as the majority owner. The first, Windrose Green, is underway on 154 acres in Angleton in Brazoria County, and the developer is actively looking for more tracts.

“We’re definitely looking to build our portfolio in both master-planned community and large industrial,” Masterson said.

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