A San Antonio development firm is thinking conservation in its latest project.

Web Posted Posted: 03/05/07 3:57 PM

Business News - Local News
Real Estate Roundup
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San Antonio Business Journal - March 2, 2007

by Tricia Lynn Silva

San Antonio Business Journal - March 5, 2007

Late last month Galo Properties closed on the purchase of 1,900 acres of land in the city of Georgetown -- which is about 100 miles northeast of San Antonio. Galo purchased the land through its subsidiary, ABG Development Ltd.

Plans for the project, which has been christened Water Oak at San Gabriel, call for 4,000 single-family homes that would range in price from $250,000 on up to $1 million.

About 100 acres within the development has been set aside for commercial use.

What makes Water Oak unique, however, is what's not going to be developed.

Water Oak will be one of the first conservation subdivisions in the state of Texas, according to Walt Busby, president and chief operating officer of Galo Properties.

That designation calls for roughly 35 percent of the land in the project to be left as open space.

"The (undeveloped) land can be used for hike and bike trails, but that's it," Busby says. "... (Water Oak) is a major step forward for conservation development in Texas, and definitely a win-win for Georgetown and Galo Properties."
A mighty name

Homebuilders signed up for Water Oak include Ryland Homes, Taylor Woodrow Inc., Meritage Homes Corp. and Morrison Homes.

Busby says builders will start work on phase one during the second quarter of 2008. The first homes should be ready for move-in during the fourth quarter of that year.

A total of 500 homes are planned for phase one, he adds.

Besides creating some well-groomed trails and park areas for Water Oak, Galo Properties will also focus on accentuating the San Gabriel River corridor, Busby says.

His company is also investing some $10 million to create a 6.5-mile sewer line for the development.

"This project is going to have a lot of bells and whistles that nobody else has," he adds. "(Water Oak) is going to be a real model for future conservation development in the state of Texas."

As for the name of the community, Busby says he was inspired by a large oak tree on the grounds of the project.

The trunk is about 40 feet in diameter, and reminded him of the large water oaks that are indigenous to Florida.

Galo Properties was the firm that assembled the 3,100 acres of land now known as Alamo Ranch.

To date, this master-planned community in West San Antonio has attracted several home builders, including DR Horton and Pulte Homes.

Late last month, Irving-based Archon Group broke ground on a 900,000-square-foot retail center that will be an integral part of the Alamo Ranch development.