585-home development planned for Dripping Springs

A Dallas-based developer is scheduled to break ground Thursday on a $500 million subdivision in Dripping Springs that will have more than 500 homes and about 250 acres of open space.

Real estate experts say the community will add needed supply to help meet Central Texas’ strong housing demand.

The master-planned community, to be named Caliterra, will be developed on 600 acres off Ranch Road 12, about 1 mile south of U.S. 290. When completed, the subdivision will have 585 homes offering Hill Country views along a picturesque part of Onion Creek, said Jim Siepiela, a partner with the development firm, Allegiant Realty Partners.

Houses in the first phase will range in price from the high $200,000s up to $700,000 and will be built by Drees Custom Homes, David Weekley Homes and Highland Homes. The first model homes will open in December.

Custom homes will start from the $700,000s. Builders will include Sterling Custom Homes, Sommerfeld Custom Builders, Bud Bartley Custom Homes and Randy Rollo Custom Homes.

Nearly 250 acres will be preserved as open space to maximize views, protect wildlife habitat and maintain the rural ranch heritage of Dripping Springs, said

“Our vision for Caliterra is that the development will respect, embrace and interact with the land and enhance the ecosystem of the Hill Country,” Siepiela said. “The views and the existing natural habitat is breathtaking and residents will have many opportunities on a daily basis to connect with the land and the wildlife, making it part of their everyday life.”

Outdoor recreational amenities will include trails; a 30-acre park; bluff overlooks; bird blinds for viewing migratory birds; a fishing pier; and a community orchard and gardens.

Eldon Rude, a local housing market analyst, said he toured the site several years ago when the project was being planned.

“It is exciting to see it kick off at a time when demand for housing in the Austin region is so strong,” said Rude, principal with 360 Real Estate Analytics, a market research and consulting firm. “The Dripping Springs school district has been a draw for prospective home buyers for many years, so Caliterra being located so close to shopping and schools will be strong selling points for the community.”

Rude said Drees, Highland and David Weekley Homes “are all highly respected builders in our market, and their decision to build homes in Caliterra tells me they believe in this location as a place where families will want to live.”

Mark Sprague, another housing expert, said that with fewer than 15,000 shovel-ready lots left this year to start building on, and Austin-area builders expected to use 11,000 to 12,000 in all, “the ability to find quality projects to fill the need in the Austin area such as Caliterra are few.”

“Particularly in the highly desirable southwest part of Austin, Caliterra and its neighbors are a welcome opportunity in a tight housing market,” said Sprague, a housing market analyst with Independence Title in Austin.

Historically, new homes have accounted for 25 percent or more of all home sales in the Austin metro. With the lack of lots to build on, that share has fallen to the 17 percent range, Sprague said.

Allegiant Realty Partners also has its sights on and in Leander and Kyle for two additional single-family residential developments.

Allegiant is a partnership between two residential development firms, Siepiela Interests and Taylor Duncan Interests. Funding for Caliterra came from investment firms Isles Ranch Partners LLC and Castlelake L.P., formerly TPG Credit Management LP.

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