A newly formed Houston-based real estate development company has announced its first master-planned community, and it won’t be your run-of-the-mill residential neighborhood.
Meristem Communities expects to break ground on Indigo on 235 acres between the cities of Richmond and Sugar Land in Fort Bend County in December.
The master plan calls for about 750 single- and multifamily homes, parks, a 25-acre lake and more than 70,000 square feet of mixed-use commercial development in a town center, including a multipurpose barn with a market and café.
With about 42 acres reserved for a farm with crop fields, pasture for livestock and farm education opportunities, Indigo will be an agrihood. People will be able to buy fresh produce from the farm.
The community will be focused on walkability and ability to get what you need in walking distance.
“Eighty-five percent of our homes are within a quarter mile of what we’re calling Indigo Commons, which is our little town center,” co-founder Scott Snodgrass said.
He and fellow Meristem co-founder Clayton Garrett also run Agmenity, a company that develops and manages agricultural amenities for residential communities, including in Johnson Development Corp.’s Jordan Ranch in the Katy-Fulshear area and Harvest Green just north of Indigo, and Rockbarn Partners’ Millican Reserve just south of College Station.
Snodgrass and Garrett have owned Indigo's 235 acres off the Grand Parkway and U.S. Highway 90 since 2016 and had been using half of the property for farming. They noticed master-planned communities were going up all around the area and just before the Covid-19 pandemic decided they wanted to develop their own community, but one with a focus on people, walkability and agriculture.
They founded Meristem in February 2021 and began planning. They engaged Encinitas, California-based consulting firm TST Ink; Pleasanton, California-based architecture firm Dahlin Group; Houston-based landscape architecture firm CultivateLand; The Woodlands-based land developer Rochester Development; Sausalito, California-based land design firm SWA Group; and The Woodlands-based engineering firm Elevation Land Solutions.
“The goal is to have people really connect deeply with their neighbors and understand their neighborhood in a different way than you see in what we consider a traditional master plan,” Garrett said.
Homes will be built by David Weekley Homes, Highland Homes and Empire Communities, with home construction expected to begin in the fourth quarter of next year.
There will be about 500 detached single-family homes ranging from 800 square feet on 35-foot wide lots to 3,100 square feet on 50-foot lots, 100 duplexes, 54 three-story townhomes and about 100 apartments in three-story buildings with retail on the first floor.
Snodgrass and Garrett said they are in talks with several potential retail tenants, including a brewery. They expect to open the community in February 2024.
The Meristem partners said they will take experiences and lessons learned from developing Indigo to use for future developments.
“We don’t want to be type-casted as master-planned community developers,” Snodgrass said. “I think we’ll do other kinds of development as well, whether it's commercial retail development in the city (or) whether it's rehabbing an old, worn-out strip center in the suburbs that’s no longer performing well and turning it into a place that people want to be in.”