Developer the Signorelli Co. has begun work on its largest project, the 4,700-acre Austin Point that aims to transform a rural region of southern Fort Bend County into a 14,000-home "small town."
The community, about 10 miles south of U.S. 59 off FM 762 south of Richmond, will provide a mix of residential properties with single-family homes in the first phase and townhomes, apartments, active adult and build-to-rent residences in future phases. The project is expected to offer 15 million square feet of multifamily, office, medical, retail and hospitality.
"This is planned like a small town," said Mike Miller, senior vice president of land development for The Woodlands-based Signorelli. "It puts people at the forefront of the community."
The initial section, on 165 acres off Boothline near Ricefield, will comprise about 420 single-family homes, some with front porches facing parks and green spaces.
Cars will take a back seat in the design of Austin Point where many homes will have garages facing alleys in back. The homes will be set close to streets, which will be narrow to slow passing cars. The range of sizes and types of homes is designed to make for a more interesting street scene that doesn't cluster similar houses together in closed-off pockets.
"There's not a single cul de sac," Miller said. "Cul de sacs are dead-end streets. They're not connected."
The community, the largest to be announced in Fort Bend County in decades, aims to meet growing demand and could ultimately have 50,000 residents, according to Signorelli. Fort Bend County's current population of almost 900,000 is projected to double to 1.8 million by 2050, according to Woods and Poole, an economic consultancy headquartered in Washington.
The planned extensions of the Grand Parkway and the Fort Bend Parkway will improve access to downtown, the Texas Medical Center and the Galleria and shorten drive times to 25 to 30 minutes, according to Signorelli. The company envisions a series of interconnected districts with commercial, health care, educational, entertainment components. The development will be driven by market demand and could take 15 to 20 years to complete, according to Miller.
Austin Point represents the largest of Signorelli's developments since the company was founded by Danny Signorelli in 1994. Signorelli is developing Valley Ranch on 1,400 acres in New Caney northeast of Houston and is planning a 3,000-acre community in Splendora.
Austin Point will be roughly half the size of First Colony, a 9,700-acre master-planned community developed by Houston-based Hines in Sugar Land in the 1970s. Cinco Ranch, a Katy-area community spanning both Fort Bend and Harris counties, grew to more than 8,000 acres since its start more than 30 years ago.
Since announcing Austin Point in early 2022, Signorelli has signed on nine homebuilders. The first homes will be available in spring 2025.
Prices are projected to start in the high $200,000s to more than $600,000, Miller said. The lots range from 35 feet wide to 70 feet wide and houses will range from 1,300 square feet to 4,500 square feet.
Homebuilders are CastleRock Communities, Drees Homes, William David Homes, Ashton Woods, Beazer Homes, David Weekley Homes, Newmark Homes, Perry Homes and Westin Homes. About a third of the homes will have alley access.
Some of the alley-access homes with front porches will face the 1824, a community event space and cafe near the entry to the community. The name reflects the year that original landowner William Tennant Austin received title to the land, which was acquired by Signorelli in 2019 and is primarily used for farming and grazing.
The event space will provide places for residents to connect for outdoor concerts, yoga, magic shows, toddler story time and other programs, Miller said. The 1824 will have a cafe/wine bar with a front porch and bodega surrounding an event lawn next to a creek. It will feature a children's play area, beer garden, food truck court and spaces for outdoor games.
Parks and nature trails are part of the plan, incorporating a former system of canals used to irrigate rice fields, Miller said. The community will be part of the Lamar Consolidated ISD.