Trinity Falls Development

More than 450 acres of open space will mix with about 4,200 homes at build-out in Trinity Falls, a master-planned development along the East Fork of the Trinity River.

Rooftops, rooftops, rooftops: it’s a development cry for any city. Build the homes, and they – corporations and retail – will come.

That’s especially true when talking about McKinney’s mostly undeveloped northwest sector. Trinity Falls is answering the cry, and quickly.

The 1,700-acre master-planned community this week announced two new builders for its second phase. Highland Homes and MHI’s Plantation Homes expect to open their models and phase II by early next year.

Castle Hill Partners, which is overseeing the community, anticipates phase II home sellout by mid- to late-2017. “Both builders will greatly complement the development and current builder program,” said Leisha Ehlert, Castle Hill’s vice president of asset management and development.

Situated along the East Fork of the Trinity River at the northwest corner of Farm-to-Market 543 and U.S. Highway 75, Trinity Falls is actually not within city limits but in what’s termed the municipal utility district (MUD).

It’s right on the edge, though, providing plenty of rooftops. And near an area that has city officials salivating at the thought of potential retail. Early discussions have a mall in mind for that part of the highway corridor.

Phase I, which kicked off last August, features 527 lots and currently four builders for 238 single-family homes, a clubhouse, events lawn, pool and even a tricycle race track. More than 200 homes have sold for a $329,000 average price, and developers anticipate full sellout by the end of 2016.

Ashton Woods, Beazer Homes, Emerald Homes and Gehan Homes offer product variety for the first phase, with prices ranging from the mid-$200,000s to upper-$400,000s. Castle Hill officials call it “the answer to the underserved affordable market.”

Other completed portions: The Club, a residents-only gathering place, and the initial phase of the 300-acre Trinity Falls B.B. Owen Park. Playgrounds, hike-and-bike trails, an amphitheater, athletic fields and more than 450 acres of open space are planned for the community, backed by an $11 million endowment from the B.B. Owen Trust.

Phase II will bring deeper lots closer to the Trinity River. Prices will be “a little higher” as builders are “seeing a price increase every month because of the demand,” Ehlert said.

Jennifer Arnold, city planning manager, equated Trinity Falls to “certainly a good catalyst” for the FM 543-U.S. 75 area, for which McKinney has a “huge focus.”

“Anytime there’s a significant number of residential units, there’s obvious momentum that comes with that,” Arnold said, adding that retail is a “driver in the city right now.”

The city has had a MUD development agreement with the master-planned community since at least 2008, so “the grand vision for Trinity Falls has been here for a while,” Arnold said.

About 50 acres along the future Collin County Outer Loop are earmarked for commercial development. Plans also include three on-site McKinney ISD elementary schools.

But first, homes – and lots of them.

“You’ve got to have rooftops before you can have commercial,” Ehlert said. “You need rooftops, and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

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