New Roanoke neighborhood starts on Byron Nelson’s ranch land

01/28/2014 11:48 AM

01/28/2014 11:49 AM

In an area thick with housing developments, Fairway Ranch — cut through the rolling hills of southern Denton County — is distinctive in many ways.

The development features 500 custom-built homes and reminders of ranch-style living, including winding roads, ample green space and trails, and bronze longhorn statues.

But what really makes the master-planned community stand out is the land’s former owner. Set on more than 350 acres south of Texas 114, and with Interstate 35W and Texas Motor Speedway just a few miles to the west, the property was previously part of the ranch owned by legendary golfer Byron Nelson, who died in 2006.

“That history really sets this development apart from others,” Wilbow Corp. president Chas Fitzgerald said.

Nelson’s family sold a portion of the property to the Wilbow Corp. in 2011, and the Roanoke City Council rezoned the land from agricultural to residential in 2012, clearing the way for the development.

Now in its first phase, ranch-style homes ranging in price from $350,000 to almost $500,000 are under construction. More than 100 homes are planned in phase one as well as a clubhouse and swimming pool, said Kristi Lisenbee, a sales counselor for Highland Homes.

More than 500 homes, retail shops, parks and other amenities are eventually planned for Fairway Ranch — but not a golf course. Cox Elementary School, in the Northwest district, opened in August.

Nelson’s widow, Peggy, still lives on a homestead on the ranch.

Nelson, a professional golfer who was best known for winning 11 consecutive pro tournaments in 1945, died at age 94. He lived at his Roanoke ranch for 60 years and was embraced by residents and city leaders. A portion of Texas 114 through Roanoke is named Byron Nelson Boulevard, and Byron Nelson High School is in nearby Trophy Club.

The sale of land for the development will help fund the Byron Nelson Foundation, which provides money to a variety of nonprofit organizations.

Construction of homes in the subdivision began in spring 2012, and four built-to-suit homes have been purchased.

Highland Homes and Darling Homes are the builders, but Fitzgerald said he eventually expects to have more.

Lisenbee says she expects people to be attracted to Fairway Ranch because of Roanoke’s small population of 8,300 and the quality of businesses in the surrounding area.

Roanoke Mayor Scott Gierisch said Fairway Ranch will be the town’s last major residential development.

“This development will still maintain that hometown feel that Roanoke has, but still fit in with the city’s commitment to providing more to its residents,” Gierisch said. “It goes with the great quality of life folks have living here and will attract folks moving from other areas.”

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