This small Texas town known for its speed trap is about to spawn 3,000 upscale homes

The cost of a new house in Fort Worth is rising, in time and money

The wait time for a newly constructed home is double what it used to be, and the rising costs of new materials can make quite a price difference.
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The wait time for a newly constructed home is double what it used to be, and the rising costs of new materials can make quite a price difference.

Northlake only has about 2,397 residents and is perhaps best known for its speed trap on Interstate 35W between Fort Worth and Denton.

But the little town is about to get a lot bigger.

A $1.5 billion project known as Pecan Square is underway. The residential community will eventually include 3,000 newly built homes, with prices expected to range from $270,000 to $500,000 or more.

“Pecan Square is one of the largest master-planned communities we have developed in our 25-plus-year history. It is in a perfect position to offer a wide variety of home prices in a high-quality master-planned community within a tremendous school district,” Brian Carlock, senior vice president of Hillwood Communities, said in an email.

Tuesday, Hillwood officials announced they had closed on the purchase and development of 1,157 acres near the southwest corner of I-35W and Farm Road 407, about six miles north of Texas Motor Speedway.

Initial construction is expected to begin in the spring, and homes should be on the market by summer 2019.

“Northlake has a wonderful quality of life,” Carlock said, “and happens to be in one of the highest growth areas in North Texas.”

The initial phase will include 609 single-family homes.

A mix of commercial retail, educational and residential uses will be featured in Pecan Square, which gets its name from the 200 pecan trees on the property that will be preserved. The trees will guide visitors to the area off of Farm Road 407.

A square within the project will incorporate an existing horse-training arena that will be repurposed into a multi-use facility open to area residents.

Eight builders will provide housing on lots ranging from 40 feet to an acre. They include: Ashton Woods, CalAtlantic Homes, DR Horton, David Weekley Homes, Highland Homes, Perry Homes, Plantation Homes and Pulte Homes.

Hillwood Communities also has agreed to donate 15 acres to the Northwest school district for an elementary school on the property.

Also, another 150 acres have been sold to Northwest for a new middle school, high school and football stadium.

“You will be able to go K-12 in Pecan Square,” Fred Balda, president of Hillwood Communities, said in a phone interview.

He added that full buildout of Pecan Square likely would take 10 to 12 years, depending upon factors such as the region’s and nation’s overall economic health.

The houses will be attractive to a range of prospective buyers, Carlock said, including first-time home owners, growing families and empty-nesters.

Hillwood is a Perot company, and it has overseen development of huge swaths of far north Fort Worth, including Park Glen, Alliance Airport, Heritage and Alliance Town Center.

“We all recognize growth is coming to the region. We are pleased Hillwood Communities embraces the town's comprehensive land use plan as we successfully manage the inevitable growth,” Northlake Mayor Peter Dewing said.

Gordon Dickson: 817-390-7796, @gdickson