Pioneering home buyers move into Walsh development
Caroline Revard has the kind of privacy that can only be found in a vast, open prairie when she visits her new home under construction at Walsh.
She is among the first residents of the residential development, formerly known as Walsh Ranch, that developers say will eventually be home to 50,000 people. Today the area features more than 7,000 acres of mostly undeveloped land along the western edge of Fort Worth.
“I really like the drive coming out here,” said Revard, who plans to move into her home with her husband and three young daughters in February. “It just quiets my soul.”
Her isolation won’t last long.
“In 10 years this will be a city in itself,” she said.
Construction on the initial phase of homes began in April. Eight families have already moved into their homes, and more than 60 other properties are under contract. Dozens of other lots have been cleared, and up to 120 families are expected to call Walsh home by spring, said Bexie Nobles, Walsh spokeswoman.
The neighborhood won’t reach 50,000 residents overnight. Full build-out of the area likely will take at least a couple of decades, Nobles said.
But, as Fort Worth prepares for an influx of new residents — with today’s population of about 850,000 expected to swell to nearly 1.5 million by 2040 — Walsh is expected to be a bell cow for neighborhoods wishing to lure upper-middle income and wealthy residents.
The initial construction includes 587 single-family lots, on hilly streets that were designed to preserve the rolling hill feel of the area, which is just northeast of the Interstate 20/Interstate 30 merge, about a 15-minute drive west of downtown Fort Worth.
“We did everything we could to keep the topography,” Nobles said. “We didn’t want to denigrate the land.”
The project includes at least nine builders, each of whom can only build a few houses per block in an effort to ensure each street has a diverse architectural look. Price vary dramatically, from the upper $200,000s to nearly $800,000. And then there are the $1 million-plus custom homes that are planned in a separate phase for a hillside nearby.
Revard’s two-story home is being built in American Craftsman style, with overhangs and a covered porch. David Weekley Homes is the builder, and offers that model starting at $387,990.
Revard is a residential real estate agent, although she has no involvement in the Walsh project other than being a buyer. She works at League Real Estate in Fort Worth’s West 7th area.
She said she was struck by the “intentionality” of Walsh — the attention to detail incorporated in the sprawling development to give it a sense of place.
The land was originally part of the Walsh Ranch that has been in the area for decades.
Roughly one-third of the 1,700-plus acres in the initial development is reserved for green space. Every home is within a five-minute walk of a park, and each park has restrooms.
Although the first phase of Walsh is almost all residential — commercial development south of I-30 is planned for a future phase — the developers opened a convenience store on Walsh Avenue to serve the spur-of-the-moment needs of the residents who move into the area.
The store, Walsh Village Market, has gas, grab-and-go meals, a variety of organic groceries, containers of fresh hummus and even Figgy Pops organic energy snacks.
The nearest full-size supermarket, a Brookshire’s in Aledo, is about five miles west. Fort Worth’s Central Market near I-30 and Hulen Street is about 12 miles to the east.
Gigabits and other amenities
Although Walsh isn’t a gated community, it will feature several offerings typically found in neighborhoods with a closed perimeter. Among them are a fitness center, swimming pool and “lagoon” for fishing and paddle-boating that are scheduled to open next year.
Next to the fitness center, a “makerspace” will offer activities such as Legos for young children and robotics for older youths and adults.
The entire area is being wired for 2 gigabit Internet speed — faster than surrounding areas — and residents and businesses will have an option to tap into 10 gigabit service, Nobles said. A company known as Frog (no relation to TCU’s mascot) is installing the fiber optics.
The area, which is in the Aledo school district, will eventually have its own middle and high schools. Walsh Elementary School opened in August, and it houses a handful children whose parents have bought property in the area as well as students from other nearby parts of the district.
Walsh is being built in a cooperative effort that involves the Walsh Family, which still lives in the area and owns ranch land, and Republic Property Group.
Republic also developed Frisco’s Phillips Creek Ranch and Celina’s Light Farms and is currently working on Plano’s Villas at Legacy West.
The partners formed Quail Valley Land Co. for the Walsh project.