The Bridgeland Story
The appeal of a bridge is more than aesthetic. A bridge is a metaphor, not just a way to get from here to there. It symbolizes our ability to make connections, to find patterns and imagine alternatives. It also symbolizes balance and transformation. In addition to facilitating the trek from one place to another, a bridge represents the journey.
Thus, in addition to enhancing connectivity within Bridgeland, our bridges, architecturally, visually and symbolically, are a strong thematic element, a metaphor for the guiding principles of the community:
(1) conservation and recreation, (2) regional transportation connectivity and access, (3) award-winning schools and (4) coveted retailers with economic sustainability. It will rank among the top master-planned communities in the nation.
What is today a vibrant community of more than 1,800 homes and 5,000 residents began with the purchase of 11,400 acres of prairieland. The development was named “Bridgeland,” an allusion to the connected lifestyle available within the community — where nature, homes, recreation, learning and enterprise are “bridged” to create a balanced existence for residents.
Developers started with a land plan that would embrace the bountiful natural environment. Bridgeland is located along the eastern boundaries of the Katy Prairie, an environmental gem that has provided refuge and foraging areas for more than 300 species of resident and migratory birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians. Bridgeland developers worked carefully to protect the valuable land, including the historical Cypress Creek Corridor, a significant creek system occurring along Bridgeland’s northern boundaries. Careful planning has not only preserved these natural attributes, but has revived the areas through thoughtful development of amenities such as the Cypress Creek Nature Trail. The first 1.5 miles of the nature trail opened in 2008. An additional mile is planned to open this year and upon completion, the trail will stretch for 6 miles.
Developers also took a sensitive approach in planning Bridgeland’s infrastructure, with drainage ditches replaced by meandering lakes, utilities throughout the community installed underground and curving streets designed to minimize traffic and speed. Views are maximized, with no homes facing major roadways, and pedestrian traffic is strongly encouraged through a series of sidewalks, trails and signature bridges connecting neighborhoods and amenities.
Sustainability is promoted through various measures, as well, including a purple pipe system that utilizes water from community lakes to irrigate common areas, and native, low-maintenance trees and plants established with drip irrigation before they become self-sustaining. Existing lakes, such as the 97-acre Mallard Lake and 108-acre Ramey Lake, are incorporated into the overall amenity plan. Naturally occurring shrubs and trees along the borders of these lakes and others (900 acres are planned) provide habitats for an abundance of wading birds, waterfowl and other aquatic species.
Following the principle of bridging nature with homes, amenities and retail, developers carefully designed a master plan that spans the boundaries of everyday life, dedicating space for on-site schools with abundant vehicular and pedestrian access, amenity hubs with large-scale village recreation centers built within clusters of communities and well-placed parks and open space within neighborhoods, with the goal of having park space no more than a quarter-mile from each homesite. Each of the four villages planned for Bridgeland will be anchored by a village center with employment, shopping, dining, places of worship and other everyday conveniences. An 800-acre Town Center along the Grand Parkway will be central to the villages and will be an entertainment destination for the entire Cypress area.
Bridgeland’s approach to education is another bridge for the community, with its “Cradle-to-Career and Beyond” philosophy. Bridgeland’s master plan includes opportunities for lifelong learning, from being introduced to the ABCs in preschool to following your passion in college. In addition to private and public schools, avenues for special education and plans for a possible satellite campus of a local college, Bridgeland also will offer residents a chance for continued education through various on-site workshops and classes.
With a master plan in place, Bridgeland welcomed its first builders in 2006 and the first home was sold in March 2006. Buyers responded to the carefully designed master plan, with sales escalating monthly and the number of homes sold doubling in the development’s second year of sales. Bridgeland is now among the four top-selling master-planned communities in the Houston area, and, already achieving one of its guiding mandates, has been recognized for both superior sales and development on a national level, even earning a “Master Planned Community of the Year” award in 2009 from the National Association of Home Builders.
Amenities were an early focus for the community, with construction of the six-acre Lakeland Activity Center starting in 2006. The complex — complete with resort-style and competitive swimming pools, tennis courts, a playground and a 6,000-square-foot recreation center with an 1,800-square-foot fitness facility — opened in the summer of 2007. The 30-acre Oak Meadow Park debuted even earlier, in 2006, and Lake Bridgeland and Cypress Lake were ready to enjoy at inception. Dozens of parks are now open within the community and an on-site activities director manages myriad monthly classes and events, many of which are open to the public. Highlights of Bridgeland’s events calendar are Nature Fest, which debuted in 2008, and Howl-O-Ween Fest, an October event initiated in 2009.
The development made headlines in June 2010 when it bridged the nostalgia for days gone by with the modern conveniences of today through its launch of Lakeland Heights, the first traditional neighborhood development to open in northwest Houston. Featuring Main Street-style housing in a walkable neighborhood with nearby amenities and retail, Lakeland Heights is patterned after similar developments in other parts of the country, including Celebration, Fla., I’On in Mount Pleasant, S.C., and, finally, Kentlands in Gaithersburg, Md., which has enjoyed success for nearly two decades.
In February 2012, Bridgeland announced its affiliation with The Woodlands, a 28,000-acre master-planned community located 27 miles north of downtown Houston. The Woodlands is taking a leadership role in developing Bridgeland, as the community continues to grow and develop its “sense of place,” an important factor in the sustainability of a community, according to Edward T. McMahon with the Urban Land Institute. In a 2012 article, he cites the “Soul of the Community” survey that was designed to answer what makes residents love where they live and what attracts people to a place and keeps them there.
“The study found that the most important factors that create emotional bonds between people and their community were not jobs and the economy, but rather ‘physical beauty, opportunities for socializing and a city’s openness to all people.’”
Bridging nature with development and boasting a host of amenities that encourage neighborly camaraderie, Bridgeland is poised to be one of Houston’s most enduring communities.
Fact Sheet: Bridgeland
Bridgeland is an 11,400-acre master planned community in Cypress, Texas, in northwest Houston. It is located on Fry Road, approximately 2.5 miles south of U.S. 290 and 11 miles north of Interstate 10. It is planned for an eventual 21,000 homes. Known for an abundance of amenities, Bridgeland is devoting 3,000 acres to green space and recreation, including 900 acres of lakes and waterways. Approximately 60 miles of hike-and-bike trails also are planned.
First inhabited by Comanche and Karankawa tribes, the Katy Prairie — including the land that is now Bridgeland — was mostly untouched by Europeans until the 1870s. Bridgeland’s acreage was used for raising milk cattle and hogs and farming Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes and, more recently, rice. In the mid-1900s, the oil boom hit the Cypress area, with the Cypress oil field contained wholly within the current Bridgeland development. Inception of the master-planned community began in 2004, with the first home sale occurring in March 2006. The development is now owned, along with The Woodlands, by The Howard Hughes Corporation.
The Woodlands Development Company has assumed a leadership role in the development of Bridgeland. With nearly 40 years of successful real estate development to its credit, The Woodlands’ team brings relevant expertise to help Bridgeland realize its full potential as a master-planned community. The Woodlands is currently ranked No. 2 among the best-selling master planned communities in the United States.
As of January 2013, Bridgeland had approximately 1,800 occupied homes in Lakeland Village, the first of four villages to be developed. Approximately 5,800 people live in Bridgeland (as of January 2013) and the community will be home to 65,000 when complete. Sales in the community started strong before dipping during the 2008-2009 housing crisis, but the community has since seen annual increases:
2007 – 276 sales
2008 – 233 sales
2009 – 171 sales
2010 – 282 sales
2011 – 334 sales
2012 – 421 sales
The trend of escalating sales has earned Bridgeland the No. 4 spot on Metrostudy’s list of top-selling master planned communities in the Houston area. Fourteen builders offer homes in Bridgeland, with prices from the $180,000s to the millions.
Not surprisingly, bridges for vehicular and pedestrian use are integral to the Bridgeland landscape, adding both function and aesthetic appeal. Each bridge follows a standard design that not only enhances views and blends with the natural surroundings, but also, through the use of weathered steel, requires minimal upkeep. The number of these signature bridges will continue to grow as development continues.
Each of Bridgeland’s four villages will have communities comprising clusters of neighborhoods and will be anchored by a village center, with employment, retail, restaurants, services, places of worship and more. Each village also will have an activity center with an array of amenities. An 800-acre Town Center along the Grand Parkway will be central to the villages and may include a variety of shopping and dining choices, entertainment, employment and a hospital.
Part of Bridgeland’s current development includes work surrounding the community, namely construction of a 15.2-mile extension of the Grand Parkway, underway now by the Texas Department of Transportation. Construction is expected to be complete by the end of the year. Segment E of the Grand Parkway will be a major thoroughfare through Bridgeland and will extend from Interstate 10 north to U.S. 290. Future segments of the Grand Parkway will further enhance the region’s mobility, with extensions planned from U.S. 290 to U.S. 59.
Bridgeland residents enjoy a host of amenities, including Lakeland Activity Center, with a resort-style pool, junior Olympic-size pool, tennis courts, 6,000-square-foot recreation center with fitness facility and playground. Also open are the first 1.5 miles of the planned six-mile Cypress Creek Nature Trail, a 10-acre disc golf course at Oak Meadow Park and a concert pavilion at Festival Park. Cypress Lake, which is more than 100 acres, and Lake Bridgeland provide opportunities for catch-and-release fishing and non-motorized boating, with residents having complimentary use of community kayaks, canoes, paddleboats and sailboats. Numerous parks also are open, as part of Bridgeland’s plan to provide park space no more than a quarter-mile from each homesite. Also, a three-acre park and sprayground is under construction now, opening by year’s end.
Bridgeland has a “cradle-to-career” education plan that encompasses day cares, preschools, public, private and special needs schools and opportunities for higher education. The first of nine on-site schools, Cy-Fair Independent School District’s Sue Gratehouse Pope Elementary, will open in August 2013. When fully developed, Bridgeland will be served by Cy-Fair, named Best Large School District in Texas in the 2012 H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards, as well as Waller and Katy independent school districts. Each of the three school districts holds a Recognized rating from the Texas Education Agency for the 2011-12 school year.
Bridgeland has won many development awards, including a Community of the Year Silver Award from the National Association of Home Builders in The Nationals’ 2011 competition and Developer of the Year in the Texas Association of Builders’ 2011 Star Awards (a second consecutive win). The Greater Houston Builders Association named Bridgeland Developer of the Year in 2012 and Bridgeland won a Gold Award in The Nationals 2012 competition for its environmentally sensitive landscape design. Bridgeland’s Lakeland Heights traditional neighborhood development won a Landmark Award for Residential Development from the Houston Business Journal. Bridgeland was named the 2008 National Association of Home Builders’ Master Planned Community of the Year.
Sustainability — Why Bridgeland Will Endure
In development terms, “sustainability” means more than shiny new “green” technologies that preserve the environment. While smart development practices to preserve nature’s balance are important, sustainable, at its most basic, means “enduring” and a sustainable community means one that will continue to thrive.
With its commitment to both the life of its environment and its residents, Bridgeland is poised to be one of Houston’s most sustainable communities for generations to come.
Two principles guide Bridgeland’s sustainability efforts:
Bridgeland achieves this through a variety of measures:
Who’s Who in Bridgeland
The Woodlands Development Company
The Woodlands Development Company
Director of Marketing
The Woodlands Development Company
Vice President of Master Planned Communities
Vice President, Marketing
The Howard Hughes Corporation
David Weekley Homes
281.249.7757 (Lakeland Heights)
J. Kyle Homes
281.373.4594 or 281.304.9060
281.373.4031 or 281.213.2034
Partners in Building
Ronny Carroll Custom Homes
Tommy Bailey Homes
Partners in Building