A Dallas-based real estate developer has partnered with the owners of a winery and resort north of Austin to add more than 1,000 Tuscan-style luxury homes on the 600-acre scenic property in the Hill Country.
Since August 2021, representatives for Hoque Global LLC said they've been marketing and selling one-acre to three-acre estate home lots at a "brisk pace" at the Vineyard at Florence, a neighborhood modeled after the Italian countryside. It will spring up about 45 miles north of Austin near the northernmost end of Williamson County.
In total, the company has plans for 1,000-plus additional lots on the property, which also includes the vineyard, as well as a boutique hotel and restaurant. The full build out of the hospitality and residential portions of the development is expected to reach a $500 million investment, according to an April 28 announcement.
"We have been working quietly and steadily on The Vineyard at Florence, with steady success and growth all along the way," Hoque Global CEO Mike Hoque said in a statement. "The opportunity to design and develop a special place in the Central Texas Hill Country has been so inspiring — innovating property that provides a holistic experience, led by the energizing and iconic culture of a great winery."
The mixed-use development promises to drastically alter the largely rural city of Florence, which had a population of 1,171 in 2020, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The vineyard began with the first planting in 2007, and it now offers wine tastings, with a 20-room resort, wedding venues, an apiary, chef's garden and wellness activities.
In 2018, Vineyard at Florence owners added Hoque as the master developer and management/operations leader for the property, with the goal of expanding both the hospitality and residential real estate features. The property underwent a multimillion-dollar renovation and reopened in 2021.
That renovation included the addition of Farmers Commons, a restaurant led by chef Soraya Spencer that opened in January.
"The Hoque Global team has elevated our dream and vision for the Vineyard to a whole new level," vineyard owner Kris Davis said in a statement. "The Vineyard at Florence has gone from a quaint countryside boutique resort to a sophisticated lifestyle venue and community that has far exceeded our expectations."
The property will soon include the expanded residential housing portion, which will add more luxury homes in a part of the metro where prices are rising rapidly.
In Williamson County, housing inventory was 1.1 months in May, according to data from the Austin Board of Realtors. There were 1,210 sales in Williamson County last month, down 9.3% year-over-year, versus 1,723 sales in Travis County, 400 in Hays County, 169 in Bastrop County and 64 in Caldwell County. The median price rose 18.5% year-over-year to $509,000 in Williamson County, compared with $659,000 in Travis County, $477,000 in Hays County, $400,900 in Bastrop County and $345,000 in Caldwell County.
Builders are rushing to put homes in the ground, especially on the periphery of the metro where land is cheaper. The population of Georgetown, southeast of Florence, grew faster than any other U.S. city of at least 50,000 people from mid-2020 to mid-2021, according to Census data. And to the south, Leander is home to one of the hottest neighborhoods for home sales in the country.
Housing inventory for the five-county Austin metro stood at 1.2 months in May, up from as low as 0.4 months in January 2021, according to ABOR.
At the Vineyard at Florence, homes are expected to cost more than the countywide median. Of the 71 lots in the first phase, 44 have been sold, with the homes on those lots in various stages of construction. Lots in the first phase are priced at $180,000 to $320,000, with the homes being built priced from $800,000 to $2 million. The builders are Grand Endeavor and KCE Homes, but owners are allowed to bring their own builders.
Across the property, 180 acres have been developed, including the hospitality and residential portions.
"The Vineyard at Florence is a beautiful place to live and thrive in the stunning Central Texas Hill Country and our development provides our residents with an amazing opportunity for a country home, second home or new home with exceptional amenities,” stated Arthur Santa-Maria, vice president of real estate at Hoque Global. “We’re so pleased to be able to bring this wonderful living to reality for our residents who are achieving their dreams to live at a stunning and award-winning Texas winery.”
Hoque Global has invested in projects across asset classes and industries, mostly in North Texas. That has included mixed-use projects in downtown Dallas and Forth Worth that span multifamily and mixed-income residential units. The company also owns and operate restaurants in the Dallas area.
The Vineyard at Florence is not the only European-style mixed-use development going up in Williamson County. In Georgetown, a 164-acre development called Wolf Lakes Village is under construction, and will include corporate office space, an H-E-B and housing.
Source: Austin Business Journal