How Springwoods Village Will Earn Its Lunch Money, and other Secrets of the Great ExxonMobil Frontiers

The HBJ’s Jennifer Dawson picks up an interesting detail about Springwoods Village, the mysterious eco-themed community being planned by a mysterious company for 1,800 mostly forested acres just south of the Woodlands, at the intersection of I-45, the Hardy Toll Road, and (someday) the Grand Parkway. Coventry Development, still won’t talk about the project’s connection to the rumored but not-yet-announced corporate campus ExxonMobil appears to be building next door, which is expected to consolidate most employees currently based in Houston and Fairfax, Virginia. But it sure looks like Coventry is banking on something big close by: Development director Keith Simon tells Dawson that

Coventry will develop commercial parcels in Springwoods before the residential acreage. The company’s strategy is to build commercial first to create tax value that will funnel money through the tax district to fund infrastructure.

Building standalone office parks and strip centers in the middle of a forest is, of course, a time-honored Houston development tradition. More often these days though, the sprawling houses go in first. But if the major centralized campus of the second-largest publicly traded company in the world is going to bring in thousands of workers nearby pretty soon anyway, yeah — what’s the point?


Simon also comes clean about who actually owns the land slated to become Springwoods Village . . . sort of: It’s . . . uh, just some “wealthy Europeans,” who picked up the land in the 1960s. Actually, make that wealthy space-race-speculating Europeans. Another branch of the secretive ownership group, Simon says, picked up about 1,000 acres of land near the Baybrook Mall back in 1960 or ’61 — “only months before the Johnson Space Center was announced.” ExxonMobil — or at least its predecessor, Humble Oil — was lurking in the background back then, too. The oil company donated the land the space center now sits on to Rice University, which flipped it to the federal government for a quick $20 profit.

Images: Springwoods Village

7 Comment

  • Say what? 50 years ago some europeans chose this awesome corner of commerce in Houston’s not-yet-suburbs?

  • I-45 wasn’t even there, 50 years ago.

  • Exactly, though Hwy 75 and the RR tracks were.

  • Traipsing through the Harris County Clerk’s website, and the State Comptroller’s website, it looks like the tract was put together between 1961 and 1980, with the bulk of it occurring in May 1961 when Chrymarine Properties bought the Moore and Limsky tracts from the Kuhlman and Cook families. Various bits and pieces were added over the years. Chrymarine was merged into Springwoods in 1998.

    I do have to wonder, though, why Europeans would buy that much land in the middle of nowhere in 1961.

  • The 1950-60s were tense times in Europe, and the USSR looked pretty indominatable. Perhaps some industrialists (plastics?) were assembling options in case they needed to flee.

  • The land for IAH had already been purchased by (per Wikipedia) “a group of civic-minded Houston businessmen in 1957.”

  • After I posted the note above, I saw a lawsuit where Springwoods says a portion of the Limsky tract was purchased in December 1960. The names associated with the companies in New York are mostly Greek, if that means anything. Whoever they are, they certainly have a long term outlook