09/24/10 12:37pm

SCHOOL-DISTRICT MANIFEST DESTINY Cinco Ranch — recently named the fastest-growing residential community in the country by a real-estate consulting firm — will keep expanding west. Newland Communities just purchased 492 acres west of neighboring Pine Mill Ranch, way out near Firethorne between FM 1463 and Katy-Flewellen Road; the company plans to have new Cinco Ranch-branded homesites available there within a couple of years. Further west, there’s even more land available for cheap: the 742-acre Tamarron Lakes subdivision was foreclosed on in April. Kirk Laguarta of Land Advisors Organization, who’s marketing that property for $19K an acre, tells the Houston Business Journal that the property that Newland just bought is considered more valuable that that, in part because it’s zoned to Katy ISD. But Newland may not be interested in expanding Cinco Ranch into Tamarron Lakes — that development belongs to the Lamar Consolidated ISD. [Houston Business Journal]

10/15/09 3:13pm

Updates on a few restaurants Swamplot has been following:

  • Reopened: Azzarelli’s, an Italian-American restaurant that began the year in Cinco Ranch’s Tuscan-themed Villagio Town Center, then (after a notable exit) camped for a while (as Azzarelli’s Corner Café) in another center at 6455 South Fry Road, opened last week in its 4th location within just a couple of years: 17754 Katy Freeway, Suite B, I-10 at Barker Cypress. “With this great location, I will be open 365 days a year,” owner Frank Triola tells his press-release copywriter.
  • Opening Soon: The restaurant going into the former Cue & Cushion pool hall at 510 Shepherd that Swamplot reported on earlier this fall now has a name: Branch Water Tavern — and a more palatable label than “gastropub.” Try “Modern American Tavern.” Chef David Grossman says it’ll open later this month, but the Houston Press‘s Robb Walsh, who’s toured the construction site, thinks Christmas is more likely.

More eats:


03/23/09 11:27am

GRAND PARKWAY SPRAWL STIMULUS The road exemplifies an unintended effect of the stimulus law: an administration that opposes suburban sprawl is giving money to states for projects that are almost certain to exacerbate it. A new master-planned community called Bridgeland is rising on the prairie along the proposed site of the road; once completed, the development is expected to have 21,000 new homes on 11,400 acres. Other developers are eagerly awaiting the new road so they can start building on their empty land, too. . . . [Roger H. Hord, the president of the West Houston Association] pointed out that the road would connect two existing highways and said it would ease congestion on some of Houston’s other beltways. He said that an existing leg of the Grand Parkway, just to the south of the proposed leg, would give a sense of what the new stretch of the Grand Parkway might look like when it is done. The existing stretch is lined with strip malls and gas stations and drug stores and a huge 7,600-acre residential development called Cinco Ranch that is popular with families.” [New York Times]

01/06/09 11:51am

Azzarelli’s Restaurant has fled the Tuscan-styled Villagio Town Center in Cinco Ranch, reports InsideKaty blogger Helen Eriksen — leaving behind a delinquent-rent notice on the front door . . . and some sort of lawsuit:

Inside the spacious eatery, napkins, bread plates and wine glasses are neatly arranged on the tables. Christmas decorations are also still in place but it’s unclear if the closing is permanent.

Efforts to reach [owner Frank] Triola were unsuccessful as of this blog posting. The person who answered the phone for the leasing agent, Villagio Partners, said she would have to check to see if someone could call me back because there is ongoing litigation in the matter.

Meanwhile, commenters have sighted a new Azzarelli’s just off the Katy Freeway:

However, driving down 1-10 heading west from Houston, the Barker Cypress exit has a new strip center and what do you know… Azzerelli’s is opening up a new restaurant! I think that the rent was very high at the Villagio Town Center and they are moving to a lower cost building. ??

Tuscan theming doesn’t come cheap. Another giveaway: the flashing “I-10 Location Coming soon!” notice on the Azzarelli’s website.

Photo: Azzarelli’s

11/18/08 9:13am

MAYBE SIENNNA IS AVAILABLE? Marketing new themed apartments has got to be tough these days — all those great Southern European-y names are already taken! “Out-of-state developers thought they had coined a great name for their senior living apartments in Katy. Then they found out a nearby master-planned community had already claimed the same name. A joint venture led by Georgia-based Formation Development Group LLC broke ground in May on The Sienna at Cinco Ranch apartments at 24001 Cinco Village Center Blvd., west of Houston. But the site was a little too close for comfort to the Sienna Plantation master-planned community located south of Cinco Ranch in Fort Bend County. So Formation Development formulated a slight change of plans — The Sienna at Cinco Ranch is now going to be called The Solana at Cinco Ranch. ‘There was a little bit of confusion,’ says Karen Thompson, a spokeswoman for the development firm. ‘They wanted to have something that was going to be unique to their property.'” [Houston Business Journal]

07/19/07 9:31pm

Aerial Rendering of Villagio Shopping Center in Cinco Ranch

A Woodlands developer has decided its latest creation—a not-yet-opened shopping center in Katy—should be replicated statewide and beyond. Marcel Inc. CEO Vernon Veldekens told GlobeSt.com that

the concept behind Villagio involves smaller, mixed-use centers in neighborhoods rather than fronting freeways or interstate highways. “This gives a more intimate relationship with the community, similar to a European town square,” he says. “We feel like we can put these all over town in mid- to high-end areas and have the same success as we have in Cinco Ranch.”

The Villagio at Cinco Ranch, a boutique lifestyle center slated to open this fall on a 12-acre site at the corner of Westheimer Pkwy. and Peek Rd., is almost three-quarters leased. The center combines 112,285 square feet of retail and office space in a parking-lot-like setting. The developer’s marketing director told the Houston Chronicle that the Villagio will have a “Tuscan look and Tuscan feel to it.” Many of the cars in the 307 spaces surrounding the buildings and the 225-space garage will likely be European as well.

The project is a departure for Marcel Inc., a property development and management firm whose base portfolio includes more mundane shopping centers and a gas station and convenience store, and which previously developed a motorcycle superstore and a handful of Family Dollar stores. Already, the firm has plans for Villagios in north Austin and The Woodlands, and is contemplating additional locations in Round Rock, San Marcos, New Braunfels, and Dallas, according to Globe St.

After the jump, more views of the expanding Tuscan landscape, including the Tuscan villas on the lot!