Master-planned communities are "big" in Texas, like many other aspects of Texas lore. Even more so in Houston! The annual list of the top 50 master-planned communities in 2014 (based on new home sales) features 20 from Texas. Then consider that 15 of those on the Top 50 list are in Houston.
Cypress and Katy are communities located in the far west and northwest side of Houston – with Katy out I-10 and Cypress out Hwy 290. The Grand Parkway loop connects them now out on SH99.
These, and other master-planned communities in Houston are experiencing tremendous growth recently, and if you are moving to Houston, they are worth checking out as your possible new home. In 2013, for example, the top 2 fastest growing zip codes in the country were Katy (77494) and Cypress (77433), according to data from Maponics, a Vermont-based data company.
Much of the recent growth and expansion in Houston is in Cypress. With plenty of land to spread, that's just what's happening. The brand-new Grand Parkway 15-mile segment connecting Cypress to Katy is part of a planned 185-mile outer loop making it even easier to travel in the urban sprawl.
Back in the 1850s, Cypress served as an early commercial and transportation center, thanks to the extension of the Houston & Texas Central Railroad to Cypress. Its downtown featured saloons, stores, and hotels in the center of the widespread rice farming community.
Today, families move to Cypress for its location, beauty and school district. Cypress Fairbanks Independent School District (Cy Fair ISD) ranks as the largest "recognized" school district in Texas. A few years ago, it was adding 4,000 new students a year. Not to mention the 2,500 students that moved to the area after Hurricane Katrina.
Here are some areas to consider if you're thinking of moving to Cypress.
Longwood & Coles Crossing
Cypress' resurgence began in the 1990s with the opening of two master-planned communities, Longwood and Coles Crossing. Longwood is tucked inside a grove of pine trees, which makes for a beautiful setting. It also features the Longwood Golf Club. Coles Crossing is focused on preserving the natural environment with more than 2,500 homes situated on 1,500 acres of forested land. Folks who love the outdoors will appreciate the miles of greenbelt trails and 56-acre Nature Park along Cypress Creek.
It's no wonder Bridgeland has earned such accolades, considering its developer, The Woodlands Development Company, is the same one that designed The Woodlands years ago.
It's considered one of the best master-planned communities for families thanks to the environmental preservation and sustainability that were built right into the design. The reality of this purposeful planning is open spaces, 900 acres of lakes, 60 miles of trails, self-sustaining irrigation and future town centers. Residents and wildlife are able to thrive in 3,000 acres of open spaces! Bridgeland hosts several major free festivals (NatureFest and Howl-O-Ween Fest) that attract thousands of folks each year.
Its recent awards include 2015 Community of the Year (Texas Association of Home Builders) and 2013 Master Planned Community of the Year (Greater Houston Builders Association).
Towne Lake is a newer neighborhood in Cypress experiencing growth today. Folks are thrilled with the brand-new, major grocery store built right in the community, complementing the design style of the subdivision. Towne Lake is currently building a marina and boardwalk, attracting many restaurants and businesses that are unique in the area. The idea is for residents to boat to dinner for waterfront dining and activities using marina parking. It's a unique concept in Houston, for sure!
With all the families moving into the area, it's no surprise Cypress' school district is growing as well. Cy Fair ISD grew from being the 10th largest district in the state to the 4th largest, with approximately 110,000 students. Its 12th high school opens in 2016 and another follows in 2017.
Katy has come a long way since its beginning as a hunting ground for the Karankawa Indians! With roughly 75,000 residents today, Katy offers a nice mix with its "Old Town Katy" and modern amenities.
In addition to its strong school district, Katy is known for its excellence in football. Katy Tigers have been state finalists or state champs 10 of the last 15 years. For those looking to move west, one of the best master-planned communities in Katy is Cinco Ranch. This community – about 25 miles west of Houston – continues to thrive since it's always adding new amenities. Residents enjoy The Beach Club, the University of Houston System at Cinco Ranch, Golf Club at Cinco Ranch, La Centerra outdoor shopping center and water parks.
Cinco Ranch ranked No. 3 in the nation among master-planned communities in 2013 and No. 13 in 2014. The prevalence of homes is shrinking, though the interest is still there.