Monday, December 4, 2023

Ranch owners lead vision for future development

The vision for Furst Ranch is to protect the natural scenic views and environmental features in western Flower Mound while providing an active lifestyle for the community. (Photo by Ken Vaughan Photography)

The owners of the 2,068-acre Furst Ranch in far west Flower Mound have a big dream for a future mixed-use community on their family ranch land.

Jack and Debra Furst bought their first 55 acres in 1991 in Bartonville. Over the years, they added additional acreage of adjoining property encompassing Hwy 377 and FM 1171 as they built their horse and cattle business at Furst Ranch. They donated the northernmost part of their land for the construction of Cross Timbers Church and Liberty Christian School.

The ranch served as a great place for people to connect with nature. Boy Scouts of America and American Heritage Girls troops used the property for meeting and camping. Several television shows were filmed on the ranch including “Dallas” and “Walker, Texas Ranger.” Some of the family’s favorite times were horseback riding, fishing in the lake and shotgun shooting with friends.

“I’m not a developer, I am a local resident and longstanding member of the community,” Jack Furst said. “The community has grown so much around the ranch that its natural next best use is an urban context in a rural setting.”

Now, Furst is partnering with developer Hines and working with the town of Flower Mound in planning a large mixed-use development on the land, bringing homes, apartments, office space, restaurants, retail stores and more to the Hwy 377 corridor.

“What we’re excited about at Furst Ranch is we have the opportunity to smartly develop a special place and space that is completely integrated and coordinated,” Furst said. “We can imagine, create, learn and innovate as time rolls on to smartly put together what we think is going to be one of the best communities in North Texas.”

Furst Ranch is located in west Flower Mound.

The vision for Furst Ranch includes a variety of districts, including single-family neighborhoods of varying density, with parks, trails and amenities. Furst also envisions schools, apartments, lakefront condos, senior living, corporate offices, a hotel and retail– with recreation, dining and boutique shopping, as well as an upscale grocery store. The entire development will be connected via a trail system, with lots of open space throughout. Over 30 percent of the land will be dedicated to open space and there will be over 20 miles of hike and bike trails.

“Everything you would ever need could really be contained within the 2,000 acres of Furst Ranch,” Furst said.

Most of the property is in the town of Flower Mound, but some small portions are in the extraterritorial jurisdictions of Argyle and Bartonville. Furst said he is asking those towns to agree to change borders so that the entire property is in Flower Mound.

“The dream would be that over the next year, we’re successful at getting the entire development in Flower Mound, and in that process we’ll work to put together a master plan guided by the town’s current mixed-use ordinance that works for them.”

The entire property sits in the Argyle ISD, and school sites will be a part of the development.

“We met with Argyle school officials and they have projected that they need two elementary schools and a middle school inside the community,” Furst said.

Ease of access to the community will take shape as TxDOT is planning to expand Hwy 377 from two lanes to a four-lane divided highway through southern Denton County. An overpass will be built for Hwy 377 to cross over FM 1171. There will be access roads on both sides of Hwy 377 to connect to FM 1171.

Jack Furst

Furst said development would start with residential, and that could begin as soon as next summer. The estimated timeline calls for more single-family homes and a business park in Year 2, followed by office, retail, single-family and multi-family development in the third year. However, the speed of development will depend on demand.

“It’s a lot of land to develop, a legacy project,” Furst said. “We can wait for demand to develop and then build to meet it. Everything will be end-user driven.”

Ultimately, there could be an estimated 2,832 single-family homes, 520 townhomes, 760 condos, 4,000 apartments, 2 million square feet of business parks, 1.6 million square feet of office and nearly 1 million square feet of retail.

Furst estimates that the entire development is “a $3-5 billion build, with a tax base generating $2-3 billion” over the first 20 years. The major infrastructure costs are estimated at $320 million, and the creation of both a Public Improvement District and Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone “is critical to developing the infrastructure of Furst Ranch.” The PID would require authorization by Town Council and a vote by Flower Mound residents, and the TIRZ can be created by Council.

“If we do this right … we have an opportunity to create a trophy development that will benefit the community and create a tax base in perpetuity that will pay dividends to the community as it continues to thrive and flourish, and to me that’s what real estate done well accomplishes,” Furst said.

“Success will be someone saying 40 years from now, ‘I never met this guy Jack Furst but he must’ve done something right, Furst Ranch is the best example of a live-work-play community in North Texas–it’s well-thought-out and very intentional.”

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Mark Smith
Mark Smith
Mark Smith is the Digital Editor of The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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