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Morningstar rising west of Fort Worth, planning 2,000 new homes

Families seeking homes west of Fort Worth have more options on the horizon.

While Walsh Ranch promises thousands of new residences in coming years, another nearby residential development is expected to add more than 2,000 single-family options of its own.

“It’s a great property, a great opportunity,” said Kim Gill, who is joining fellow Fort Worth developer Tim Fleet in building Morningstar, a 737-acre development just north of Interstate 20 off Farm Road 3325 in Fort Worth’s extraterritorial jurisdiction in Parker County. That’s west of the larger and more publicized Walsh Ranch development, also along I-20, but Gill and Fleet foresee no competition.

“From reports I’ve seen, theirs is more expensive than our product and they will do much larger lots,” said Kim Gill, president of Fort Worth-based Sable Development LLC. He pointed to Walsh Ranch’s housing prices as expected to be higher than those of Morningstar, whose first homes will start construction late next March.

Morningstar residences are expected to be ready for occupancy by March 2017. Kim Gill and Fleet are developing Morningstar as FG Aledo Development LLC. Their partnership is funding the development, aided by bank financing. Fleet is president of Fort Worth-based Lackland Holdings LLC.

So far, four homebuilders have signed on: D.R. Horton, Highland Homes, Rendition Homes and Impression Homes. They plan to build on about 400 lots in the first phase, with home prices from the mid-$200s to the mid-$400s.

In the next 10 years, Morningstar expects to build 2,117 single-family homes, hike and bike trails along Mary’s Creek, 100 acres of parkland and four lakes with adjoining waterfalls.

But residential lots are only part of the development. It also plans to feature 35 acres for commercial development, and the developers plan to donate 2.5 acres at Farm Road 3325 and Old Weatherford Road to Parker County for a new subcourthouse.

And just as Southlake’s location in the Carroll Independent School District has fed that city’s population in Northeast Tarrant County, so Morningstar’s location in the Aledo ISD is expected to sweeten its appeal to homebuyers.

“The Aledo ISD is a huge draw,” said Kim Gill, noting that the district owns about 100 acres adjacent to the development for a planned second high school. And about 35 acres in Morningstar have been reserved for an elementary school if the district decides it needs the property, Kim Gill said.

Having secured all necessary project approvals from the city of Fort Worth, paving began in December.

Kim Gill and Fleet bought the property in May 2014. Dubbed Morningstar Ranch by a previous owner, the land was set to house a residential community before it was sold to the Wilks brothers, who founded Fort Worth-based Frac-Tech Services, now known as FTS International.

After FG Aledo acquired the property, it sold 128 acres to the U.S. arm of Dallas-based Wilbow Corp., a subsidiary of Australia-based Wilbow Group Pty. Ltd., which plans to develop about 580 lots.

In the past year Kim Gill and Fleet have invested millions of dollars on infrastructure and hammered out agreements with the city of Fort Worth to ensure water and sewer lines. The City Council in September agreed to help fund that infrastructure.

Kim Gill called the location ideal as West Fort Worth becomes more populated and families seek new housing.

“The proximity from downtown Fort Worth is a huge asset,” said Kim Gill, pointing to families eager to live in the Aledo school district and willing to commute to downtown Fort Worth.

“Young families can move to the Aledo ISD and buy more house [for the money] and put kids in the Aledo public school system,” Kim Gill said.

Aledo ISD, as well as Fort Worth, Carroll, Grapevine-Colleyville and other area school districts, is listed as “met standard” under the Texas Education Agency’s accountability ratings.

Kim Gill described Morningstar as the largest project that their firm has undertaken.

“It’s certainly our largest project, so right now this is our focus,” Kim Gill said.

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