DEC’s Client-Focused Land Team on Texas Development Today
Jack Carter and Steve Sheldon are the dynamic duo leading and growing DEC’s Land Development division. Together they bring decades of experience in land development to build long-term, successful client relationships.
What’s the current state of land development in Texas?
It’s the best we’ve seen in decades. It’s being driven by population growth, housing demand and our state’s quality of life.
Anything about new DEC projects that you’d like to share?
We’re excited to share news about some huge project wins. New projects include 1,800-, 800-, 400- and 200-acre tracts in League City. Combined with other work we are already doing in League City, projects totaling 4,500 will be phased in over 20 years. We’re also starting a 2,200-acre project in West Austin that should take 10-15 years.
Private development can be challenging. What are some of the hurdles that can arise and how do you manage them?
We want to be proactive and stay ahead of any kind of obstacle that can come up.
We prefer to be engaged before the client buys the land so we can help evaluate it. There’s a checklist of eight to ten key elements, including potential environmental issues like wetlands; flood plain management; water availability; water, wastewater and storm sewer infrastructure; and financing options. Land development is much more than engineering streets and utilities.
What do you see as DEC’s competitive advantages in land development?
We strive to excel by being very client focused. We always respond to clients immediately and strive to be proactive to provide what they need. We train our staff to imagine the client’s money as their own as we plan and execute projects. Meeting the client’s schedule is most important. The sooner we can deliver lots for sale, the sooner they can begin to reap the benefits of their project.
We also believe in collaborative relationships with our clients to meet their goals, manage expectations and overcome any hurdles. We are fortunate that our staff has embraced this philosophy and works daily to solve any problems.
Can you share a few project success stories?
We’re proud of every project that brings a client’s vision to life and benefits communities. We’ll highlight two to show the range of projects.
We’ve been involved with South Shore Harbour, a 2,000-acre, mixed-use development in League City, since its inception in the 1980s. The phased development involved the creation of five municipal utility districts. Features include single- and multi-family housing, a 27-hole golf course, a marina, hotel and convention facilities, retail centers, and office buildings.
Mandolin Gardens Park, a picturesque community amenity in Cypress, was once a muddy detention pond built to mitigate flooding in a municipal utility district. DEC teamed with a landscape architect and developed a plan to transform the 11-acre, linear, dry detention pond into an award-winning, beautifully landscaped park with a 1 ½-mile walking trail, lakes, fountains and a gazebo.