Developer proposes new McKinney community with more than 10,000 homes

A prominent North Texas developer is working to bring a sprawling community to an 1,800-acre site in northern McKinney.

Dallas-based Republic Property Group presented a proposal in December to McKinney City Council for Honey Creek, a property west of Highway 75 and next to the future U.S. Route 380 bypass. The proposed development would include more than 10,000 homes as well as commercial and office space.

“The goal would be to have future commercial [space], corporate relocations and business parks in the future,” Republic Property Group co-CEO Jake Wagner told McKinney City Council in a work session Dec. 6. “It really all starts with a proper framework up front and quality residential, and that’s what we would be focused on when starting the project.”

Republic Property said it has been in discussions with the landowner for several years about the property. Despite the recent slowdown in the local housing market due to higher mortgage rates and affordability challenges, Republic appears to be bullish on the region in the long term. A Republic Property Group spokesman said executives were not available for an interview.

“Communities of this nature are complex and take a long time to come to fruition,” the company said in a statement. “Republic Property Group believes in the future growth and demand for homes in D-FW and McKinney.”

Builders have sold more than 1,000 homes in the Light Farms community in Celina, which was developed by Republic Property Group.(Jae S. Lee / Staff Photographer)

Republic Property is known for developing the 7,200-acre Walsh community southwest of Fort Worth and the more than 1,000-acre Light Farms in Celina. The firm also recently purchased land in Frisco’s 2,500-acre Fields development to build rental homes.

The developer has an agreement with the landowner to develop a 400-acre southwest portion of the site but is considering broadening its partnership, Wagner said. The company is seeking to create a financing district for the entire site that would allow for future development.

Republic Property estimates the proposed development would represent more than $2 billion in taxable value. The community would have a mix of housing options, from large and small single-family homes to townhomes, cottages and apartments.

A conceptual plan for the Honey Creek development in northern McKinney submitted to the city...
A conceptual plan for the Honey Creek development in northern McKinney submitted to the city for approval of a financing district.(Republic Property Group)

The property, previously known as Cross F Ranch, is owned by entities affiliated with Santiago Jorba, Collin County records show. Jorba is the founder of Creu Capital, a private equity real estate investor that develops and invests in large tracts of land. Jorba is the son of Jaime Jorba Sr., who invested in Texas real estate and co-founded Bimbo Bakeries, which owns brands including Thomas’, Entenmann’s and Mrs. Baird’s Bread.

Creu Capital previously proposed a $300 million development for the site in 2017 with a different developer, Sanchez Advisory Group. It was pitched to Amazon as a potential second headquarters location that same year, but the e-commerce giant ultimately settled on Arlington, Va.

Republic Property Group hopes to form a municipal management district for the site. The financing tool is similar to a public improvement district, which finances infrastructure, services and neighborhood amenities through assessments and taxes. But unlike a public improvement district, municipal management districts are primarily controlled by a district board rather than the city.

The McKinney City Council gave its support for the financing district Dec. 20. Republic Property Group plans to submit a bill during the current legislative session, as the Texas Legislature is responsible for creating such districts. Republic Property also plans to pursue a development agreement with McKinney that would annex portions of the property that are not already annexed and zone it for the proposed uses.

Wagner told the council that the majority of the property is still zoned under a zoning code from the 1980s. Currently, “you have a hodgepodge of a land-use framework that would be challenging to use to create a cohesive place,” he said.

The new agreement, according to Wagner, “would allow us to have a very wide variety of product offerings and really approach housing affordability and attainability, which is a continuing challenge in this market.”

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