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Little Towns With Big Appeal: The Colony

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With names like Warren Buffett, Jackson Shaw, Billingsley and Matthews Southwest already putting their stamp of approval on it, it is easy to see the future of The Colony.

Billingsley’s Austin Ranch touches parts of Lewisville and Carrollton, but the bulk of the 1,900-acre development is in The Colony. The project will have apartments, offices, industrial, luxury homes, retail, walking trails, dog parks and more at build out.

We’re mostly [a] bedroom community with our population shrinking during the day,” The Colony Economic Development Corp. director Kari Samford said. “That is changing because of our office relocations and the many developments like Grandscape and Austin Ranch.”

About 40,000 residents call The Colony home, and Samford says about 50,000 to 55,000 will at build-out. But unlike many other North Dallas suburbs, The Colony has very little extraterritorial jurisdiction. Most of the population growth will come from developments densifying The Colony’s 13 square miles.

Billingsley Co.’s Austin Ranch (above) touches parts of Lewisville and Carrollton, but the bulk of the 1,900-acre development is in The Colony. The project will have apartments, offices, industrial, luxury homes, retail, walking trails, dog parks and more. In October, AmerisourceBergen announced it would occupy a 300k SF regional headquarters there. 

As Billingsley and others deliver more office space, The Colony becomes more of a fluid city with people living, working, shopping and staying. Quest Resource Management Group, Rave Restaurant Group and Panasonic are some of the big employment bases in the city.

Nebraska Furniture Mart’s $1.5B Grandscape has more than a mile fronting SH-121 on its 433 acres. Phase one is well underway (and will include Blue Plate Network’s client Truck Yard and Quincy’s Chicken Shack) with retail, hotels, restaurants and entertainment. Last month, developers announced that Galaxy Theaters will open an 85l SF, 16-screen theater in 2019

Retail is picking up too. Nebraska Furniture Mart’s $1.5B, 433-acre Grandscape has more than a mile fronting SH-121. Phase 1 of the Berkshire Hathaway development is well underway with retail, hotels, restaurants (including Blue Plate Network’s client Truck Yard and Quincy’s Chicken Shack) and entertainment. Last month, developers announced that Galaxy Theaters will open an 85k SF, 16-screen theater (above) in 2019. The 2.6M SF of destination retail is expected to draw 8 million visitors its first year and grow every year thereafter. 

With an average household income of $130k, Samford said The Colony’s population supports its own retail. But with a Nebraska Furniture Mart accounting for 560k SF alone, The Colony is drawing a lot of outside retail dollars as well. The retail trade area is projected to grow 13% from 2016 to 2021. 

Samford said hospitality has a steady market also, both from business travelers during the week and weekend stays from families attending sporting events at the city’s Five Star Complex and Blue Sky Sports Complex.

Jackson Shaw’s Cascades project has three Marriott hotels and more than 6k SF of meeting space within a 110-acre mixed-use park. Sigma Solutions has a facility there.

Matthews Southwest’s Old American Golf Club and The Tribute Golf Links are already complete and the master planned development encompassing them, The Tribute, is making strides to create a family community. The firm championed a new school, convincing Little Elm Independent School District to build a science, technology, engineering and math academy that has caused development to blossom, Samford said.

And while SH-121 has been the epicenter of development for The Colony, renovations to FM 423 (the city’s north-south Main Street) will be complete this fall, making for a smooth ride north. 

Update: Feb. 3, 8:24 CT: An earlier version of this story incorrectly mentioned Lewisville Independent School District where Little Elm Independent School District was intended.