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Houston-Based Developers Plan To Welcome Residents To The Agrihood

A new real estate development company focused on building neighborhoods for people “rather than cars, capital and corporations” is rolling out a master-planned development centered around community and urban farming in the Houston suburbs.

A portion of the 235-acre site is within Richmond's extraterritorial jurisdiction.

Houston-based Meristem Communities will debut Indigo, a 235-acre agrihood-style community in the Richmond area, in late 2023. Per the company website, the master-planned community integrates agriculture and residential development, with the goal of creating a close-knit, welcoming community that includes an onsite market, boutiques, cafes and easy access to State Highway 99 and the Grand Parkway. 

Meristem plans to break ground in December, Houston Business Journal reported. David Weekley Homes, Empire Communities and Highland Homes are slated as the homebuilders. 

About 42 acres of the project will be reserved for a farm with crop fields and pasture for livestock, alongside 750 single-family and multifamily homes, according to the article. Indigo will also feature parks, a 25-acre lake and at least 70K SF of mixed-used commercial development in a town center.

The founders of Meristem Communities, Scott Snodgrass and Clayton Garrett, are calling the town center Indigo Commons, and they plan to place 85% of the houses within a quarter-mile of it, HBJ reported.

Garrett and Snodgrass are also partners for Agmenity, a company that offers consulting, design, installation and management services for agricultural amenities, according to its website. Agmenity’s portfolio includes work on Johnson Development Corp.’s Jordan Ranch in the Katy-Fulshear area and Harvest Green, a master-planned community also in the Richmond area. 

Indigo will be Snodgrass and Garrett's first project with Meristem Communities, which they established in February 2021. They have owned the 235 acres between Richmond and Sugar Land in Fort Bend County since 2016, per HBJ, using some of the land for farming.

When they noticed master-planned communities springing up in the area, the pair was inspired to develop one based on their ideals.

“We don’t want to be type-casted as master-planned community developers,” Snodgrass told HBJ.

The goal is to have residents “really connect deeply with their neighbors and understand their neighborhood in a different way” than typically seen in a master planned community, Garrett told HBJ. 

The term agrihood was popularized in 2014 by Southern California-based development company Rancho Mission Viejo LLC, which was among the first to embrace the urban farm community movement. The concept has gone national since, with the Urban Land Institute counting more than 150 of them nationwide earlier this year.