Longtime Waco builders Fred Dewald and Richard Clark have teamed up to create a new subdivision in West Waco that will feature construction of more than 700 homes on property just blocks away from Castleman Creek Elementary School.

Called Creekside, the development in the Midway Independent School District will offer homes priced from $200,000 to $400,000 and may fill up within six years, if the local housing market continues to sizzle, Dewald said. He and Clark have developed local subdivisions including Villages of Twin Rivers and Stone Creek Ranch.

Dewald and Clark have recruited at least nine local builders to buy lots and place homes in Creekside, providing Greater Waco-based contractors an opportunity to compete with national and regional giants D.R. Horton, Stylecraft and John Houston Homes that continue to build hundreds of homes in the local market, Dewald said.

“Creekside has road frontage on Warren Road and eventually Ritchie Road, which makes the subdivision conveniently located with easy access to Hewitt Drive, Interstate 35 and U.S. Highway 84,” Dewald said in a press release. “Creekside is near schools, city parks, shopping, restaurants and hospitals, but cozily tucked away in a quiet spot to call home.”

When fully developed, Creekside will have 750 homes of various sizes, adding $250 million in property values to McLennan County appraisals for taxation purposes, Dewald said in a phone interview.

“We’re already getting inquiries and have received commitments for the first 50 lots. We offered those to the builders first,” Dewald said. “These are going to be nice, custom-like homes on gently rolling land with a lot of elevation changes. I believe it is going to be first-class.”


Map

The Creekside development is roughly bounded by West Warren Street, Ritchie Road and Bonham Drive.

The first phase of Creekside will start taking shape this month, with 120 lots becoming available for site development by builders.

“I’m going to buy four lots right off,” said Ronnie Laird, a 40-year veteran of the local construction trade. “I’ve been through several recessions, the tough times of the ‘70s and ‘80s, and it boggles my mind what people are paying for houses in Waco, Texas, these days.”

But Laird said he will get with the program at Creekside and build 2,000- to 2,100-square-foot homes priced at $300,000 or more.

Ronnie McNiel, owner of McNiel Homes Inc., said he likewise will kick off his participation in Creekside by securing four lots in the first phase.

“I’ve had a hard time finding lots since January, so I haven’t been building speculative homes,” McNiel said. “Custom homes and a couple of big remodels have been keeping me busy.”

Larger homebuilding companies are “making a splash” but not necessarily hurting smaller builders, he said.

“We may build a better mousetrap,” McNiel said. “They use the same floor plans over and over in a cookie-cutter approach. They buy materials in bulk, so they may beat us in price. But competition is good, especially if Waco keeps growing like it has been the past few years.”

David Oates, owner of David Oates Construction, called himself a one-person operation who tackles homebuilding projects as demand dictates. He has agreed to ply his trade at Creekside.

“Ricky Clark contacted me about the project, and it looks like I’m down for a couple of lots in the first addition,” Oates said. “I like the area, and the school district is popular. I think Creekside will become a great asset for its hometown, considering the involvement of established local builders.”

Asked about demand for the homes, Oates said it is always a question.

“Of course, if you build a good product and it is marketed correctly, you will prevail,” he said. “But there is always concern in construction. I’m not positive about demand in Waco, though the economy is doing well, as everyone knows. Supply can meet demand and then some.”

Scott Bland, a local builder and president of the Heart of Texas Builders Association, applauds the arrival of Creekside.

“I think it’s in a good spot, and when you have local builders involved, that’s a plus,” Bland said, adding that D.R. Horton’s massive, 1,500-home Park Meadows development “is right around the corner.”

Bland said he has no quarrel with D.R. Horton, which is building homes ideally suited for young couples needing a starter residence.

A D.R. Horton website devoted to Park Meadows shows home floor plans in varied styles and carrying prices ranging from $168,000 to $212,000.

“Those people will be my clients in eight or 10 years, when they’ve built up some equity and want to move,” Bland said. “That’s what Fred (Dewald) is doing, offering a place right around the corner from D.R. Horton.”

Dewald and Richard Clark are offering lots priced from the high $30,000s to about $50,000 in Creekside, which is located in an area of Waco roughly bounded by West Warren Street, Ritchie Road and Bonham Drive.

“I believe in five years, there will be 4,000 to 5,000 new houses throughout that area,” Dewald said.

Bland said he would not necessarily argue with that assessment.

“About the only thing that might concern me is the city of Waco’s ability to provide the infrastructure to support such growth,” Bland said.

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