When Exxon Mobil Corp. announced it was building a new corporate campus in 2011, residential developers and homebuilders saw an opportunity in the suburbs north of Houston.
In late 2012, Toll Brothers Inc. (NYSE: TOL) and Cernus Development LLC purchased 692 acres off Riley Fuzzel Road and the Grand Parkway for a new luxury community called Woodson’s Reserve. The joint venture between the Horsham, Pennsylvania-based luxury homebuilder and the Houston-based developer planned more than 1,000 homes within Woodson’s Reserve, located a few miles east of The Woodlands and Exxon Mobil’s (NYSE: XOM) new campus.
Homebuilders in Woodson’s Reserve — anticipating a flood of new buyers from the energy sector— offered luxury homes ranging in size from 3,000 to 6,000 square feet and in price from the high $300,000s to $1 million on 60-, 70- and 80-foot lots. The first phase of Woodson’s Reserve opened in June 2015.
Click through the slideshow to see photos of Woodson’s Reserve homes as well as a 9,000-square-foot amenity center, lake and preserved nature areas.
However, amid the oil slump, Woodson’s Reserve and other communities north of Houston didn’t experience a flood of luxury homebuyers. To be sure, there were some Exxon homebuyers, but nothing like what was expected from the so-called “Exxon Effect.”
“It hasn’t been as large as we expected,” said Jordan Mack, a principal at Cernus Development LLC. “It was still a big component of our sales. Our average home sale has been over $500,000. Woodson’s is hitting its stride.”
However, homes under $400,000 are outperforming luxury homes across Houston amid the energy downturn. Toll Brothers and Cernus are now planning new sections within Woodson’s Reserve that will offer slightly more affordable, but still high-quality homes on smaller lots, Mack said.
Toll Brothers is launching a new product line in Woodson’s Reserve called T Select, which will offer the same high quality expected from Toll Brothers but with fewer options, quicker delivery times and a slightly lower price. The luxury homebuilder has begun construction on 34 T Select homes on 60- and 65-foot lots in Woodson’s Reserve. The one- and two-story homes will start in price from the upper $300,000s.