By Vanesa Brashier, firstname.lastname@example.org
Grand Oaks Reserve, the first master-planned community in Cleveland, Texas, celebrated the grand opening of its model homes on Thursday, Feb. 28.
The homes, ranging in price from $230,000 to the mid-$400,000s, are the first phase of roughly 1,000 homes and 256 condominiums that will be built in the golf course community located on SH 321 at the SH 105 bypass. The 615-acre tract includes nine community parks, a 40-acre lake, 35,000 square-foot clubhouse, 5,000 square-foot pool house and a resort-style pool.
The jewel in the crown for the development is the Nine Grand Golf Course that features three separate courses.
“It holds a traditional nine-hole course, a par 3 course and a putting course,” said Tyson Pugh, sales manager with McKinley Home Builders, at a celebration attended by roughly 150 invited guests at the Cleveland Civic Center on Thursday.
The community will be built in four phases – the first being 200 homes. The homes come in three price tiers, along with a small custom home section that will be sold near the golf course and lake.
“One thing we’ve really strived for as a builder is to shake up the industry a bit. A lot of builders are doing away with standard features and charging a little bit more just to get a home you remotely enjoy living in. We are doing things the opposite way,” Pugh said. “We are trying to create a standard feature of our homes that no one is going to be able to match. We us as the developer and the homebuilder, we are able to offer value that simply no other builder can offer.”
As an incentive to the first 10 homebuyers, McKinley Home Builders, the development group behind Grand Oaks Reserve, is offering an additional $12K to $25K in added features.
“We are ready and open for business. We hope people will come by and check us out. Let’s get this community rocking and rolling,” he said.
ROAD TO REALITY
Two years ago, the City of Cleveland hosted the Yihai Group, the Chinese investors behind McKinley Development, for a meeting with city officials, designers, engineers and others close to the project. At the time, Mayor Otis Cohn praised the Chinese developers for having a vision for Cleveland and seeing it as a diamond in the rough.
At the grand opening celebration on Thursday, Cohn echoed his sentiment.
“They had the sense and judgment to know Cleveland was a diamond, and they went to work … the growth is coming faster than anyone here expected it would. It just took one ball rolling and McKinley taking that chance on Cleveland,” he said. “We have other developers – large and small – who are working around Cleveland now. We have industries that want to be located in Cleveland and property that was unsold for many years that is being snatched up because McKinley had the vision, and now others are seeing it as well.”
Cleveland City Manager Kelly McDonald said Thursday was a great day for the city and McKinley Home Builders.
“I sat in a meeting with county officials yesterday and we were talking about the economic growth in the county. The officials are extremely excited about what is happening in Cleveland. It’s not only going to affect the city of Cleveland but the county as well,” McDonald said. “This is the first of this type of development across the county and I am really honored to have it in Cleveland. I want to thank the McKinley folks for their vision to come here to our great city of Cleveland.”
In order to accomplish a master-planned community like Grand Oaks Reserve, a lot of effort was made by McKinley Development Company, Cohn, McDonald, current and former city council and EDC members, and county officials like County Attorney Matthew Poston, who said at the celebration that residents in Liberty County can either embrace the growth or risk missing out on opportunities.
“There is an instinct in all of us who chose to live here, who want to live here, to keep things the way they were. It’s a sense of nostalgia, but the more we base decisions on nostalgia, the more we risk fighting the inevitable. Liberty County is going to change. Development is coming. That is not a hope. That is not a dream. That is not an expectation. It is a fact,” Poston said. “If we try to fight that, we are going to miss out on opportunities.”
Poston commended Liberty County Judge Jay Knight and the four commissioners for working with city officials in Cleveland, Dayton and Liberty on the anticipated growth.
“Today we see a great moment where our local authorities worked in concert with McKinley Development to embrace change. I want to thank the City of Cleveland on behalf of the county. We did an excellent job of working together … I want to thank McKinley for the insight and the courage to be the first here. I think you are going to send a message to others to ‘come on in, the water’s fine,’” Poston said.