Fort Worth Star Telegram, by Sandra Baker | February 20, 2016 | Original article here
Development of the Walsh Ranch west of Fort Worth has taken a huge step forward with the selection of Dallas-based Republic Property Group, developer of Valley Ranch in Irving, as its development partner.
“In RPG, we have found a partner who shares our passion and vision,” said Malcolm Louden, president of Walsh Holdings. “They are legacy-minded in their desire to create a world-class community. This will completely change the west side of Fort Worth. It will change the region.”
The 7,200-acre Walsh Ranch straddles Interstates 20 and 30 just west of Fort Worth where the two highways converge, encompassing a little more than 11 square miles and some of the most picturesque land in the region. For decades, it has been the headquarters of the F. Howard Walsh Family ranching operations and one of the premier Charolais breeding operations in the country.
The Walsh family, major Fort Worth philanthropists, has been preparing for the development for more than 40 years. At buildout, the taxable value of Walsh Ranch could exceed $6 billion and the Walsh Ranch will be among the largest master-planned communities in North Texas.
Louden said RPG was selected in a nationwide search that was narrowed to a few potential firms. Those firms were interviewed, and their operations and developments visited. The finalists group was culled from about 30 firms that responded to a request for proposals.
“Their vision along with ours is to develop a legacy community,” said Jake Wagner, an RPG co-CEO. “We still have quite a bit of work to do before we stick a shovel in the ground. We will implement a plan that does justice and builds upon the rich heritage that has been established by both the family and Fort Worth.”
RPG, founded in 1967 by Rick Strauss, has completed $7 billion of development in eight states, according to its website.
The Walsh Ranch will be its largest project. The firm developed Stonebridge Ranch, a 6,250-acre community in McKinney; the 2,400-acre Valley Ranch; Light Farms in Collin County and Phillips Creek Ranch in Frisco.
Wagner said Walsh Ranch will be completed in phases, with the first phase encompassing 1,700 acres north of I-30 for single-family homes, about the size of RPG’s Lantana development in Flower Mound. The community is simply being called Walsh, RPG said.
RPG has several tasks to complete, including in-depth planning and final plats, before it can start construction, Wagner said. RPG said it hopes to begin construction this year, with the first set of lots, between 300 and 500, ready for home builders about 12 months later.
Wagner said it expects home builders to have some models and speculative homes ready by spring 2017. Each home will be within one-quarter mile of a park.
The first phase will take at least a decade to complete and will have about 3,000 homes.
Tony Ruggeri, RPG’s co-CEO, said, “This project as a whole, it could take up to a half-century to develop. We will work in conjunction with the family to make this vision of becoming the premier development in the nation, a reality.”