A new Lewisville high-rise is the latest addition to one of North Texas’ most successful community developments.
The sprawling Castle Hills community near State Highway 121 has more than 4,000 homes and has been under construction for more than two decades.
But with the single-family neighborhoods almost built out, Castle Hills’ developer Bright Realty has shifted gears with an urban-style mixed-use project called the Realm.
The first high-rise office building at the Realm has just opened on State Highway 121. And construction is continuing on hundreds of apartment units and retail space in the project.
“The office building is about 50% leased, and we have several more big deals we are working on,” said Bright Realty CEO Chris Bright. “We have Venture X — the coworking group — that should be moving in in February.”
The nine floors of offices include about 15,000 square feet of retail space on the first floor of the high-rise facing a plaza with a fountain.
“That fountain cost us $3 million,” Bright said. “This is a lifestyle project.
“It’s not just a question of building an office building anymore,” he said. “You are building an environment.”
El Patio Mexican restaurant, Texas Barbecue and a title insurance company have leased some of the storefronts. Also facing the plaza is a 260-unit apartment building with more retail that will open next fall.
Additional apartments, an 80-unit condominium community and more offices are in the works at the Realm.
“We are talking to some specialty hotel operators that are interested,” Bright added.
The new Realm office building includes a tenant lounge, conference facilities and a fitness center on the second floor.
The two-story-high lobby has a 2,000-gallon aquarium that’s the first thing you see walking in the front door.
“From the fifth floor up, you can see Lake Lewisville,” Bright said.
Architects BOKA Powell, 505 Design and Land Design designed the Realm’s first phase. Hill & Wilkinson was the general contractor. Southwest Bank, a division of Simmons Bank, provided construction financing.
Bright Realty is also working on two more nearby apartment projects plus an office building farther west in Castle Hills’ Crown Center Office Park.
Bright expects most of the remaining development in the more than 3,000-acre project will be commercial and multifamily.
“We have about 400 acres left,” he said. “We are in the process of delivering an additional 400 single-family home lots just south of Windhaven Parkway.
“That’s almost the end of our single-family development — there are lots for 600 homes left total.”
Bright’s father, Dallas businessman and banker H.R. “Bum” Bright, started buying land for what is now Castle Hills in 1952.
“He bought the closest to downtown Dallas he could buy for the lowest price,” Bright said.
The first piece of land — a couple hundred acres — cost $83,000.
“He had assembled most of it by 1966,” Bright said.
Back then, the property was out in the country.
Now Castle Hills is 11 miles from DFW International Airport and less than 5 miles from Plano’s $3 billion Legacy West development, which has some of the region’s largest employers.
“We have about 4,300 homes right now, and at build-out, we will have about 5,000,” Bright said. “We’ll probably approach 7,000 to 8,000 multifamily residential units.
“The density you will see in this area in the coming years will be significant.”