A concept plan lays out a sweeping vision for the role that the proposed La Cima development could potentially play in housing, economic development, transportation and habitat conservation. Download the full-size concept map here.
by BRAD ROLLINS
A group of investors that won the city council’s blessings last year to develop the Lazy Oaks Ranch subdivision on 1,396 acres west of San Marcos are back at the bargaining table with a bigger — and considerably bolder — plan.
The investment group has bought 635 acres of the former Freeman Ranch, increasing its contiguous land holdings by 45 percent and adding about a half-mile of highway frontage at the showcase intersection of Wonder World Drive and Old Ranch Road 12. Renamed La Cima — a Spanish phrase for “the top” which can mean a topographical highpoint or the figurative height of perfection — the proposed development now totals 2,031 acres.
“This is basically a game-changer. It changes the entire project to be higher-end and include that commercial element. It is the kind of development that San Marcos needs to grow as a city — and it’s a beautiful, beautiful piece of property to build it on,” said Bill Ward, a veteran developer who has worked for Horsham, Penn.-based Toll Brothers Inc. and Calgary, Alberta-based Brookfield Residential.
Last week, Austin-based La Cima Development Group LP — the same players previously organized as Lazy Oaks Ranch LP — petitioned the city of San Marcos for amendments to its 2013 development agreement that would allow 650 additional single-family units, for a total of 2,400; dedicate an additional 330.4 acres of open space or habitat preservation, for a total of 800.3 acres; and allow for 200 acres of future general commercial zoning, the possible site for a top-tier corporate campus.
La Cima Developer’s proposed changes pares down the area designated for one-unit-per-acre homes from 273 acres to 73.9 acres and the area designated for two-units-per-acre homes from 283 to 249.2. The overall density of the development would decrease slightly under the proposed amendments, however, from an average of 1.25 units per acre to an average of 1.18 units per acre.