For property owner and developer Larry Smith, he believes Glen Rose is poised to benefit from a rush of growth in the coming years and hopes to set the standard for future mixed-use developments.
His current project, Stoneview, located on approximately 280 acres at the intersection of US Hwy. 67 and Texas Hwy. 144, is under way and will provide, what he describes as quality homes and commercial development while retaining the small-town charm of the area.
The property, Smith said, occupies a significant position relative to future growth and activity. “I accept ownership as a trust ‘to do the right thing.’”
“The development will play a significant role in the area,” said Smith, who has owned the property since 1981. “Growth is inevitable. Our goal is to bring homes, recreation and other businesses to town while preserving the character and quality of life in Glen Rose.”
Smith and his partner in the development, Jimmy Gosdin, have given opportunities at public meetings held last month for citizens to provide input as to what they would like to see at Stoneview. The developers took that feedback to designers who have created a well-planned community for both residents and shoppers alike.
“It will probably wind up being three or four phases - it’s early to say just yet,” said Smith, who estimates a 10-year build-out at Stoneview.
The mixed-use development fits the description. Smith says space for commercial, residential and some multi-family housing are included in the plans, as well as a greenbelt to retain the natural feel of the land. A gated community, containing 50 to 60 residential lots, will provide for single family custom-built homes overlooking Squaw Valley Golf Club.
At build-out, Stoneview will accommodate up to 600 households, said Smith. “There will be some apartments, but it will occupy a very small portion of the property.” He says commercial development will primarily be located along the highway frontages and on Longhorn Drive that crosses the property from Texas Drive towards Texas 144.
The property, which has been platted and approved by the county, has also been annexed by the city of Glen Rose, Smith says. “We’re in the process of filing the preliminary plat now with the city.”
The developer, who has had a passion for ranching and raising famed Texas Longhorn cattle, has also made an agreement with the Texas Longhorn Heritage Foundation to provide a location for a museum and visitors’ center at Stoneview.
“My family and I used to own one of the largest herds of Longhorns in the country,” said Smith. “I donated the property for the International Longhorn Association’s headquarters, which was completed last fall. The Texas Longhorn Heritage Foundation, they’re meeting around the first of April, and I’ve also committed to a contribution of three acres to them.”
Smith says a 10,000-square-foot facility is planned for a tract along Hwy. 67 to serve as a museum. “There’s so much interest in the Longhorns, similar to the dinosaurs here in Glen Rose, so we hope to bring even more visitors to the community.”
In planning Stoneview, Smith says he looks to cater to both families and retirees, while setting the tone for future development in Glen Rose. “From a personal standpoint, it sits at the entrance to the community on a high hill that you can see from several miles out. We recognize the responsibility that whatever we do on that hill, it has to be quality. It’s kinda the first statement that one will see as they come to Glen Rose.”
This week, Stoneview’s developers will be meeting to discuss a proposed water park - another feature that will be accessible to the public, said Smith. “There’s a canyon there that’s conducive to that type of development. We also have a trail and mini-golf course planned, as we lean towards entertainment and tourism in the front area.”
Smith says preliminary site work is under way and that commercial lots are the only properties within Stoneview that are on the market now. “We’re going to start (construction) on two entries, one on Hwy. 144 and 67, this week. The residential portion, as far as actually being ready, we’re three or four months out.”
Quality is the name of the game at Stoneview, says Smith. “I’ve looked at resort development for years. Back in the early 1900s, there was a group of investors that planned a resort and conference center for that hill. We do have one inquiry regarding that site.”
The developers’ plans include a 200- to 250-room resort/conference center with convention facilities, meeting rooms, pool and spa, as well as commercial space for shopping and office areas for support businesses.
While all of the development’s restrictions have not yet been set, Smith says his policy is to know what someone plans to build before he enters into contract. “We’ve already turned down several that we didn’t feel fit the development. We have several restaurants sites and we’re talking with two or three right now - all the way from franchisers to individuals that want to build something.”
As Stoneview paves the way for growth in Glen Rose, the developer says he wants to set the tone for development in Glen Rose in the coming years.
“The city needs additional residents and tax revenue. From my perspective, it’s the responsibility of the location and knowing that it will set the tone for the rest of the community,” said Smith. “It’s going to grow in spite of us. Our responsibility is to see that it’s properly done because this area will become the Hill Country of North Texas.”