Johnson Development continues to build success in Fort Bend
By Michael Sudhalter
The Johnson Development Corporation has played a key role in Fort Bend County’s growth over the past two decades.
“The Fort Bend Economy has been very strong, it has a great school system, the community attracts families and has great diversity,” said Doug Goff, Johnson Development Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.
Goff joined Johnson Development in 1995 and has seen it grow from 10 employees to 80 over the past two decades.
He previously worked for Markbrough Development, which developed New Territory.
Johnson Development’s offices are based in the Galleria Area, but nearly half of their Greater Houston developments are located in Fort Bend.
The six current (or planned) developments are Imperial in Sugar Land, Riverstone (near Sugar Land/Missouri City), Sienna Plantation near Missouri City, Harvest Green in the Richmond/Grand Parkway area, along with Cross Creek Ranch and Jordan Ranch in northwestern Fort Bend County.
Riverstone is expected to be annexed by Sugar Land, and Sienna Plantation will eventually be annexed by Missouri City.
“We have a strategic agreement with the cities,” said Michael Smith, Johnson Development’s Senior Vice President and Director of Land Development. “When it’s 95 percent complete, the cities have the option, but not the obligation to annex it.”
Johnson Development recently purchased 600 acres near Richmond and expects to be building homes there by the end of 2016.
Johnson Development works with Municipal Utility Districts and the Sheriff’s Office to ensure that water, sewer, trash and security are provided.
Sienna Plantation is the oldest of the six developments, having started when the land was purchased in 1995, but it’s close to doubling within the next few years. There are currently 7,000 homes, but 6,500 more homes will be added in the southern part of Sienna Plantation.
That means Sienna Plantation will have approximately 40,000 residents before it is completed.
Sienna Plantation residents will likely have a Town Center-like property at the corner of Sienna Parkway and the Fort Bend Tollway.
Right now, Johnson Development is conducting economic market studies and is a few years away from building it.
All of the businesses in Sienna are in Missouri City’s city limits, while residential is unincorporated.
In addition to single-family homes, there are also multi-family homes, but Smith said that only enhances the property values of the area.
“They’re all high-end apartments, and they really add value— attracting newcomers and empty-nesters,” Smith said. “The average age in the apartments is 39, and 50 percent of the residents have a household income of $100,000 or more. And 75 percent have an income of 75,000 or more. The apartments have great architecture, and we have deed restrictions on apartments.”
Johnson Development has had a number of developments with sales in the top 20 nationally. Riverstone was No. 1 in Texas and fourth, nationally, selling a total of 1,515 homes over the past two years.
Sales may be down nine percent from 2014, which Goff said was a record year. But there are several factors — including the fact that many developments are now close to full and many others are just beginning.
Smith said Johnson Development’s goal is to build excellent communities, and then quietly leave as residents begin enjoying their homes and the surrounding amenities.
“Our goal is to own nothing at the end of the development process,” Smith said. “knowing that we created something special for those residents to enjoy. We phase out upon completion. The community doesn’t really notice the transition.”