By Nancy Sarnoff
A Texas homebuilder that develops communities outside Houston and some of the state’s other large cities recently purchased land in Brenham, where it says the real estate market hasn’t been affected by recent troubles at Blue Bell Creameries or the oil price collapse hurting other cities across the state.
Stylecraft Builders, a private company based in College Station, plans to put some 300 homes on an 86.7-acre tract on the west side of Brenham. The project will be the company’s fourth in the area. The site is just west of Texas 36 and north of U.S. 290.
Brenham’s economy is small and largely depends on Blue Bell, the century-old company that was slammed last year by a listeria outbreak that forced an ice cream recall and employee cutbacks.
Still, Stylecraft’s Matt Childers said only about one in 100 residents in its Ralston Creek community in Brenham is a Blue Bell employee.
Demand has remained strong, even since the oil price collapse, especially for moderately priced homes.
“That’s where the demand is, for sure,” said Childers, the company’s development and acquisition manager.
Stylecraft’s average sales price is $209,000.
The company is preparing to submit plans to the city for its project. Most of the homes will be from the $170,000s to the $240,000s.
Demand in Brenham has come from growing families, young people who grew up in Brenham and plan to stay, and those who work in the northern stretches of Houston but live in Brenham.
Much of the city’s existing housing stock is older, and there are few options for new homes at affordable prices, Childers said.
Stylecraft bought the Brenham acreage from Houston-based Wolff Cos., a developer with a higher-end residential community of family farms in Washington County called Gates Ranch.
“Many Houstonians are looking for a more small-town environment for their families, like Brenham, or a second home in the country,” David Hightower, executive vice president of Wolff Cos., said in a statement.
Stylecraft builds in small to midsize markets throughout south-central Texas, including Killeen, College Station, Montgomery, Temple and Waco.
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