Travis Club gearing up to start construction on huge waterfront site
Construction is finally nearing for a 1,058-acre master-planned community west of Austin with an 18-hole golf course. Plans call for the neighborhood, the Travis Club, to rise on an undeveloped bend of Lake Travis between Thurman Bend Estates and the Briarcliff community. The resort-style community is being developed by Menlo Park, California-based real estate developer Haas & Haynie Corp. and Austin-based real estate investment firm Castle Hill Partners Inc.
The final plat of the first phase was approved July 18 by Travis County commissioners, which clears the way for the first 53 single-family homes and 68 "villa" units to be built on nearly 340 acres. That will be major milestone for a sometimes contentious project that's been in the works for more than a decade.
"Haas & Haynie and Castle Hill have a long, shared history of developing high quality communities that enhance and complement the local environment and surroundings," Leisha Ehlert, senior vice president of Castle Hill Partners and CEO of Travis Club, said in a July 25 email. "With the Travis Club Phase 1 Final Plat now approved by the county, we are looking forward to bringing this exciting and low impact development to life in continued and close collaboration with leading local environmental, community and other stakeholder groups."
When completed, Travis Club could have a total of 497 homes — 274 single-family lots and 223 villa units. Pricing details are expected this fall, when the initial properties hit the market.
Ehlert said infrastructure construction for the first phase is expected to begin in the fourth quarter, with a completion date set for mid-year 2025, and work on the golf course is set to begin during the first quarter of 2024 with an opening planned for fall 2025.
The project remains subject to more permitting. But the Travis County vote means site preparation work can begin soon, said land use attorney David Armbrust of Armbrust & Brown PLLC, who's representing the developers.
"This is a very significant step," Armbrust said July 24.
The golf course will be designed by the recognized course architect Beau Welling and will include an additional practice facility. Travis Club will also include an on-site marina as well as amenity and support structures, centered around the property's more than 10,000 feet of shoreline.
The site is owned by HH-CH-B Blue Lake, LLC, which owns eight tracts totaling more than 1,500 acres that are currently valued at about $51 million, according to Travis Central Appraisal District. However, market values are often higher than appraised values.
Opponents of the development have voiced concerns about its potential impact on the environment, an increase in traffic, safety concerns because of the site's single entrance and its nature as a luxury community.
During the July 18 Travis County meeting, Christian Del Castillo, a real estate attorney with Husch Blackwell LLP representing neighbors Kent and Kamilla Radford, stressed that there will only be one active access point to the property on Thurman Bend Road, despite there potential for four.
"There will be two potential bottlenecks resulting from the single entrance causing some dangerous left-hand turns," Del Caiso said. "There is not a lot of room for error. The easy straightforward solution is to add another entrance that is not on Thurman Bend Road. We ask for a comprehensive solution to address traffic in the area."