How Micron loss, economic pressures are tweaking developers' plans for thousands of homes in Caldwell Co.

The new homes are contingent on the area's continued growth as a commercial and industrial hub.

How Micron loss, economic pressures are tweaking developers' plans for thousands of homes in Caldwell Co.

Caldwell County's growth as an industrial and commercial hub is closely linked to the thousands of new homes planned for this area.

It was a rare failure for Texas. The semiconductor manufacturer chose to settle in upstate New York after months of back and forth with Micron Technology Inc., based in Boise (Idaho) (Nasdaq : MU).

Shannon Livingston is the president of RREAF Communities. This master-planned development arm of Dallas based RREAF Holdings. RREAF Holdings announced that it would acquire a 3,000 acre tract of land in Caldwell County, Texas for a planned community consisting of 4,000-6,000 homes.

He continued, "But, we acquired our property before Micron announced the deal." We planned to offer multiple-lot products for homebuyers of different levels.

Tom Staub CEO of Austin’s Red Oak Development Group said, "In 2020, everyone went north of Austin but nobody went south." Staub owns 1,400 acres of land in Caldwell County. We said that growth would eventually occur in the south. Land prices are great, the locations are good, and if you examine the growth trajectory it is 4% per year.

Staub says that while the Micron loss is a blow to Caldwell County's economy, there are too many infrastructure projects in the region for them to be replaced by nothing.

They're extending the highway to four lanes. Why would they do that? He asked. "They're running out water."

It's overstated, but it is true that the rapid growth of the northern side of the metro area puts pressure on the infrastructure. Austin Business Journal’s list of Central Texas’ fastest-growing communities found that, according to Zonda data on housing starts, four of the five top neighborhoods were located in Williamson County.

Caldwell County, along with the city of Lockhart have made a calculated decision to improve infrastructure. This is in line with the region's growth as an industrial center. Titan Development Ltd., a New Mexico company, was the newest to receive incentives from the government for building new facilities. RREAF plans to activate an industrial site along State Highway 130 - a tollroad between San Antonio, Texas and Austin.

Livingston stated that these developments are essential for a sustained development of the area.

He said that initially, Lockhart's residents would be commuters. "But for neighborhoods the size of those we are building, there must be commercial development nearby in order to maintain a solid employment base."

Both developers have had to change their plans due to recent changes in the economy.

Livingston stated that the development of Caldwell County could take anywhere between 12-25 years. RREAF intends to start delivering lots by 2025.

Staub echoed similar sentiments.

He said that if we wanted to deliver the land by 2024, then takedown rates would be slower - 200-300 lots a year. It's a 10-year undertaking.

He expects that the housing market will rebound by the end of 2024. The demand for lots and homes should pick up in the first three months of 2025.