Republic Property Group wants mini city on outskirts of McKinney

Forming municipal management district could raise capital for massive development

Jake Wagner of Republic Property Group with McKinney, TX (Google Maps, Republic Property Group)
Jake Wagner of Republic Property Group with McKinney, TX (Google Maps, Republic Property Group)

Another mini city is popping up in North Texas.

A Dallas-based developer is bucking bearish home builder trends with its plans in the Dallas suburbs.

Republic Property Group is proposing a 10,000-home development on an 1,800-acre site in northern McKinney, according to the Dallas Morning News. The massive community would sit west of U.S. Highway 75, next to the future U.S. Route 380 bypass. The developer made the case for its Honey Creek development to the McKinney city council in December.

Republic Property eventually wants commercial development, including offices that could attract corporate relocations.

“It really all starts with a proper framework up front, and quality residential, and that’s what we would be focused on when starting the project,” Republic Property Group co-CEO Jake Wagner told the council on Dec. 6.

The area has zoning codes that were written in the ’80s, he said.

“You have a hodgepodge of a land-use framework that would be challenging to use to create a cohesive place,” Wagner told the council.

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The December talks ended with the council agreeing to back a municipal management district for the site, a move that will require approval from the Texas Legislature. A municipal management district can finance infrastructure, services and neighborhood amenities, usually through commercial property tax levies. Unlike a public improvement district however, these “quasi-political” entities are controlled by a district board rather than elected officials.

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The company also plans to pursue a development agreement with McKinney to annex portions of the property.

Republic doesn’t own the land outright but has been in discussions with the landowner for several years about the property, previously known as Cross F Ranch. The tract is owned by entities affiliated with Santiago Jorba, the founder of Creu Capital. Jorba is the son of Jaime Jorba Sr., who invested in Texas real estate and co-founded Bimbo Bakeries, which owns brands including Thomas’, Entenmann’s and Mrs. Baird’s Bread. Creu proposed a $300 million development for the site back in 2017. It pitched the idea to Amazon as a potential second headquarters location that same year, but the e-commerce giant ultimately settled on Arlington, Virginia.

Homebuilding, even in North Texas, rode a downward trend for most of 2022. Going forward, many builders have frozen their land acquisitions to focus on unloading their current inventory before starting a new project. Even big names like D.R. Horton and Taylor Morrison are signaling that they don’t plan to buy land any time soon.

Republic sees it differently.

“Communities of this nature are complex and take a long time to come to fruition,” the company said in a statement. “Republic Property Group believes in the future growth and demand for homes in D-FW and McKinney.”

— Maddy Sperling