DMB gets OK for 7,000-acre bud of a town

Municipal Utility District greenlighted for 14,000-home community in Central Texas

DMB Development CEO Brent Herrington and the Solana Ranch

DMB Development CEO Brent Herrington and the Solana Ranch (Google Maps, LinkedIn)

DMB Development is one step closer to bringing an epic master-planned community to a remote area that straddles Williamson and Bell counties. 

The Arizona-based developer, which aims to build up to 14,000 homes on a 7,000-tract near Jarrell, roughly 40 miles north of downtown Austin, secured approval for a municipal utility district during this year’s Texas Legislature, the Austin Business Journal reported

The Texas House of Representatives and Senate passed a proposal last month to create Solana Municipal Utility District No. 1. If Gov. Greg Abbott signs off on the taxing district, it could be used to finance infrastructure like sewer, stormwater and utilities.

Williamson County commissioners unanimously approved the project in April. There were rumors of a Walt Disney theme park tied to the development, and although Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell shot down those rumors, Disney and DMB have collaborated on projects in the past.

The development site is part of Solana Ranch, a 9,000-acre cattle and wildlife ranch that stretches 13 miles and has been owned by the Michaux family for about 50 years. DMB, whose CEO is Brent Herrington, is under contract to buy just over 7,000 acres, and terms of the deal are being finalized.

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Herrington estimates that the Solana Ranch project could amount to a roughly $2 billion investment. The community is expected to have a wide range of housing types, sizes and price points. The development is also slated for shopping, dining, offices, entertainment, recreational facilities, schools, churches and a vast network of trails. 

The firm aims to complete construction by late 2026, Herrington told the outlet. Eventually, the site could house between 40,000 and 50,000 people, which would mark a huge population spike in the area. In 2021, Jarrell had a population of just over 2,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Salado, a town that also overlaps with Solana Ranch, had a slightly higher population in 2021.

—Quinn Donoghue

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