Closed AMC theater to be the site of Meritage’s latest gated community

Dunvale Village in west Houston will offer single-family homes in the upper $300,000s and $400,000s

Meritage Homes CEO Steve Hilton and 2949 Dunvale Road in Houston (Meritage Homes, Google Maps)
Meritage Homes CEO Steve Hilton and 2949 Dunvale Road in Houston (Meritage Homes, Google Maps)

Plagued by an escalating housing shortage, West Houston welcomes a new gated community on hallowed ground of its old neighborhood AMC.

The site of AMC Studio 30 — an early casualty of the pandemic — was snapped up by Meritage Homes in June 2021, according to the Houston Business Journal. When the 113,984-square-foot cinema was still standing in early 2021, the property was appraised at $17.76 million. Though Meritage did not disclose what it paid for the vacant lot, it was appraised at $14.08 million after the cinema’s demolition in early 2022.

The 21.55-acre lot on 2949 Dunvale Road, just south of Westheimer Road, will soon be home to Meritage’s latest gated community. Dunvale Village will be made up of 243 homes ranging from the upper $300,000s to the upper $400,000s.

In March, the average price of a single-family home sold in Houston cracked the $400,000 mark for the first time ever — breaking the record set just a month earlier.

The two-story single-family houses will come from two collections: The Townhome Collection and the relatively larger Patio Collection, which can be personalized via the company’s Studio M Design Center.

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The development’s plans feature all the fixings of a Sunbelt residential community, such as a swimming pool, outdoor grills, an outdoor cabana, and walking and biking trails. In addition to the homes’ granite countertops and covered patios, Meritage is also promising a number of energy-saving features for future residents — something that may come in handy in Texas.

Demand for residential communities like Dunvale is reaching record highs in the Bayou City as relocations surge and the state faces a housing supply crisis. Homebuilders like Meritage, which ranked 6th in the HBJ’s 2021 Largest Houston-Area Homebuilders List, have been scrambling to cash in on these rare market conditions with big residential developments.

Across its 19 markets, including Houston, Meritage reported 12,801 home closings in 2021, for a total of more than $5.09 billion, or $398,000 on average.

“We are experiencing unprecedented market conditions in Houston with a frenetic pace of homebuying despite limited inventory, rising prices and steadily climbing interest rates,” said HAR Chair Jennifer Wauhob with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Gary Greene. “We expect to see buyers start to pull back a bit until conditions stabilize, if indeed they do.”

[HBJ] — Maddy Sperling