Johnson Development scoops up 1,500 acres in Fort Bend County

Nonprofit George Foundation offloaded tract to meet IRS requirements

The George Foundation's Roger Adamson and Johnson Development's Michael Smith (Getty, thegeorgefoundation, johnsondevelopment)
The George Foundation's Roger Adamson and Johnson Development's Michael Smith (Getty, thegeorgefoundation, johnsondevelopment)

Johnson Development is set to bring a 1,500-acre residential community to Fort Bend County. 

The Houston-based development firm closed a deal with the George Foundation, a Fort Bend-based nonprofit community organization, to acquire the land, located off FM 2977 at Koeblen Road in West Fort Bend. It is the George Foundation’s first major land sale in its 80-year history. 

The George Foundation and Johnson Development haven’t disclosed the financial terms of the transaction. However, the foundation — led by CEO Roger Adamson — was prompted to sell the land to maximize IRS charitable distribution requirements. IRS regulations have a 5 percent payout requirement, which necessitates private foundations to distribute 5 percent of their total assets annually to ensure they aren’t simply receiving gifts as a charitable foundation, but also giving back. Ruthanne Mefford, chair of its Board of Trustees, confirmed fiduciary responsibility was the driving force behind the sale. 

Escalating real estate values in Fort Bend County caused the nonprofit to evaluate its assets. Home values in Fort Bend County increased nearly 8 percent year-over-year as of last month, with the median listing home price reaching $420,000, or about $174 per square foot. Texas A&M University’s Texas Real Estate Research Center estimates that home prices in Fort Bend County surged over 20 percent between 2021 and 2023. 

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Development plans for the massive tract are still being fleshed out, Johnson Development CEO Micahel Smith said. 

“It’s too early to know many details, but the community will have a mix of residential, planned and natural amenities and areas for mixed-use,” he said. 

The land adds to Johnson Development’s growing portfolio in Fort Bend County, which includes master-planned communities Veranda, Sienna, Imperial and Riverstone. Johnson Development has 15 master-planned communities across Greater Houston, according to its website. The Houston-based firm, in partnership with Heartwood Development Company, is also spearheading an 800-acre project on San Antonio’s Far West Side, with about 2,000 homes in the Briggs Ranch master-planned community. Construction is expected to begin later this year with homes going up for sale at the beginning of next year. 

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