Best Residential Project: Grand Heritage

Public-private partnership clears way for 5,000-home community that will transform the town of Lavon
Dallas Business Journal - by Christine Perez, Staff Writer, February 26, 2006

A massive residential project from developers Herbert Hunt and Paul Cheng is set to bring big changes to the sleepy little Collin County town of Lavon. Dubbed Grand Heritage, the $700 million development will add 5,000 new homes to the city, which has a current population of about 1,000.

Settled in the 1850s as a farming community, Lavon is situated 30 miles northeast of downtown Dallas on the eastern shores of Lake Lavon. Until now, Lavon's undeveloped utility infrastructure has sent growth to the nearby cities of Wylie and Rockwall.

Hunt and Cheng, partners in Dallas-based World Land Developers, began snapping up property in Lavon more than three years ago, ultimately assembling about 1,400 acres. Because development would involve bringing utilities to the community, mass was critical, Cheng said. "When we first got to town there was no sewer, no modern-day water, effectively no city hall, no e-mail -- basically nothing," he said. "It was like the Wild, Wild West."

Cheng and Hunt first tried to develop Grand Heritage using a municipal utility district. But the city, unwilling to hand over control of utilities to developers, resisted. In the end, Hunt and Cheng, the city of Lavon and Collin County, assisted by municipal bond finance specialist Ray Hutchison and other attorneys, created a public improvement district that met everyone's needs.

Read more at Grand Heritage|Dallas Business Journal