Amenity center, school underway in NE Houston master-planned community

More components of The Groves, a 993-acre master-planned community in Humble, are underway.

Dallas-based Ashlar Development LLC announced this month that it’s currently developing the amenity center at The Groves. Called “The Hearth,” this new feature will include a resort-style swimming pool, an event pavilion and outdoor fireplace, a lighted great lawn, and play and lounge areas. There also will be a place to look out over Madera Creek.

The Hearth is expected to open this spring just across the street from two new schools.

Humble Independent School District opened its Groves Elementary School within the community this fall. It has a capacity of 950 students and includes features to facilitate project-based, technology-based and group learning.

The middle school next door is expected to open in August 2018. Both schools broke ground in August 2016. At the time, the Houston Chronicle reported that the elementary school was slated to be about 111,000 square feet, and the middle school will be 200,000 square feet and three stories. Joiner Architects designed the new middle school, which will have a 1,050-student capacity, per the Chronicle.

Additionally, home sales year to date are up more than 20 percent compared to the same time period in 2016, even after Hurricane Harvey, Mike Miller, Ashlar Development’s Houston general manager, said in a press release.

The Groves’ natural preserved land and the way Madera Creek was engineered helped absorb and channel Harvey’s stormwaters to prevent flooding in the community, Miller said in the release.

Among the 10 homebuilders working within The Groves, Chesmar Homes and Lennar Homes currently are building two new sections of houses in the community, while Trendmaker Homes and Perry Homes also will soon release new home options. Trendmaker will build a patio home with a 50-foot lot, and Perry will build a new 70-foot-lot model home.

Development of The Groves began in late 2013, and homebuilding began the following summer. Once complete, the community will feature 2,200 homes starting from the mid-$200,000s. The community opened to residents in April 2015.

Earlier this year, North Carolina-based Crescent Communities sold The Groves and two other Texas properties to funds managed by Minneapolis-based Castlelake LP for an undisclosed amount. At the time, the companies said Ashlar would continue developing and operating the communities.

Ashlar named Miller as its new Houston general manager in September because Ashlar Vice President Jim Zimmermann planned to retire. Miller previously worked as a senior manager for various Houston-area homebuilders, including CalAtlantic, Taylor Morrison and K Hovnanian.