Riding the Energy Boom

First, I’d like to welcome the 51 new families that made Cordillera Ranch their new home in 2011 and the 49 new members that joined the club last year! As usual the year flew by too fast, and it’s hard to believe we are entering our 16th year as a community. After the slowdown from 2008-2010, it was nice to bounce back to such a positive year of real estate and membership sales and new home construction. Just driving around the 40 miles of roads in the neighborhood you can see for yourself the significant increase in construction activity from a year and two years ago. As of the time this went to print, there were 30 homes under construction (none of which are specs) in Cordillera Ranch and another 20 in design review and planning. That’s a pretty staggering figure and a great testament to the activity in the neighborhood. Based on the new lot sales activity in 2011, that number is only expected to climb in 2012. Through November 2011 overall lot sales volume was up 18% to $9.6MM (resales and developer lots) and average lot sales price was $266k, also an 18% increase from in 2010.

What’s driving the activity? There is no doubt that all of San Antonio is benefitting from the enormous economic impact of the Eagle Ford Shale exploration and development- and it’s only just begun. We’ve seen a noticeable uptick in traffic in the last 18 months from families relocating to the area in conjunction with the Eagle Ford.  Many of our sales in the last two years have been either directly or indirectly related to people associated with the energy industries.  Whether it’s an engineer at a drilling firm, an executive at a refinery or pipeline company, or some other business professional who’s company does business with these oil and gas companies, we’re definitely feeling the positive impact of the Eagle Ford. There has also been some sales activity from people who owned ranches in the Eagle Ford Shale and with lease prices as high as $20k+/acre some of them are cashing out and moving to the Hill Country. A few of the energy companies whose employees or owners have bought property in Cordillera Ranch are EOG, Howard Energy Partners, Pioneer, SRX Group and Pioneer Natural Resources. After nearly 40 years in the real estate business in Texas, Cordillera Ranch Development President, David Hill, is emphatic in saying, “In Texas, whether you’re a lawyer, a carpenter, a jeweler, a real estate developer or just about any other trade, we’re really all in the energy business, for better or worse.” Considering the national economic recession, the timing of this oil and gas find could not have been better for San Antonio.

Since Petrohawk drilled the first successful well in the Eagle Ford in 2008, the other major oil and gas exploration and servicing firms have surged to the region, including Anadarko, Apache, Atlas, EOG, Pioneer, Marathon Oil, Schlumberger, Halliburton, and XTO just to name a few. These unprecedented new investments in the Eagle Ford and relocations to the San Antonio area are just the beginning according to many of the economists.  A UTSA study predicts the Eagle Ford will create 68,000 new jobs by 2020, of which an estimate 6,000 may be in San Antonio.  This is about double the impact of the Toyota manufacturing plant in San Antonio. By all estimates, this new Spindletop covering 24 counties has real staying power. EOG CEO, Mark Papa, recently said, “I continue to believe EOG’s Eagle Ford position is the highest rate of return, large-scale hydrocarbon play in all of North America, onshore or offshore. I also continue to believe this is the largest oil company — oil discovery net to any one company in the last 40 years in the U.S.” That’s a pretty staggering statement from an oil and gas veteran and head of a Fortune 500 company. With tens of billions of dollars of planned investment in this burgeoning energy play in the next few years, it sure appears that most of the industry heavyweights agree with him.

In spite of the fact that Eagle Ford itself is located south of San Antonio, a significant amount of the energy companies have offices on the north and northwest sides of town Tesoro, EOG and Valero. NuStar is expected to complete its new headquarters for nearly 1,000 employees in 2012 just north of the Rim on I-10 (15-20 minutes from Cordillera Ranch). With all of this continuing job growth on the north side of San Antonio, we are planning two new sections of lots to be opened in 2012 (on top of the two sections that were delivered with successful sales in 2011).

One of the new planned sections for 2012 includes the addition of Phase 2 of the Di Lusso Villas, which will offer the first golf-frontage villa lots in Cordillera Ranch. In addition, Phase 2 will offer at least one new villa floor plan customized to meet the unique terrain and views fronting hole #3. Additionally, in 2012 we plan to break ground on the first sections of lots across FM 3351. The beauty of the 2,300 acres of land across FM 3351 perfectly complements the areas developed to date and there are also some new features that will be incorporated. These new areas will include some stunning 1 to 2+ acre lots along a bluff overlooking Panther Creek and a planned additional property owners park and new trail system. Balancing out the 1 to 2 acre product will be another section of lots ranging from 2/3rd to ¾-acre estate lots with a land plan that is modeled after the “Cluster Land Planning” approach which minimizes the area of land the homeowner needs to maintain while preserving native landscapes in common areas around the enclave of lots. The intent is to preserve the beautiful hill country vegetation in community areas so the homeowner does not have to. Stay tuned in the next issue of Cordillera Ranch Living for more details on these exciting new developments for 2012!

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