By Marissa Luck
A tiny Texas town north of Houston known for its large antique shows and attracting well-heeled vacationers is getting a new 62-acre luxury development.
The development is slated for Round Top, about 95 miles northwest of downtown Houston on the way to Austin off State Highway 237. The town has population of 90 people that swells to a few hundred thousand people during the Round Top Antique Festivals that take place in the fall, winter and spring.
The antique shows and small-town charm have made Round Top a destination for wealthy residents from Houston and Austin to purchase second homes, realtors say. In recent years, Houston-based hospitality group Palacios Murphy, which owns Armando’s Mexican restaurant in River Oaks, even opened up a few restaurants and a boutique hotel in the town because the owners believed it would have a built-in audience from River Oaks area residents staying there. The Houston-based real estate firm Layne Property Partners, launched by former Howard Hughes chief Paul Layne, also recently acquired the venue for the Original Round Top Antiques Fair and the Blue Hills antique venue nearby.
And now a few more of those antique enthusiasts and wealthy Austin and Houston vacationers will be able to call a slice of Round Top home. Katy-based real estate developer BSR Properties and its division Faircroft Communities are launching a luxury community of so-called “ranchettes” or mini ranches. The community is planned on an area with rolling terrain and mature trees at 1337 State Highway 237 in Fayette County.
Called Estates at Astoria, the development expected to encompass 22 ‘estate-sized’ parcels ranging from two to five acres. Owners would purchase the land from the developer, then they could hire their own architects and general contractors to construct a custom home.
The parcels will start at about $175,000 per an acre and up. Despite its small population, a typical home in Round Top sells now for about $870,000, up by about 2.5 percent in the past year, according to data from the real estate brokerage Redfin.
“Round Top has been known for years for its high-end, second- home market. There is always a very limited supply of available homes in the area. We do not have the density of population so finding that perfect piece of land or home can be quite the challenge,” said Peg Richardson, realtor with Compass Real Estate Your Home Team who is marketing Estates at Astoria with Betty Melton.