Todd Interests, a prominent commercial property firm based in Dallas, is developing an upscale community and resort on the site of the well-known Fairfield Lake State Park.
Located about 88 miles south of Dallas, the 5,000-acre property was previously owned by Vistra Corp., an energy company based in Irving. The state had been leasing the 1,800-acre park since 1976, per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Over two years ago, Vistra Corp. put the land up for sale with a marketing price of more than $110 million, per The Dallas Morning News. The state did not buy it, and Todd Interests stepped in. The final terms of the deal remain undisclosed.
Since its start in 1990, Todd Interests has been involved in the acquisition and development of $1.5 billion worth of real estate property.
Its plans for the Fairfield Lake lot include building the Freestone Club and Resort, which will boast the largest body of water to be privately owned in the country, per its website.
The Freestone Club and Resort will provide an opulent lifestyle experience and 34 miles of shoreline.
Luxurious multimillion-dollar homes, a top-tier championship golf course, and a comprehensive selection of lavish amenities and activities are in the works, per the DMN.
The resort will include The Point, an amenity center where guests can enjoy a range of facilities, including restaurants, a fitness center, a spa, and a lakeside bar, and engage in a wide variety of activities, such as hiking, pickleball, and boating.
A golf course spanning 150 acres will be constructed on an island on the lake’s western side. It will be designed by architect Beau Welling, who was also responsible for the new West course at the PGA of America in Frisco.
The Freestone Club is designed to be an exclusive community, with most of the homes in Freestone Estates estimated to cost between $5 million and $7 million.
Shawn Todd, the developer, told the DMN, “We are mindful of the land and history. You could have done thousands of lots on the property. We are doing 400.”
The first phase will include building just 200 homes, with members having the option to customize them.
The development is expected to attract buyers from across the region, lured in by its convenient proximity to large cities.
“There is an air strip under construction on a site adjacent to the property,” Todd told the DMN. “We think it will be majority, if not all, secondary homes. We want a place where people can step out of the city.”
Yet some Texas lawmakers have attempted to block the purchase of the land by the developer, as The Dallas Express previously reported.
State Rep. Angelia Orr (R-Hill County) filed a bill to preserve the park by granting the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department “the power of eminent domain to acquire … any property necessary,” per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Another version of the bill was submitted at the end of March that removed the “eminent domain” reference.
Instead, the contention surrounds a pending application to modify the water-use permit for Fairfield Lake.
While Vistra Corp. had a permit allowing water use for thermal power-generating purposes, it has asked the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to change this to include consumptive, residential, and recreational uses in light of the sale, per the DMN.
Lawmakers have also set their sights on preserving another 500-acre park located on land owned by Vistra: Lake Colorado City State Park, located between Midland and Abilene.
A spokesman for Vistra Corp., Brad Watson, told state officials during a hearing of the House Committee on Culture, Recreation, and Tourism on March 9 that Vistra would expect fair market value for that land, per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
As for Fairfield Lake State Park, the bill aiming to block the sale is still pending.
“We were the winning bidder in an internationally marketed property,” Todd told the DMN. “We totally have empathy for and share the frustration of people that have enjoyed that park under lease for 50 years.”