After buying half of his in-laws’ family farm 7 years ago, Howard realized that real estate values were rapidly increasing. He leapt at the opportunity to buy 5 acres of property next door to the farm, and after selling it 18 months later made $50,000 profit, which he quickly used to invest in additional property in the Mabank area.
A close friend became the city manager of Mabank and shared the city’s plans for economic development, growth and incentivizing additional investment in the community. Howard’s idea for a multiuse travel center property emerged, and he set out to make his vision a reality with the help of his development adviser at DSGNworks.
Mabank is primely positioned about 45 miles southeast of Dallas near a major thoroughfare that is an artery into the DFW Metroplex and East Texas. The area encompasses Cedar Creek Lake and is frequented by vacationers and weekend locals, with many people within a 100-mile radius owning vacation and second homes on the lake. With Dallas growing in nearly every direction, more and more people are relocating to the Kaufman County area for affordable property, the vibrant community, and the relatively quick and traffic-free commute into Dallas.
With all of these elements and opportunities coalescing, Howard realized there was a need for this type of project in the area of Mabank.
“This development will become an important piece of the puzzle in helping the community of Mabank to grow in the way they want to grow, while simultaneously making it a profitable venture for me and my investors,” says Howard. “It fits into what the city wants and needs in the area, and they’re willing to incentivize us to develop this project.”
The travel center is unlike anything in the area and will be built on a 2.5-3-acre site to accommodate large trucks and cars alike. A large central building will house retail and restaurants, and somewhere between eight to 10 retail/foodservice pad sites will be prepared on the property. The development will be a thriving destination not only for travelers passing through the area but for Mabank’s residents and homeowners as well.
Enlisting a committed development adviser for the project was key, and Howard partnered with DSGNworks to help see his vision become a reality and ensure his passion project maximizes the return on his investment. That commitment extends far beyond design and master planning. So far, DSGNworks has introduced Howard to a banking partner as well as a broker community associated with convenience stores, retail and foodservice. DSGNworks provided preliminary zoning research, created a master plan of the site to prove its initial feasibility for development and introduced Howard to individual development partners who specialize in two to three buildings and use types similar to this development.
“I’ve known Kevin [Wallace] for 15 years; I needed an architect and development adviser for this project, and I knew he was someone I could work with,” says Howard. “He’s very accessible; he understands, he’s a good listener and he makes you a priority. Kevin is not only easy to work with, he delves deep into the details, he’s honest and will tell you what’s not feasible and give creative solutions for making things work. I appreciate and trust him. And as you can see, he has an extensive network in the real estate development community here in North Texas.”
What Howard has found in DSGNworks is the value of partnering with an adviser he can trust, a partner who speaks honestly about his ideas and will make sure they’re feasible and a smart return on the investment. DSGNworks takes a 360 approach as a development adviser, bringing together multiple functions to ensure the entire real estate journey is integrated and maximizes the investment.