Five family ranchers, the foundational namesake of “Cinco Ranch,” knew the value of community long before Cinco Ranch was a dot on a map. They formed a loose partnership based on a friendship where their families hunted, celebrated holidays together, and used the ranch as a retreat.
A Tale of Firsts
The Cinco Ranch families saw the future growth of the Houston-area, and in 1984, sold 5,416 acres in what historically became the largest raw land transaction in Houston. By 1991, the first families began to settle into Cinco Ranch, growing into over 800 families by 1993. “The naming of Cinco Ranch, although seemingly simple, was a tribute to the families, Texas, and their ranching heritage,” explains Ted Nelson, President and Chief Operating Officer for Newland. “Previously to Cinco Ranch, there were no other communities that used ‘Ranch’ in their names. Nowadays, that is probably more oftentimes the go-to word in community naming.”
Something else was happening in the 1990s that shifted suburban thinking into proximity living. Early community planners had the foresight to know that commuting times would increase, making family time more difficult to balance. Rather than follow a traditional suburban model, thoughtful planning and careful envisioning of amenities and conveniences were incorporated into the land plan with a focus on community building.
“It all starts with segmentation and knowing what the homebuyer wants,” says Nelson. “We knew through our research that the goal for our home shoppers was to stay within the community for shopping, recreation, and dining. For commuters, the last thing you want to do is jump in the car and drive a distance for dinner. So we developed what we considered to be an additional amenity which meant that the places to shop, play, and dine were all in close proximity to where residents live.”
It's All About Lifestyle
The idea of building for the long-term appealed to multiple generations who became very accustomed to the traditional amenities of pools, hiking trails, and parks, as well as the convenience of grocery stores, accountants, and healthcare services nearby. First generation Cinco Ranch residents raised their children and sought to downsize to a smaller home to stay in the neighborhood. Their children also bought in the community, making it convenient for overnight stays at grandma and grandpa’s and family support in raising the next generation destined to call Cinco Ranch home.
“We see generations living and loving Cinco Ranch,” muses Nelson. “It is pretty spectacular to see a community grow so organically, shaping how they want to live for generations and that our envisioning will literally touch thousands of lives.”
What seems like evolved living is really thoughtful planning for how people want to live. The 11 pools and 17 tennis courts may be a mainstay for other neighborhoods, but for Cinco Ranch, it is central meeting places that wrap activity with socializing and family fun.
“We build out the space, but the residents really dictate the lifestyle they want to live,” explains Regional Vice President, Marketing, Jennifer Taylor. “Every single time I’m in the community, I see residents out and about -- baby joggers being pushed by mom or dad, kids on bikes riding to the nearest park or pool or to school, and grandparents walking with grandchildren or pushing grandkids on a swing in the park. The community is buzzing over lunch or dinner in La Centerra, or in the neighborhood parks where baseball and soccer practices come to life after school. It really is an amazing community to spend time in and just watch how people live their best lives.”
Why Generations of Families Choose Cinco Ranch
Part of the success of Cinco Ranch hinges on the quality and consistency of what is delivered on the ground. The reputation of Cinco Ranch was anchored in consistently delivering on the promise of what the community would be.
Residents enjoy a community full of amenities that make Cinco Ranch a coveted place to raise a family. And children get to experience life as big as Texas with access to paddle boats and sailboats at the Beach Club, arts and craft classes, and a full-service on-site YMCA with a summer day camp.
“We specialize in family activities and have a lifestyle director that coordinates large scale events, like Easter Egg hunts and 4th of July Parades, to smaller activities like exercise classes, Food Truck Fridays, and Dive-in movies,” says Taylor. “I particularly enjoy the nature trail that runs along Buffalo Bayou, a tributary that flows along West Houston, through Downtown and into the Gulf of Mexico. It’s heavily wooded and great care was taken in developing trails with wooden platforms and decks that extend out into the bayou so residents can watch birds, fish, and other wildlife. It’s a beautiful and an unexpected amenity that our residents enjoy.”
LaCenterra is the 34-acre mixed-used development where neighbors congregate and enjoy dinners, bars, and shopping. Central Green is literally at the center and hosts everything from live music and outdoor movies, to Tai Chi classes and holiday celebrations. As LaCenterra evolved, it became integrated into the Cinco Ranch lifestyle, but also a destination for all of West Houston enjoy.
“The promise of commercial and retail space was always part of the plan—even during the real estate downturn—we delivered what we promised,” remarks Heather Gustafson, Director of Marketing – Newland Central. “We carved out those conveniences that people wanted nearby—the big box retailers, fast food, and even a library. LaCenterra, which opened in 2007, attracted national retailers and truly became the town center.”
“I think Cinco Ranch works because of the ownership the residents have in making it better,” says Gustafson. “The residents plan sports and social activities which build those strong community bonds and have the time to actively engage with what their children are doing. And isn’t that a better way to raise kids and live?”