FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – The sod is still settling. The paint still smells fresh inside. But model homes in one of the biggest new developments in the country opened to a line of eager buyers Thursday in Fort Worth.
Families carrying kids, and realtors carrying information folders, wound their way through a series of new homes around a park-like square. In a housing market where homes sell in a day or two, builders said people were putting down deposits and picking out lots.
“It’s still the country feel, and it’s still close to town,” said Chad Baumgartner, who was looking at homes with his wife.
Not visible from the highway, Thursday was the first in-person look for most at what eventually will be big enough to be its own city.
Near the intersection of I-30 and I-20 west of downtown Fort Worth, Walsh will eventually hold 15,000 homes and 50,000 people. Some homes will start under $300,000. A space for custom homes is planned where the prices will reach into the millions. Developers have promoted the inclusion of 2GB internet speed in every home, as the fastest in the state.
The opening comes as Fort Worth is struggling to keep up with new development. The city’s planning website offers an advisory that the permitting process is taking double the usual wait time. Thursday, the current review time for residential permits was 10 days. Commercial permits are taking 17 days.
Assistant city manager Fernando Costa said he did not expect the delays to cause any notable slow down for the expansion of Walsh. Staff facilitators have been assigned to make sure the project stays on track. Delays, he said, are just part of dealing with blossoming growth.
He expected new hiring to address the slowdown, with the next city budget in the fall.
Buyers weren’t concerned about it Thursday. Baumgartner noted three-lane roads already built, and a gas station under construction, as signs the area is ready.
And realtor’s like Allison Price, saw the potential for the new homes to entice current owners to sell, and improve home inventory further.
“Hopefully it’ll open up some new listings,” she said. “When people start moving here it’ll just sort of, bounce off each other.”