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City sees new home boom

Mansfield could add another 16,000 people to its population in the next decade based on the 5,000 single-family lots that have already been approved by the City Council, said Scott Welmaker, director of the Mansfield Economic Development Corp.

The housing boom has returned to Mansfield after several years of slumber with 382 new home permits issued in the 2016 fiscal year, the most since 2007.

And with South Pointe kicking into high gear and other master-planned developments such as the M3 Ranch and Somerset on the verge of building, that number could go higher.

And that’s not counting hundreds of potential apartments that could be built along Texas 360 and elsewhere.

If that prediction holds true and Mansfield’s population booms to about 84,000 or more by 2026, that raises the city’s profile for retailers and restaurants, Welmaker said.

The average residential permit is $380,000, which doesn’t count the price of the lot itself. The average household income in Mansfield is $111,000.

“That’s a lot for the south part of the Metroplex,” Welmaker said. “That’s attracting the attention of retailers who want their share of the disposable part of that income. We’re getting a lot of interest from retailers and restaurants in particular. They’re jockeying to be in the right development at the right time.”

But the city and Mansfield school district will need to prepare infrastructure to handle the growth. That’s especially true on the city’s southern borders where these developments are planned.

Mansfield already plans to hire about a dozen more police officers and firefighters in the next five years to handle the growth. The city is also considering a fifth fire station to handle the increased growth, but there’s no timeline on when or where it will be built, said Belinda Willis, city spokeswoman.

The Mansfield school district will need to build new schools to accommodate the new students, which means voters can expect a bond package in the coming years. The district’s Facilities and Growth Planning Committee has started discussing future building options and will continue to meet into 2017, said Jeff Brogden, associate superintendent of facilities and bond programs.

He said it’s too early to discuss what schools could be built.

Here’s what we do know:

The Mansfield school district owns four school sites within South Pointe that could be potential elementary, intermediate or middle school sites. The first 290 homes are nearing completion now in the 870-acre South Pointe project. There are 2,000 single-family lots in South Pointe.

Then there’s the 800-acre M3 Ranch that will add another 1,600 lots on South Main Street. The first phase of 300 lots will start construction this fall and could be ready for move-in within a year.

The Mansfield school district has four potential school sites within the M3 Ranch, including a long-talked about sixth high school near Flying L Lane.

The Somerset development at the junction of Texas 360 and U.S. 287 doesn’t have any potential Mansfield school sites yet. Children living there will be split between Mansfield and Midlothian school districts. That development has more than 1,000 single-family homes planned.

Mansfield has also expanded its borders this year, adding 158 acres on Lillian Road south of West Broad Street at the request of a developer who wants to build 163 homes. The first phase will be called The Oaks Preserve, while the second phase will be The Enclave at the Oaks Preserve.

Welmaker said he expects Mansfield to continue annexing unincorporated land at the request of developers who want their neighborhoods to receive city services.

Felix Wong, the city’s longtime director of planning, said Mansfield will likely never return to the housing boom days of 2003 and 2004 when the city issued 1,350 and 1,259 single-family permits, respectively.

New housing permits slowed considerably from 2009 to 2014 and just started to rebound in the past two fiscal years.

There was a time when Mansfield invited developers to the city to show off the sprawling land that was available for residential and commercial development. They would fly them over the city in helicopters.

“By the time I got here, it wasn’t a matter of where we were anymore,” said Welmaker, who has led the MEDC since 2008. “It’s what piece of land do I buy. The easy pieces of land are always developed first.”

Here’s a look at single-family permits issued by fiscal year. The total number includes single-family and multi-family units.

2016: 382 single-family units and 496 mult-family units, total 878

2015: 301 single-family units and 371 multi-family units, total 672

2014: 215 single-family units and 192 multi-family units, total 407

2013: 205 single-family units and170 multi-family units, total 375

2012: 190 single-family units and 211 multi-family units, total 401

2011: 205 single-family units and 189 multi-family units, total 394

2010: 283 single-family units and 111 multi-family units, total 394

2009: 226 single-family units and 337 multi-family units, total 563

2008: 338 single-family units and 114 multi-family units, total 452

2007: 456 single-family units and 564 multi-family units, total 1,020

2006: 702 single-family units and 388 multi-family units, total 1,090

2005: 1,059 single-family units and 120 multi-family units, total 1,179

2004: 1,259 single-family units

2003: 1,350 single-family units

The article contains material from the Star-Telegram archives.

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