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“There’s nothing that’s been done like this in North Texas.”

The developer of the large and highly acclaimed Craig Ranch master-planned community in McKinney has turned his attention northward with plans for an even bigger high-end development in Denison on the shores of Lake Texoma.

The Denison City Council unanimously approved a development agreement Monday for Preston Harbor, a 3,114-acre master-planned community slated to include a resort hotel, retail, restaurants, an upscale marina, and about 7,500 homes from luxury single-family to apartments, condos, townhomes and cottages.

Preston Harbor will have a $4 billion to $5 billion ad valorem value at buildout, developer David Craig said after the meeting.

“There’s nothing that’s been done like this in North Texas,” Craig told the Dallas Business Journal after the meeting. “This is mega-mega.”

Craig, the founder, president and CEO of Craig International and the master developer of Craig Ranch, will lead the development team for Preston Harbor.

Other partners on the mixed-use project include Dave W. Johnson, founder of Horizon Capital Partners and former CEO of Plano-based Aimbridge Hospitality hotel management company; Miles Prestemon, president and chief operating officer of the Craig International; and Nagesh Kamarus, an investor and part of the general partnership for Preston Harbor Development.

“We’ve got an experienced group of master-planned community developers and hospitality experience involved in Preston Harbor,” Craig said during a presentation at the meeting.

When talking about Johnson’s involvement the project, Craig said it’s too soon to release details about the project because of ongoing negotiations with tenants and nondisclosure agreements, but said “we will announce a significant hospitality component in Preston Harbor.”

For perspective on Preston Harbor’s size, the $5 billion Craig Ranch business, retail and residential community that hosted the AT&T Byron Nelson golf tournament last weekend in McKinney, is 2,200 acres. The $10 billion Fields development in northwest Frisco that includes the PGA of America headquarters, the recently opened Omni PGA Frisco Hotel & Resort, two 18-hole championship golf courses and will include a Universal Studios theme park and the Fields West mixed-use village, is 2,500 acres.

Craig said that he hasn’t closed on the land for Preston Harbor, but it’s in escrow.

“We do have our capital and we do have an arrangement with the seller of the property, Schuler Development,” Craig said.

The project now called Preston Harbor has been in the works for 20 years and has been known for most of that time as the Schuler Development.

George Schuler, owner of Schuler Development, acquired the land over two decades ago before he died in April. He left the project in the hands of Craig, who described Schuler on Monday as longtime friend.

“George was a man of integrity and character, and I was fortunate to have him as a friend,” Craig said.

“George was a man of vision, and he trusted that I, along with my team, would complete his vision, and I intend to do just that.”

Preston Harbor will be roughly 75 miles north of Dallas.

Prestemon said during a presentation at the meeting that a day in Preston Harbor could include “a golf cart ride to the marina for a cup of coffee, a morning fishing excursion, (and) hiking, walking and biking on the many trails in the community.”

“The many natural and manmade amenities will create the ultimate lake living experience,” Prestemon said. “Multiple layers of residential product will create a vibrant community that will have a town center area.”

The development will have nine miles of frontage on Lake Texoma, Prestemon said. Many of the homes on the shore will be single-family and estate homes on lots ranging from a quarter-acre to an acre or more, he said.

The town center area will have a park that cascades down to a public dock and private-public marina. That part of the project will include restaurants overlooking the lake and other retail opportunities along with townhome and multifamily development.

“Residential living in this area will be designed around the many interior lakes and vistas that are naturally part of the land and will include a variety of residential products,” Prestemon said.

He said one of many companies the developers of Preston Harbor is negotiating with is a “premier active adult communities company.”

Another is one of the top marina developers in the country, he said.

“Right now, Lake Texoma has a very tired product of marinas,” he said. “This new marina will be state-of-the-art.”

The marina would have 400 to 600 boat slips or more.

“You’re going to be able to drive your golf cart out on the dock, unload your stuff into the boat, drive back and park it,” Prestemon said “It’s going to be a very golf cart friendly community and the marina will reflect that.”

Prestemon concluded: “We believe Preston Harbor will become the premier community in North Texas.”
Denison Mayor Janet Gott said Schuler would be happy that the project he championed for much of his life is moving forward.

“Scripture tells us that there is awareness (in heaven), and I am 100% confident that George is aware that we are nearly to the finish line,” Gott said.

Gott told Craig: “I believe that all of us working together are going to make George proud, and we are going to fundamentally change the city of Denison as you begin to develop Preston Harbor at Denison, Texas.”

By Bill Hethcock – Senior Reporter, Dallas Business Journal; May 16, 2023


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