A slide show presented to the Denison City Council shows key members of the development team that will bring Preston Harbor, a more than $4 billion resort community, to the shores of Lake Texoma.

The developer of the Craig Ranch master-planned community in McKinney has assembled a team of real estate and hospitality heavyweights to create a more than $4 billion, upscale development in Denison on the shores of Lake Texoma.

Preston Harbor, an over 3,100-acre master-planned community, is slated to include a resort hotel, retail, restaurants, an upscale marina, and about 7,500 homes ranging from luxury single-family to apartments, condos, townhomes and cottages.

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

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

Preston Harbor will have a $4 billion to $5 billion ad valorem value at buildout, Craig told the Dallas Business Journal in a brief interview May 15 after the Denison City Council approved a development agreement necessary for the project to move forward.

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

Johnson’s participation in the project, in particular, signals that the hotel piece of the development will be consequential.

Johnson is a hospitality industry icon who co-founded Aimbridge in 2003 and led the growth of its portfolio from a handful of properties into one of the world’s dominant hotel operators, with a premium portfolio of more than 1,500 branded and independent properties in 20 countries and over 60,000 employees.

Craig has said it’s too soon to release many details about Preston Harbor because of ongoing negotiations with tenants and nondisclosure agreements in place, but he said it will have “a significant hospitality component.”

Johnson is also a founder of McKinney-based real estate investment firm Horizon Capital Partners, which in December announced a merger with Frisco-based Rockhill Capital and Investments.

Horizon has focused on the development, sourcing, and procurement of financing and capital relationships for investment partners interested in more long-term opportunities. Rockhill has historically focused its expertise on residential development, from land acquisition and development to entitlement and infrastructure construction.

Rockhill is in-progress with several residential communities. Those include the 675-acre Uptown Celina set to include four distinct neighborhoods; Heritage Ranch, a 440-acre mixed-use master­planned community in Sherman; and a 5,000-home project in New Fairview called Oliver Creek Ranch, formerly Shoop Ranch.

Together, Horizon and Rockhill have more than $300 million in managed real estate assets.

“Dave will be a real asset to the hospitality plans for Preston Harbor, as well as the overall financing and capital stack,” Craig said.

Prestemon, meanwhile, is a “seasoned veteran of 35 years in the master-planned community space,” Craig said during the May 15 meeting of the Denison City Council.

Before joining Craig International, Prestemon headed up the development of Stonebridge Ranch, a 6,500-acre development in McKinney that led Dallas-Fort Worth in single-family home sales for seven years and ranked in the top 15 in the nation in home sales for three years, Craig said.

“He’s been there and done that,” Craig said.

Kamarsu has a health care background. He is president of Enterprise Sales at lntegra Connect, a precision medicine data and analytics firm focused on the field of oncology.

In addition, Kamarsu runs a family office focused on real estate investments and alternative investment startup ventures, Craig said. He also was part of a team credited with the successful creation and exit of ION, a group purchasing organization that was acquired by AmerisourceBergen Corp. (NYSE: ABC), Craig added.

“Nagesh has partnered in several projects with us already and we’ve been quite successful,” Craig said. “He has strong experience in raising capital to launch projects such as Preston Harbor.”

At 3,114 acres, Preston Harbor will be a large development, even by North Texas standards.

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

The Preston Harbor project on the south shore of Lake Texoma has been in the making for 20 years in Grayson County, where it has been referred to for most of that time as the Schuler Development.

George Schuler, a longtime friend of David Craig, acquired the land parcel by parcel for over two decades before he died in April.

One of the largest undeveloped tracts on Lake Texoma, Preston Harbor includes 9 miles of lakefront. The community will have a town center with retail and restaurants overlooking the lake, an active adult community for residents age 55 and older, and a marina with 400 to 600 boat slips. The development could add more than 18,000 residents to the city of about 25,000 people.

Craig told the Denison City Council that his team has the capital to buy the land and has a purchase contract with the Schuler family.

Negotiations are under way with prospective anchor tenants and other project partners, Craig said.

“We’re in final negotiations on a number of venues,” he said. “We move very quickly. It took me 23 years to finish Craig Ranch and I don’t intend for this to take me 23 years. So we made sure we have all the users, what we call the real estate ‘food groups,’ whether that’s residential detached, attached, whether that’s marinas, whether that’s hospitality. That’s how you make a successful project.”

Preston Harbor is one of several large residential developments in the pipeline in Grayson County, which is booming with the recent construction starts of billions of dollars in new semiconductor fabrication plants and facilities for other high-tech manufacturers.


Jun 6, 2023, 8:52am CDT

Bill Hethcock, Senior Reporter – Dallas Business Journal

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