Long-awaited residential project kicks off in Lago Vista

Dec 19, 2014
Austin American Statesman

Construction has started on the long-delayed Montechino project, a $350 million luxury community planned for Lago Vista that could bring more than 300 homes in coming years, the developer 


said


The project is planned for 250 acres on Lake Travis’ north shore, across from the shuttered Carlos ‘n Charlie’s restaurant. The developer, Houston-based investor Brian Atlas, said he bought 


the project out of bankruptcy nine years ago this month, in December 2005


Atlas said work will begin on model homes next week in Montechino, which he plans to develop during the next five to seven years. A 30-acre park, a 70-slip marina and a 96-room hotel also 


are planned, although Atlas said he does not yet have a hotel developer on board


Montechino will have several housing types: garden homes, single- family homes, and waterfront condominiums as well as estate homes on lots ranging from three acres to 10 acres. A few 


houses are nearing completion, and several more will be starting soon


Plans call for 60 garden homes in a section called Camelot Woods, with three of those homes currently under construction. Prices will range from $280,000 to $470,000, Atlas said


The 56 waterfront condos, in the Bella Vista section, will range from $780,000 to $1.75 million


Among the single-family homes, the Signature Homes series will have 102 houses priced from $450,000 to $700,000. Another series, the Heritage Homes, will have 100 residences priced from 


$650,000 to $1.2 million


The estate homes are expected to range from $1.2 million to $5 million


Montechino is the successor development to the former Marshall’s Harbor project proposed for Lago Vista. That project never materialized after the original developer filed for bankruptcy in 


2004


After Atlas bought the project out of bankruptcy, he revised the plat to increase the density and made other changes, including building new roads and installing underground electrical, 


water and wastewater systems. The project will have city of Lago Vista water, sewer and other services, Atlas said


Atlas and Barbara Boulware-Wells, city attorney for the city of Lago Vista, said the project had languished for years due to ongoing litigation over land development issues and the economic 


downturn


But Atlas said that, with the worst of the legal battles behind him, the project is back on track. Currently, 40 lots are ready for builders to construct homes on, he said


Mark Sprague, a local housing market expert, said Lago Vista and neighboring Jonestown have typically attracted people buying second homes and people “who want to be away from the city”


However, Sprague noted that the Lago Vista area stands to benefit from the growing number of corporations that are locating or expanding in nearby Cedar Park and Leander — areas that also 


are seeing surging population growth. “With the strength of the Texas economy and the number of lots sold to non-residents, (Montechino) could show some success,” Sprague said”


For Atlas, it won’t be the first time he has taken a troubled project and turned it around


Early in the 2000s, a judge in the Money Mortgage bankruptcy case in Houston put Atlas and three other investors in charge of dozens of real estate partnerships that had made loans on 


residential projects, with the goal to sell, develop or rework the projects so the private investors who backed them might see as much of a return as possible


Atlas said he and the other court-appointed team returned close to 70 percent of the $180 million that was outstanding at the time of the bankruptcy


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