Developing Houston: Homeowners get close to nature at Newland Communities’ Elyson development

by Melanie Kalmar

Drees Custom Homes Model

Honoring the rich legacy of the Katy Prairie is Elyson, a master-planned community of new, single-family homes on approximately 3,600 acres of scenic property in up-and-coming Katy, Texas. Whether your clients choose a homesite that is lakeside or on the green belt, the views will no doubt take their breath away. 

Orchards have been planted throughout the area, and when they bloom, residents will have an opportunity to pick oranges, figs and pecans. A birdwatchers paradise, Elyson has about 750 acres set aside for open space and amenities, and more than 400 acres slated for commercial development. At build-out, nearly 30 miles of beautiful nature trails, ideal for biking, jogging and walking, will wind through the community.


“You have the feel of a little bit of country living, yet you are strategically located to get to the major travel routes easily.” —Angela Johnston, onsite sales representative for Drees Custom Homes


Drees Custom Homes Model

Developer Newland Communities has partnered with a dozen award-winning builders on the project to create single-family homes in a wide range of prices, from the low $200,000s to $700,000s, to suit all levels of buyers: first-time, move-up, luxury and empty-nesters. Homes range in size from 1,400 square-feet to upwards of 5,000 square feet.

“We want to make Elyson’s lifestyle and amenities available to a wide range of homebuyers, regardless of their life stage or what price range they’re looking in,” says Alan Bauer, senior vice president and division manager of operations for Newland Communities in Houston. Entry-level homes are being constructed by two popular Houston-based builders, Chesmar and Westin. The gated section of Elyson is by Drees Custom Homes, a builder known for customizing plans to suit buyers’ lifestyles.

Quality construction that withstands time

This isn’t the developer’s first time around the block; in fact, Elyson is Newland’s fourth master-planned community in Katy. Homebuyers can see how a Newland Community holds up over time by visiting Cinco Ranch, a master-planned community built nearly three decades ago that still looks new, as well as the developments that followed: Seven Meadows and Grayson Lakes.

“One reason that Newland Communities has become the nation’s largest privately-held developer of master-planned communities is because we envision and plan each of our communities from the ground up to create the best possible experience for the people who will one day call them home,” Bauer says.  “We use our 50 years of experience, as well as consumer research, to determine what kinds of parks and trails and other amenities will be needed, where school sites and commercial retail amenities will go and other important considerations that must be made very early during the planning process.”


“Residents like getting in on the ground floor and being among the founding families.” —Heather Gustafson, marketing director for Newland Communities


Good schools

The area is in particularly high demand with young families due to the highly regarded Katy Independent School District. That’s why Newland Communities is especially excited about the district’s decision to purchase a site for an elementary school on the property of the new development. It will house one of multiple schools within Elyson’s borders.

“Residents like getting in on the ground floor and being among the founding families,” says Heather Gustafson, marketing director for Newland Communities. “They feel like they’re building value right from the beginning and they know what Newland is capable of with a master-planned community.” 

Drees Custom Homes Model

Central location

Conveniently located away from traffic, right off of Grand Parkway between I-10 and highway 290, Elyson gives residents quick and easy access to work, shopping and entertainment in Houston and the surrounding suburbs. “You have the feel of a little bit of country living, yet you are strategically located to get to the major travel routes easily,” says Angela Johnston, an onsite sales representative for Drees Custom Homes. But the development is also designed to provide spaces so residents don’t feel like they have to leave every time they want to get out into the world. The entrance to Drees’ gated section has a lakeside park with firepit, benches for sitting under the stars and lawn for bocce and pickleball. 

Fantastic features

Inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie School architectural style, Elyson House is an amenity center that is home to a state-of-the-art fitness space; media and game rooms; a pool; a playground; two tennis courts; and an event lawn for sports, movies and concerts. The area also houses Elyson Café, featuring poolside service and live music on Friday nights. A lifestyle director plans activities year-round for residents of all ages, helping neighbors get to know each other better.

Elyson House is the first of multiple amenity centers planned for the community, which held its grand opening in October 2016. Presently Elyson has 400 homeowners; Gustafson anticipates another 200 moving in within the next six months. She estimates that once Elyson is completed in 12 to 15 years, it’ll have approximately 6,000 homes.

Other amenities coming soon to the development include a lake for catch-and-release fishing and non-motorized boating, a dog park, soccer fields and a splash pad. On the commercial side, an onsite preschool and daycare center will open in 2019, along with a gas station and convenience store.

Touring the future

Adjacent to the amenity center is the model homes village, located at 23623 Elyson Falls Dr. There, potential buyers can get a better idea of what it might be like to live in any of the 15 fully furnished homes. “We worked closely with the builders, making sure the architecture of each home fits in with Newland standards,” Gustafson says. “We want something to look good now and even better in 20 years.”


“They are very pleased overall, not only with the home but also with the people who are helping make their dream home come true.” —Lina Botera, agent with Keller Williams Platinum


All of the homes are built with energy-efficient features, such as spray-foam insulation, and wired for Wi-Fi. The dozen builders working with Newland are offering buyers 184 different floor plans to choose from and more than 75 single-story plans. “It’s something our builders are seeing a huge growth in: people wanting single-story homes, especially homes over 3,000 square feet,” Gustafson says.  “People want the space but all on one level, with three-car garages.”

Lina Botera, an agent with Keller Williams Platinum, sold her first house in Elyson to empty-nesters who chose the location both because it was close to their workplaces and they fell in love with the model.  “They were looking for a while,” Botera says. “They are very pleased overall, not only with the home but also with the people who are helping make their dream home come true.”

More than 90 percent of sales at Elyson are through real estate professionals like Botera, Gustafson says: “Knowing that the real estate community sees value in what we do is a huge benefit to us.”


Learn more about the area at Drees Custom Homes’ community page for Elyson.

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