Bassam Barazi - The Lakes People
Ryko Development focuses on amenities to earn its reputation as ‘The Lakes People.’ Residential developer Bassam Barazi has commenced on the second coming of his swanky Lakes on Eldridge community. The Lakes of Bella Terra will have 1,600 homes on 670 acres at Bellaire Boulevard south of Grand Parkway.
Barazi, President of Houston-based Ryko Development Inc., has tweaked the blueprint in following the format of his successful Lakes on Eldridge development near Addicks Reservoir in West Houston. Instead of a private gated community, Lakes of Bella Terra will be public with some gated sections. But both share similar features such as green areas, fountains and an abundance of amenities to accommodate suburban lifestyles.
“This community will be just as good as Lakes on Eldridge and offer the same resort-style design and feel,” says Barazi.
Ryko Development is sinking more than $15 million into amenities. The first phase of Lakes of Bella Terra includes a recreation and fitness center, a junior-sized Olympic swimming pool and water playground for kids, tennis courts and a sand volleyball court. Added attractions are integral to Ryko Development’s marketing strategy.
“We add special touches and invest money up front to set up amenities before we even prepare the lots,” Barazi explains. “That allows us to be generous with our amenities.” Extra touches will be needed to draw buyers in one of Houston’s hottest housing sectors. Builders are busy erecting a projected 40,000 homes within a five-mile radius of Lakes of Bella Terra. The heavyweight construction competition includes household names such as Newland Communities, Land Tejas, Richfield Development and Friendswood Development Co.
Ryko Development has signed up Masterpiece Custom Builders, Ronny Carroll Custom Homes and Westport Inc. Homes. David Moore, president of Westport, describes Lakes of Bella Terra as “an enviable showcase community.” David Jarvis of local real estate research firm Metrostudy Corp. says Lakes of Bella Terra looks to be the premiere high-end development in a growing cluster of projects.
“Ryko just has a way of setting themselves apart, it’s just what they do,’ says Jarvis.
A Premiere Development
Homes are under construction in Lakes of Bella Terra, with the first move-in expected by summer. Residences ranging from 1,600 to over 4,000 square feet are priced between $160,000 and well north of $1 million. Build-out of the project should take about six years to complete.
Ryko Development sold the entire 750-home Lakes on Eldridge in four years, and the 1,100-home Lakes on Eldridge North in five years. Lisa Clark, RYKO's Vice President, identifies potential prospects as move-up buyers, employees of the nearby Energy Corridor and energy executives relocating to the area. A bustling corridor made northern Fort Bend County the land of opportunity for Barazi.
“The Grand Parkway and the Westpark Tollway are causing the areas to boom, and we believe that it’s going to continue to boom,” says Barazi.
Jarvis of Metrostudy says increased accessibility and job growth in the oil industry is drawing droves of home buyers to outlying communities, no matter where they work in Houston.