Behind the deal: How Houston will be home to one of the first man-made lagoons in the U.S.

When Al Brende hatched plans for Balmoral several years ago, the veteran land developer knew he needed a flashy amenity to draw homebuyers to his new master-planned community northeast of Houston. The founder and co-owner of Houston-based Land Tejas Cos. said Balmoral lacks a key ingredient that made Land Tejas Cos.’ communities so successful in Houston over the past 20 years: access to a major highway. Balmoral, which is named after the Balmoral Castle in Scotland, will feature 2,100 homes, priced from $180,000 to $400,000, on 580 acres several miles north of Beltway 8.

“We really only built communities on major freeways where we can have store frontage,” Brende said. “This project is a departure from that. I knew I needed a destination-type amenity that is worth driving to get to.”

So, Brende decided to build Houston’s first artificial lagoon, a massive man-made lake with crystal clear waters, white sand beaches and palm trees that looks straight out of a Caribbean beach vacation brochure.

Brende signed a contract with Crystal Lagoons U.S. Corp. to build a 1.75-acre crystal lagoon in Balmoral. A second larger lagoon spanning 8.5 acres is being planned for a second yet-to-be-announced Land Tejas community. If all goes according to plan, Brende’s crystal lagoon in Balmoral will be the first to open in Texas in June 2018.


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