Convenience, technology redefine home innovation at Santa Rita

Currently, Santa Rita Ranch is home to six families. But the community’s master plan calls for the addition of up to 400 homes per year for the next 20 years. Lifestyle Director Regina Spurlock guides visitors through the community with an interactive mapping table at the Information Center. (Brenda Young Photo)

Currently, Santa Rita Ranch is home to six families. But the community’s master plan calls for the addition of up to 400 homes per year for the next 20 years. Lifestyle Director Regina Spurlock guides visitors through the community with an interactive mapping table at the Information Center. (Brenda Young Photo)

By Brenda Young

From smart phones to smart homes, Santa Rita Ranch is raising the bar on cutting edge technology and changing the way people think of home innovation.

Nestled just north of State Highway 29 on Ronald Reagan Boulevard, the master-planned communities of Santa Rita Ranch South and the soon-to-be developed Santa Rita Ranch North subdivisions sit close to many conveniences.

Six families currently call Santa Rita home, and co-developer Ed Horne said a total of nine builders will showcase their houses throughout the subdivision with a projected 300 to 400 homes completed each year during the next 20 years.

“This is a master-planned community. When you’re a master-planned community, it means you have a highly-amenitized subdivision with a variety of product types. The goal was to build a community centered on families, education, nature and trail systems, and to build it around the tagline, as learned from the land,” Horne said.

“You’ll see that there’s a ranch code used as a guideline of how people live within the community outlining the values we manage to,” he said. “This is all part of the marketing that’s moving up Ronald Reagan Boulevard and going north and a continuation of all that development that’s come up Ronald Reagan.”

Twenty-four lots have already been sold, and according to Horne, home construction began six months ago and continues at a rapid pace. So rapid, in fact, plans are in place to build additional schools to accommodate future families.

“Santa Rita North is in the Georgetown school district, and Santa Rita South is in the Liberty Hill school district. There are two Liberty Hill elementary schools planned, plus a middle school, and a Georgetown elementary and middle school,” Horne said. “We just got the entry completed and the Information Center recently opened in Santa Rita South where we had our grand opening.”

Horne said home prices are designed to reach out to a wide variety of consumers in response to the area’s steady growth, and prices range from the upper $190,000s to more than $1 million. Some subdivision features include 135 acres of hike and bike trails, pocket parks, a sports complex, children’s activity room, conference center, swimming pools and splash parks throughout the community.

“A jewel amenity center is expected to open in January 2015 as well as a new model home park to showcase additional builders. Many of Santa Rita’s features will be added as rooftops sell,” Lifestyle Director Regina Spurlock said. “Here, you can blaze your own trail to remain active and healthy. This is where high tech meets a rural community bringing the best of both worlds together and where families can interact in a safe environment.”

Developers are also bringing cutting edge technology and convenience to their residents.

As part of a pilot program, and one of only three housing communities in the nation, Santa Rita has partnered with Suddenlink to bring high speed Internet and fiber optic service to every door, with speeds up to 300 mbs.

“Suddenlink will have hotspots all along the trails, and we plan to have every area covered so you never lose a signal,” Spurlock said. “When you’re out on the trail with your family, how great is it if someone calls, is locked out of the house, you don’t miss that call, and everything can be controlled by your smart phone or tablet?  You can unlock the door and watch them on your camera to make sure they make it in safely. All of that’s going to be available with our infrastructure and Suddenlink technology.”

The information center is called the Farmhouse, Spurlock said, and it was designed to serve two purposes. It is the first stop for anyone interested in looking at Santa Rita using the facility’s interactive map and information table, and it is also the first community events center, which is available for community use.

From soccer meetings, bible study groups to book clubs, there is a conference room available for visitors and residents to use, including wide screen HDTVs and multi-media equipment for presentations. Refreshments and full event catering is also available using the facility’s kitchen area.

Adjacent to the Farmhouse, there is a detached garage facility offered as a gathering place for Realtors or large groups who wish to meet informally and socialize together. It has tables, chairs and is designed for Boy Scout or Girl Scout meetings, children’s school projects, and more.

“This is an exploration place. It’s all about touching and feeling and exploring on your own,” Spurlock said. “We can help show everyone the big picture, about what Santa Rita Ranch has to offer, and we always say come back at any time, and take advantage of some of the interactive technology we have. We want everyone to make a decision as to whether this is a good fit. After that, they can just play on the interactive table and learn more about what’s coming.”

A variety of regular events are planned at Santa Rita, and another goal is to have informal resident socials each week with something cooking on the grill and an invitation for people to get to know each other without any pressure.

“The skies are so gorgeous out in this area. We live by a ranch code — everything we do here is measured against a code, which is really our brand promise as a community. One of the things we adhere to is ‘learn from the land,’” Spurlock said. We hope to be able to host things along those lines in the near future, such as walks along the nature trail or maybe get everyone together for star gazing nights.”