Throw out the old rule book of Lake Austin’s past. A new generation of buyers is on the loose and looking for the modern waterfront of their dreams. This one fits the bill.

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Manor

This home in Manor, Texas, was a wedding present when it was built in 1897, and has been lovingly restored.

If you want 20 acres of woods to roam, but also like the idea of being close to Austin and civilization, this 1897 lovingly updated home in Manor, Texas, just might be the ticket.

Listing agent Jill Leberknight calls this home located at 19704 Hog Eye Road “The Grand Lady,” and it’s easy to see why this historical shelter has earned that moniker. (more…)

3148 Above Stratford Place is listed for $11.5 million by Cord Shiflet of Moreland Properties. (Photo Credit: Moreland Properties)

Live large on Lady Bird Lake in this elegant cliffside retreat overlooking Red Bud Island. These are the most enviable views in all of Austin!

Nestled on a prominent cliff with lake views that go on for miles, stands this dramatic Mediterranean-style retreat, boasting 9,990 square feet, six bedrooms, seven full and two partial bathrooms, incredible infinity edge pool, and sprawling mature acreage – rare for the area — with close proximity to  the bustling capital’s city center.

“This is a one of a kind property for Austin,” says listing agent, Cord Shiflet, of Moreland Properties. “More than half of the value is in the land. Five-acres hanging above Lady Bird Lake with eye-level views of downtown and miles of water.”

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Time and again, studies say Millennials value experiences above things. If your business involves youthful employees, is it time to rethink the place for a corporate retreat?

Many a mountain, beach, or lake house has been marketed to business folk as a place for brainstorming, team-building, and entertaining clients. But the Millennial generation’s concept of a gathering spot is more likely to be a coffeehouse or music club in a buzzy urban area than a boring hotel, staid golf resort, or remote house. Taking a cue from co-op work spaces, an Austin-based group has opened a stylish “experiential” luxury hostel and event space that just might assist you to”go native,” and adopt the customs of of the newest generation for your next company summit or bash.

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What happens when you don’t bulldoze a vibrant urban core for an urban office park?  Austin. What happens 60 years later when you finally realize the huge mistake you made? Houston and Dallas. What happens when you want the very best pied-à-terre in Austin? You head to the Austonian at 200 Congress Avenue. And putting the “high” in highfalutin is unit 50T.

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504 Spiller Front

If we were to stare into Maleficent’s mirror and ask it to tell us “What home in Austin is the coolest of all?” it would make up some weird rhyme to tell us all about this absolutely rad structure in Westlake Hills. Designed by architect John Watson, a protege of Frank Lloyd Wright, the “Grotto Dome” house might be the coolest house in all of Central Texas. And you can quote me on that.

504 Spiller Pond

504 Spiller Deck

It’s an escape in the city, a home tucked into a ravine with a narrow little creek that runs beneath it. Jump to see more photos of what could be either an amazing second home, a vacation home, or a primary residence that’s cool enough to feel like a vacation. We don’t care what you call it, really, as long as you invite us over to sip cocktails and play pool by the pool in the grotto.

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Boot Ranch 24

Congratulations to Boot Ranch, one of the most beautiful vacation home communities in the nation, for having one of the nation’s best golf ranges as ranked by the Golf Range Association of America. So exciting!

Truly, Boot Ranch is becoming a top golf destination in Texas and the U.S., with immaculate PGA-level courses as well as an executive Par 3 course. Read on for more details!

The Golf Range Association of America has again honored Boot Ranch as one of the nation’s top 50 private ranges and the only award winner in Texas. Boot Ranch, Estancia Club, Hazeltine National, The Bridges of Rancho Santa Fe and Valhalla Golf Club are quickly becoming regulars within the Top 50. The award was announced in the January issue of Golf Range Magazine.

In addition to the 34-acre practice park, which includes a short game range and an executive Par 3 course, there’s the championship 18-hole golf course designed by PGA legend Hal Sutton. The 18-hole golf course rises and falls along the natural ridges and valleys and makes full use of natural water features, one being the twin 40-foot waterfalls in front of the 10th green. The course measures 7,250 yards from the longest tee for a Par 71.

“As the primary location for young players’ entry into golf and for players wanting to improve their overall game, a greater value is being put on practice facilities across the nation. Boot Ranch is at the forefront in meeting this demand,” says Boot Ranch PGA Director of Golf Emil Hale. “A lot of qualities go in making a golf course great,” he added. “In the case of Boot Ranch, players generally praise the uniqueness of holes, conditioning, challenge, length and history.”

A limited number of Non-Resident Memberships are available for those who want to enjoy golf; access to the property’s Club House Village, spa and fitness facilities; and the new Ranch Club featuring four separate pools, outdoor pavilion for events and parties and soon-to-be-completed sports and tennis courts. A complete list of award winners can be found in Golf Range Magazine.

equest_graze_600x900@72dpiRanches, cowboys, horses and cattle are Texas icons—just look at some of our professional sports teams. The Cowboys, Rangers, and Mavericks all harken back to the state’s historic roots. And remember famous “Southfork,” the site of many a double deal in the TV drama Dallas? It’s increasingly surrounded by development (and it’s a whole lot smaller than it seemed on TV).

There are still BIG ranches out there, such as the King Ranch, 6666 (the Four Sixes) and the YO Ranch (currently for sale for $81 million), but ranching and cattle are generally not the core business any more. More and more, ranches are purchased and owned for 3 reasons: (1) recreation, (2) energy development and (3) investment (which often means wait until it can be carved up and developed for higher prices).

While there is a powerful connection with the land, Texas has also historically led the nation in the amount of raw land converted to development property. This rampant expansion is continually changing our landscape. And let’s face it; much of what is developed and constructed does not have the most lasting value. Kind of seems like the same type of development gets repeated about every 5-10 miles no matter which direction you’re headed.

What does this all mean? Some areas have taken action to protect their heritage. In Austin, thousands of acres have been placed in conservation easements to protect open space, view sheds, wildlife, and water resources. The trend is also taking hold with some of our western neighbors. Recently, the Walls Street Journal reported that Scottsdale just purchased an additional 2,365 acres to add to the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, bringing it to 30,000 acres and making it the largest municipality-owned urban park in the U.S. While, in North Texas, the “drill, baby, drill” slogan has been adapted to “build, baby, build.”

However, at Cross Pines Ranch in East Texas (near Mineola and about 30 minutes from Tyler), over 1,800 acres have been permanently protected from future development by a conservation easement. This is beautiful and pristine property that had been planned for a 400-lot, high-end second home sporting community, complete with, among other things, a Tom Fazio golf course, riding stables, and skeet and sporting clays courses. While that would have made a stunning and high-quality development, the owners ultimately determined that they wanted to preserve the land in as close to its natural state as possible, while allowing a very limited amount of development.

2011 record bass

The result is a conservation-oriented sporting ranch, owned by no more than 40 families. Each owner has a 5-acre building site upon which to build a home and ownership in the remaining 1,800 acres of the ranch, which includes a clubhouse, equestrian barn, skeet and trap range, miles of hiking and biking trails and over 200 acres of lakes, professionally managed for largemouth bass and complete with boats at the ready. The fishing is spectacular. In fact, the world famous fly fisherman Lefty Kreh visited Cross Pines this fall and was so impressed that he’s discussed returning to use Cross Pines for his next video.

There is also a full-time ranch manager that takes care of the ranch (and its owners!) as well as a full-time equestrian manager, who will have horses saddled and ready for owners and who is always ready to lead a trail ride. The concept is really “plug and play,” where owners can show up and just enjoy their favorite activities, without all the hassle involved if they had to take care of it all. Since the ranch is about the size of Highland Park with virtually no fences, there’s plenty of room to spread out and play.

On the conservation side, in addition to the conservation easement that reduced the number of sites from 400 to 40, the owners implemented restrictions on building size, materials, tree removal and landscaping to preserve view corridors and encourage resource conservation. They are currently working on the re-introduction of native grasses as well as a significant ongoing reforestation program. These efforts earned Cross Pines Ranch a spot as one of the 4 finalists in this year’s Green Project of the Year-Non LEED category at the Green Gala & Awards put on by the North Texas United States Green Building Council. While the victor was the Perot Museum of Nature and Science (where the event was held), Cross Pines was certainly in good company.

Cross Pines June 2006 502

Is Cross Pines a model for future development? Due to its unique nature, it’s probably only suited for certain exceptional recreational properties. However, the real emphasis should be on integrating a focus on conservation, preservation and the environment into all of our developments. As discussed above, Dallas is not known for its environmental ethos. Maybe we should start changing that. Why? If you read my Aspen report, I coined a term “selfish sustainability.”

Think about it. We’re a magnet for jobs for many reasons, but we must continue to make choices to position ourselves and our area strategically for the long term. Resource use, resource conservation, land conservation, etc., is important to many people, particularly the “creative classes” that increasingly drive our economies. It’s all about making the right next choice. As I said before, if it makes economic sense today, helps protect and enhance businesses (or an area) long-term and helps protect the environment, that sure seems like a win-win-win. Cross Pines is a model for that kind of thinking.

Full Disclosure: I have been involved in the conceptualization and creation of Cross Pines Ranch from its beginning. We’ve always said that it’s all about the land, and we’re continually delighted when families see and enjoy this incredible landscape that has been protected in perpetuity.

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Dallas Addison is a Dallas-based lawyer who has helped many clients throughout the country buy, sell, develop and manage all types of  real estate over the years, with a  particular focus on recreational and hospitality-based real estate,  such as golf courses, resorts, ranches, second homes, etc. He is also a founding principal of Preservation Land Company. He is a regulator contributor to SecondShelters.com.