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First Colony

First Colony is a 9,700-acre (39 km2) master-planned community in Fort Bend County, Texas. The community, with approximately 50,000 residents, encompasses over 9,500 residential houses in 61 neighborhoods located in across southern parts of Sugar Land with few neighborhoods spanning into Missouri City.

History

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Sugar Land Town Square in Sugar Land was developed out of one of the few remaining parcels of land in First Colony

First Colony was developed by Sugarland Properties Inc.—a joint venture of Gerald D. Hines Interests and Stichting Shell Pension Fund. Hines' Sugarland group began development on First Colony in 1976.

When First Colony was under development in 1977, very little development was in the area. Bill Schadewald said that he, as a rookie real estate reporter, received speculation from local sources questioning whether "a project so large and such a distance could succeed."

The community was a census-designated place in the 1990 census, with a population of 18,327 in 5,976 housing units with a reported area of 9.3 square miles (24 km2). At the time, this made First Colony CDP the 108th most populous place in Texas.

Sugar Land gradually annexed most of its portion of First Colony within its municipal boundaries during the early to mid 1990s. For instance, the annexation of Municipal Utility District (MUD) 12 in First Colony occurred on December 17, 1991; this included 1,064 acres (4.31 km2), including 2,314 homes, 433 condominiums and 350,000 square feet (33,000 m2) of commercial property along Texas Highway 6.

The Sugar Land Town Square, a development that began in the 2000s, was developed on one of the few remaining parcels of land in First Colony. In 2011 Schadewald said "Now: I guess it’s safe to say First Colony has been a success."

Cityscape

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Several restrictions are placed on the development of commercial businesses. Signs of businesses within First Colony cannot be placed on poles. Exterior aesthetics common to retail businesses (from department store exteriors to restaurants) must have a brick-covered exterior and white lettering. As a result, fast food restaurants in First Colony differ in appearance from fast food restaurants in other areas. Steve Ewbank, the executive vice president of Planned Community Developers, the developer of First Colony, said that a brick shopping center in First Colony had a price tag higher by 10 to 20 percent than the price of typical shopping center.

One community located in First Colony is Sweetwater, described by Ralph Bivins of the Houston Chronicle as "upscale". In the year 1990, four very expensive houses were sold, altogether worth 1.8 million dollars (2935002.55 in today's money). In the year 1991, until July 7 of that year, 12 houses priced at over $400,000 (625686.27 in today's money) were sold, with a total of $7.1 million (11105931.37 in today's money), three times that of the 1990 total. The most expensive house that was sold in 1991 (until July 7) was a 6,900 square feet (640 m2), $1.2 million (1877058.82 in today's money) house that was a replica of Melrose. It was in proximity to the Sweetwater Country Club and golf course.

Parks and recreation

Parks in First Colony operated by the association include Patriot Park. Playgrounds in First Colony operated by the association include Austin Meadows Playground, Colony Meadows 1 Playground, Colony Meadows 2 Playground, Edgwater Playground, The Enclave Playground, Heritage Colony Playground, Riverbend Playground. Pools include Alcorn Oaks Pool, Austin Park Pool, The Lakes Pool, and Woodstream Pool.

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