AS REPORTED BY CANDY’S DIRT
Author: Candy Evans
Colby and Donnie Siratt were surrounded by family and many friends Wednesday when they dedicated the land of the future Montrachet community in prayer.
Several who have been involved in the west Fort Worth project, including those affiliated with the John Zimmerman Group, Compass Real Estate and the City of Fort Worth, attended the “ground-blessing,” which followed the official groundbreaking last week. Wine from the development’s namesake of Montrachet in France was toasted and poured over the land.
“It’s a pleasure to hear your ideas and be creative together,” Donnie said to those gathered for the event. “We just want to do what’s needed to be done so we can have more people experience it.”
The expansive countryside nestled within thousands of trees features over 45 acres of green-space, including miles of hiking and biking trails, riverside verandas and a private grove gazebo. Many have already taken interest in the development just purchased by the Siratts over the summer, with 53 of the 139 initial lots already spoken for, according to the family.
Montrachet, just off Ranch-to-Market Road 2871 and a stone’s throw away from Mary’s Creek, expands off of the exquisite Montserrat community. Lot prices on the new development range from $200,000 to $2 million.
Inspiration for the name “Montrachet” alludes to whenever acquisition of the property closed. The Siratts were abroad visiting Montrachet in France when the news hit, a trip in which they felt the presence of the late Donald Siratt.
“We were in Montrachet the day that the property had closed,” Colby said. “While we were on that trip, we all felt like Dad was with us, and six months later, that’s a neat reminder that he had been.”
District 3 Councilman Brian Byrd also helped dedicate the land, and described the reaction of city staff as collectively “ecstatic.”
“Let me tell you: I was impressed,” Byrd said whenever the Siratts showcased a map of the land. “I see this as a celebration of what Montserrat is and has been, and we’re getting to see more of it with this expansion.”
Construction on roads and various infrastructure within the Montrachet development is set to ramp up next year.
Anyone who really knows real estate, from the West Coast to Florida, knows of Montserrat. This is where singer Selena Gomez had a home. It’s where professional baseball players, top 10 PGA golfers, professionals and executives land, eschewing the buy-tear-down-rebuild mentality of Rivercrest, Westover, or Colonial. In Montserrat, homes are built big and luxurious– and right — from the ground up. There is protection, privacy, and the best Fort Worth private schools — All Saints, Fort Worth Country Day, Trinity Valley and Southwest Christian Schools are just down the road.
Now Don Siratt’s business was not just any delivery truck service. Though he started with a single truck delivering everything and anything, he expanded to deliveries in eight states once he became the exclusive delivery service for Xerox Corp. The company still has an exclusive contract with Xerox, as well as other Fortune 500 companies.
In 2002, the Siratt’s wanted to build a home. Don’s wife, Gloria, fell in love with the famous white bluffs west of Fort Worth, near Mary’s Creek, that have become the signature landmark for Montserrat and Montrachet. Initially, they began building a family home on the acreage, but then realized the vast potential of opening the area to others.
“Once friends and family started seeing the property, they began asking if they could buy a small piece and build up there with us,” says Colby Siratt. “Plus the costs to bring the infrastructure in for just a few homes was becoming a challenge. So we started thinking about expanding our plans and making at least part of it available to others, which eventually evolved into a full-blown development. But all along we knew we were going to live there, so we built the kind of place we could be proud of and didn’t skimp on any details.”
Turns out, a lot of other people wanted to live in the same kind of place the Siratts did.
Before they knew it, the Siratt family was in the development business. Montserrat was a twinkle in the family’s new business eye: real estate development.
Development of the land, named Montserrat, which literally means “jagged cliff” in French, started in 2003. It was a good time. Fort Worth was starting up one of its many growth spurts. There were 210 lots for sale, and sales were whipping along just fine until 2008, when the Greatest Recession since the Great Depression hit.
“Luckily by the time the 2nd phase started selling and the recession hit, we had sold enough of the 1st phase to be able to ride it out without any issues,” says Colby Siratt. “By 2010, lots started selling at a rapid pace again and we were completely sold out a few years later.”
Despite the country’s deep economic dip — Texas real estate values were barely brushed — the Siratt family teamed up with Fort Worth real estate icon John Zimmerman, who quickly helped make Montserrat one of the more successful home developments in Fort Worth.
Every homesite sold.
Montserrat is located off Team Ranch Road and I- 820W. A little over a year ago, the family was approached by a neighbor with 205 acres to the south of Mary’s Creek abutting Montserrat. As is common when developments are successful, developers gear up for phase two, doubling success.
The family was in. They closed on the spread last July.
As they were conducting the feasibility study on the 205 acres, the family learned of another 40 adjacent acres under serious consideration by another developer: bingo. They negotiated, bought and closed on the 40, wrapping the acreage to create 245 acres of pure development gold.
“The new property was very complimentary of Montserrat – a dramatic, 150-foot bluff continues right through the middle, with a box canyon, large trees, great open pasture land, a huge century-old pecan orchard with full access to Mary’s Creek,” says Donnie Siratt.
The elevation, he says, is unlike anything in North Texas: 150 foot drop from the highest point on the cliffs to Mary’s Creek.
“The topography of this land provides so many opportunities,” says Donnie Siratt. “We are looking to do some large pasture lots or ranchettes, 70 foot wide city-style lots, and one-half acre to two acre lots.”
In all, they are planning 170 homesteads.
ANA Consultants of Fort Worth, the same engineering firm that created Montserrat, will engineer Montrachet. Conatser Construction, the same contractor that built the roads and utilities in Montserrat will build the infrastructure. Stabilis Real Estate Fund is contributing the capital.
“This property is going to be beautifully engineered,” says Donnie Siratt. “There will be a planned, dramatic boulevard, riverside verandas, a private grove gazebo, amenity center, and full use made of the abundant nature available: walking and hiking trails, biking trails. Like Montserrat, the Montrachet restrictions will be similar and will require the same high standards. We expect the range in home values to be very similar – starting in the $850,000 range and going into the multi-millions. Many of the home sites will have incredible views.”
Security, he says, will again be a focus, with a state of the art guard house and 24/7 access control.
“Overall Montrachet will be even less dense, with some larger acreage, or “ranchette” lots and more green space in the neighborhood for the residents to enjoy. In addition to a community center (similar to Montserrat with a pool and play areas), we have plans for an open-air pavilion reserved for the residents to use for events and family gatherings. A resident only gate on FM 2871 will provide great access to I-20 and All Saints.”
The natural beauty of the area will give homeowners a daily escape to a country home, very similar to the Texas Hill Country 200 miles south, and all the activities available in a countrified, remote area.
Yet Clearfork, Fort Worth, and city hustle and bustle is less than 10 miles to the east.
“Imagine springtime here,” says Donnie, who with his brother, Colby, run the family business. “Those pecan orchards are almost 100 years old. The magnificent wild flower filled prairie will be blossoming into color the pasture. The views of downtown Fort Worth are due east — just unbelievable.”
This will not be just a premiere North Texas neighborhood, says John Zimmerman; it will be THE neighborhood.
And though no dirt has yet been turned, individual buyers and builders are committing to the project even faster than they were at Montserrat.
“With Montserrat, we had to show the community what we were doing, then they ate it up,” says John Zimmerman, the exclusive listing agent. “Now they have seen the beauty and success of Montserrat, they know that Montrachet will be every bit as exclusive, and could very well be even better.”
There is nothing like having a home-run development because it almost always guarantees you are going to have two.
“The builders and architects are loving the topographical possibilities,” says Donnie Siratt. “That’s one reason why the lots are going so fast.”
Lots are for sale now. For more information, call John Zimmerman at 817.247.6464 for a private tour.
Montrachet expects to break ground this month, November, with roads, utilities installed by mid-2020. The very first houses should be completed and, dare we say occupied, by 2021.