Developers like to brag about their "green" construction projects.
But a development proposed in Frisco takes the concept to a whole different level.
An international builder is working on plans for a 55-acre modern home community where the houses would have roofs covered in native plants. The new neighborhood on Independence Parkway near Rolater Road would also include heavily landscaped public areas and a bridge across a wooded creek.
"The proposed development offers a unique housing product that is the first of its kind in the city of Frisco and the region," Frisco city planners said in their review of the development.
Developer Total Environment has a track record of building distinctive, eco-friendly real estate projects at home in India and in other markets.
"The developer has been building these homes overseas for years, and they have been very successful," said Jim Knight, a senior principal with design and engineering firm Stantec. "A number of people already want to buy them."
Total Environment heavily landscapes its developments in India. Renderings for the Frisco proposal are shown.
Stantec has been working with Total Environment for months to plan the residential development, which was recently approved by Frisco's planning and zoning commission.
The proposed project now goes to the City Council for review.
The houses would be built with small front and rear yards and curved roofs that extend near ground level.
"We are working with the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, and they have come up with a planting, maintenance and monitoring plan for this entire project," Knight told the Frisco planning commission. "We know that the seasonal plants will rotate through as we go from spring to summer to winter to fall.
"We believe we have a very unique, sustainable, pedestrian-friendly community."
$900,000 and up
The development will have about 122 houses ranging in size from more than 4,000 to 5,000 square feet. "Your are looking at prices of $900,000 and up," Knight said.
Almost 20 percent of the land would be open space, with areas set aside for walking trails and a water feature and plaza area.
"The property is absolutely gorgeous," Knight said. "Rowlett Creek runs through it, and there are three ponds.
"Only 23 of the 55 acres will be built upon, and we are lower density than the neighborhoods that adjoin us," he said. "We want to provide a sustainable environmentally friendly development Frisco can be proud of."
Knight said that while individual buildings in the U.S. have used roofs planted with greenery, the Frisco project is different.
"Nobody has done a community of them," he said. "There has been a lot of meticulous care taken to make sure what we are proposing works.
"If everything goes well, we'll start construction probably third quarter of next year."
Demand is up
American homebuyers are increasingly interested in projects that include sustainable development features and environment-friendly designs, housing industry polling shows.
"If they are coming into Frisco, I want to be the first one to buy into the project," Frisco resident Seema Kodancha told Frisco planning commissioners. "They are eco-friendly, very open space, very green.
"I have seen their properties back in India," she said. "They are a very reputed builder in India."
Total Environment has won awards at home for its heavily landscaped projects and innovative designs. The company has been in business for more than 20 years and builds a wide variety of housing.
Total Environment covers its communities at home in India with planted roofs and extensive landscaping. The companies shared renderings for its Frisco project with city officials. (Total Environment)