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The blue waves and white sand are ready in Prosper.
After more than two years of planning and construction, residents of the Windsong Ranch community will take their first dip in the project’s new Crystal Lagoon this weekend.
The 5-acre pool is only the second such project to open in Texas and the first for the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Developers of the 2,000-acre Windsong Ranch hope that the water feature will mean more home sales in the five-year-old project on U.S. Highway 380 in Denton County.
The quarter-mile-long, 10 million-gallon freshwater lagoon is about 10 feet at its deepest. The brilliant blue water is surrounded by acres of sandy beaches, a boardwalk, pavilions and lawn areas with artificial turf.
"Year-round we will have blue water, white sand and green grass," Martin said. "We will rent paddle boards and kayaks to use on the water."
This week, work crews were still rushing to complete the project.
They were raking tons of sand trucked in from Arkansas to line the beaches and finishing construction on grilling stations and covered lounge areas. A mountain of boxes with outdoor furniture was ready to be unloaded.
On Saturday, residents of the $1.2 billion project with almost 1,000 homes will get their first chance to splash in the project.
"They have it for several days before anyone else sees it," Martin said. "The interest has been huge.
"In the evening when the workers leave, there has been a steady stream of people coming by to look at the progress."
The first crystal lagoon in Texas was a 2-acre lagoon that opened in the Balmoral community in Humble north of Houston last fall.
Phelps to christen
Windsong Ranch is planning its formal opening on June 28th.
Olympic swimming champ Michael Phelps will be on hand to christen the big pool.
"We have something like 1,800 RSVPs to the grand opening party," Martin said.
On the 29th, the developers plan to throw the crystal lagoon open to the public for four hours in the afternoon and early evening.
"It’s the only time we possibly will do that," Martin said. "No one will be in the water, but they can walk around it and take a tour.
"We will have a hosted event that evening with a splash bash and fireworks."
While some of the crystal lagoons are open to public use, the Windsong Ranch version is just for residents of the community.
A much larger crystal lagoon that had been planned on Lake Ray Hubbard in Rowlett was going to be a public water park. But the developers canceled the project.
The international company that licenses the lagoons says it has more than 100 of the projects in the works in the U.S. valued at more than $50 billion.
Martin said he first saw the lagoons in Mexico and Florida.
"As soon as I saw it, I said ‘We have to do it if we can afford it,’ " he said.
The lagoons use a patented, environmentally friendly filtration and maintenance system that uses much less chemicals and energy than traditional swimming pools.
The Prosper crystal lagoon is already doing what Martin hoped — bringing business to the home community.
"We are already selling houses to people who say they are coming here for the lagoon," he said. "The other communities that have opened these in in Florida and Houston have seen dramatic increases in sales velocity and pricing.
"It’s a great investment for a homeowner to be in this community."
Homes in the community range from under $300,000 to $2 million.
More to come
Ted Wilson of Dallas-based housing analyst Residential Strategies said that other community developers and owners are watching to see whether Windsong Ranch’s new lagoon makes a splash.
"The crystal lagoon at Windsong Ranch has taken community amenities to a new level," Wilson said. "Most master-planned communities offer a full compliment of swimming pools and splash pads, but the crystal lagoon is a new standard.
"Developers are budget-conscious when it comes to amenities, so we will watch closely to see the magnitude of extra new home sales this feature produces."
Windsong Ranch can boast that it has the only such resident amenity in North Texas — at least for now.
Other major real estate projects in the area, including the more than $1 billion redevelopment of Plano’s Collin Creek Mall, are eyeing crystal lagoons, too.
"Once a family comes here to tour and sees that lagoon, they are done," Martin said. "They don’t go anywhere else."
Lisa Moore, regional director for Crystal Lagoons, said now that the Windsong Ranch project is finished, she expects more North Texas real estate developers to take the plunge with a lagoon.
"People need to see it to believe it," Moore said. "The more lagoons we have on the ground now in big markets like Florida and Texas, the easier it is to sell.
"I probably have over 30 projects in Texas alone on my plate."