Water: The Rising Tide of MPC Amenities | John Burns Real Estate Consulting

Water: The Rising Tide of MPC Amenities

90% of the 50 top-selling master-planned communities (MPCs) include a significant water amenity! While working on our year-end summary of the best-selling masterplans, we noted some amazing water-inspired amenities.


44 fishing ponds and lakes in The Woodlands by Woodlands Development Company/Howard Hughes Corp in Houston, TX. Most of the ponds operate under a catch and release policy, but with a proper license one can bring home dinner from Lake Woodlands or Bear Branch Reservoir.


Source: Riverwalk

Canoe/kayak launch and courses in Riverwalk by GRH Development in Charlotte, NC. The calm waters of the Catawba River are the perfect environment for paddlers of any age or skill level. Classes are also offered for those who want help getting started or desire to learn more advanced skills.


The Beach Club at Latitude Margaritaville by Minto Communities in Daytona Beach, FL. The booming 55+ resort-style community in Daytona Beach is constructing a private beach club for its residents with complimentary shuttle service because the masterplan resides a few miles inland. Alternatively, residents can enjoy the on-site party pool.


Source: Epperson

The Crystal Lagoon in Epperson by Metro Development Group in Wesley Chapel, FL, is the nation’s first Crystal Lagoon. The Crystal Lagoon is easily the most discussed major MPC amenity in the last decade. The massive 7.5-acre swimming lagoon is filled with crystal-blue water and surrounded by sandy beaches and palm trees, bringing the ocean-front lifestyle to land-locked communities. The lagoon uses up to 100 times less chemicals than conventional swimming pools or drinking water treatment technologies. It also consumes only 2% of the energy needed by conventional swimming pool filtration systems, according to crystal-lagoons.com. The finances associated with the cost/benefit of developing and maintaining the lagoon are the subject of much industry debate.


Source: Sunfield

The ultimate lazy river at Sunfield by Scarborough Lane Development in Austin, TX, transports residents through their entire amenity center. Once afloat, one can reach water volleyball and basketball courts, various waterfalls, the lagoon pool, as well as several pavilions all from the 1,000 foot-long river.


Other Water Amenity Development Trends

Mini-lakes are better than one big lake.

GL Homes can charge a significant lot premium ($20K–$100K) for Florida homes located on the water. For many years, they created one larger lake (up to 35 acres) within their communities. However, they have since realized that by creating several mini-lakes (8.5 acres or less) they generate more water-view lots and that consumers aren’t resistant to a smaller lake. River Islands in Northern California’s exurbs has multiple mini-lakes with docks for fishing, and premiums have reached $110,000.

Splash pads are a great opportunity to reduce HOA costs while offering water access.

The Groves in Houston, TX, by Ashlar Development features a nature-integrated splash pad, fire-pit, a playground made of recycled wood, and trails.

55+ exclusive pools within an all-age masterplan.

“I don’t swim in your toilet, so don’t pee in my pool”. Many masterplans, such as Rancho Mission Viejo in Orange County, CA by Rancho Mission Viejo, LLC, include either age-targeted or age-restricted pods alongside traditional development, targeting residents who do not want to live in exclusively 55+ communities. However, many do want pools free of toddlers and splashing kids, so developers are catering to these buyers by building 55+ exclusive amenities such as an age-restricted pool or private club house.

If you have a masterplan with a great water amenity or weren’t ranked in our survey last year and think you might qualify this year, please reach out to Devyn Bachman at dbachman@realestateconsulting.com.



Devyn Bachman If you have any questions, please contact Devyn Bachman, Research Manager at (303) 956-9881 or by email.