‘Ready to be another Frisco’: Rockhill Capital’s Ryan Griffin on Selina and more

The development about two miles east of the future Dallas North toll road will connect to the central Selina Plaza.

SELINA, Texas Read this story and other North Texas business news from our partners at the Dallas Business Journal

Thanks to the expansion of the Dallas North Tollway, the city’s thriving historic downtown, and relative accessibility compared to the nearby northern suburbs of Dallas and Fort Worth, Selina has plenty of opportunity to do so, according to Ryan Griffin, director of Rockhill Capital & Investments.

Against this backdrop, Rockhill teamed up with Taylor Morrison and the Toll Brothers to launch The Ranch in Uptown Celina, a 450-home residential development located on 150 acres between FM 455 and the future Celina Parkway.

The development about two miles east of the future Dallas North Tollway will be connected to the central Selina Square by a golf cart-friendly pedestrian and bike path. It is planned that there will be a swimming pool, pond, parks and green spaces.

Construction work is underway at the site and planning is expected to begin in early 2023.

The ranch at Uptown Celina is part of the wider four-community Uptown Celina, a 675-acre project planned to build approximately 2,500 single-family homes.

In a follow-up interview, Griffin tells us more about the project, the housing market, and why he’s bullish on Selina.

Why is now the right time to open a ranch in Uptown Celina?

Three reasons. First, the Dallas Northern Tollway, with service lanes and an overpass over Highway 380, really opened up access to Selina housing to jobs in Frisco and North Dallas.

The second reason is that it’s more accessible than, obviously, Frisco and Prosper. If you’ve been following this market, you know what Frisco is doing, and Prosper is right there (in rising house prices). In order to afford a home, Selina is a really good area.

And thirdly, Selina has invested heavily in their centerpiece. Their EDC focuses on their downtown in the same way that McKinney has done its downtown over the past 20 years through both public-private partnerships and some organic growth. You can tell they really made a huge investment there.

This property (an uptown Selina ranch) is accessible to walking and biking trails in the city center. Selina is a community of golfers and today the younger generation finds it attractive. They really don’t want to get in the car. They want to be able to just get in the cart and go downtown, have dinner, have a beer, and go home.

How do you see the development of Selina in the next few years?

I think Selina is ready to be another Frisco. They certainly did a great job of master planning their city and decided what was going to be where, just like Frisco did. We are optimistic about Selina. We love this area. This is a great community.

What is your schedule with The Ranch at Uptown Celina?

The plans of Taylor Morrison and Toll Brothers are very close to being approved. They will come out of the ground pretty quickly. I would say they will start in the next 60 to 90 days and they hope to have a lot of houses ready in late 2024 or early 2025. By the spring season of 2025, houses will certainly be ready.

This is the first phase. What will be the total bill of the house with full development?

It’s a 2,500 lot community, and that’s not counting the apartment buildings and a few townhouses, and we could rent out a few single family homes.

I know it’s hard to predict, but do you expect the mortgage rate environment or the demand environment to change by the time these homes are available?

We have to take it day by day. Nobody has a crystal ball. Personally, I’m a big believer that interest rates could rise slightly and then stabilize over the next quarter or so.

I know builders had a really good January and I’m very optimistic about spring. I honestly think that buyers are resigned to the fact that the interest rate is 7%, not three. Keep in mind that they can cut the rate down to 5.5% if they buy on the downside. Historically, this has been a cheap fare. We messed up a bit when it was 2.75%. Many of these buyers, if mortgage rates turn around and go down again, they can always refinance. So I think they’re just used to it. I think the last six months, the last year, it’s been such a shock to the system that everyone kind of froze.

Job growth is a huge driver, and Dallas-Fort Worth is simply showing no signs of slowing down. Don’t get me wrong, I’m always cautious, but I do think we have a bright future for the next 24 months, if not longer.

This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

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texasstandard.news contributed to this report.

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