Larry Johnson, President and CEO of the Johnson Development Corporation, is the innovator and mastermind behind Fulshear’s Cross Creek Ranch.
Cross Creek Ranch was started by Trendmaker Homes. Fulshear’s growth trends caught Johnson’s eye, and when there was an opportunity to purchase the land, he jumped on it. Cross Creek Ranch exemplifies the innovative design and amenities Mr. Johnson and his team are known for. Its water park has a 200 foot long water slide that plunges into a large swimming pool. It also offers a splash pad and wading pool. For the sun worshippers, Johnson created tanning shelves with refreshing water jets. Cross Creek Ranch, like Johnson’s other developments, is known for walkability. Parks are scattered throughout the entire community, so children do not have far to walk before finding a place to play. Each play area encourages imaginations to run wild. Active residents can also enjoy the fitness center as well as miles of hiking and biking trails that meander throughout this beautiful community. Even the family pet can enjoy the outdoors at Canine Commons, the neighborhood dog park.
Fulshear residents may know Mr. Johnson for his work at Cross Creek Ranch, but he is known in the real estate and development industry as a powerhouse. The Johnson Development Corp. was recently named Developer of the Year by the Greater Houston Builder’s Association. Johnson also manages more of the county’s top-selling master-planned communities than any other developer in the nation. In fact, according to a report by John Burns Real Estate Consulting, Johnson Development was the only group to have more than one development in the nation’s top 20 best-selling master-planned communities for 2013: they had four!
There is no luck about Johnson’s success. Mr. Johnson and his talented team have mastered the art of development. “All of our communities have a distinct personality.” After looking at the natural amenities available in the area along with the needs and wants of the population, Johnson’s team develops a plan. Johnson Development’s priority is to stay ahead of the market. Johnson stresses the importance of variety. By offering starter homes, luxury homes, and multi-family homes, Johnson Development is able to appeal to all sectors of the market. They truly offer something for everyone.
Open space and trails are the number one amenity to date. Cross Creek Ranch, like so many of the others, embraces nature at its finest. “I always like to see some art scattered throughout the community. Lots of bronze statues and deer. Some ducks in the water,” says Mr. Johnson. The balance between residential community, art, and nature is essential.Another aspect that sets Johnson’s developments apart from others is his definition of a community. To Johnson, community is not just about houses but rather about the people inside the houses. He wants to see people out and enjoying the communities as much as possible. In fact, this is so important to him that he hires a Director of Recreation at each development whose job it is to plan events and activities. Events like the Kite Festival and the Scarecrow Festival bring people out of their particular streets or subdivisions, so they may interact with their families, friends, and neighbors.
While many developers disappear as soon as the homes have sold out, the Johnson Development Corp. has set up a foundation that will continue to fund the community and their events. Every time a house sells, a small fee is paid to this foundation that, in turn, uses this money to continue funding events as well as maintaining the community’s natural beauty.
Johnson is adamant about the implementation of this fund so that his communities, like Cross Creek Ranch, will continue to thrive as years pass. “I want to be able to go back 10 years, 15 years from now and drive through them and be proud that they’re nice and well maintained.”
Larry Johnson is one of the most sought after developers in the nation, but he has not lost touch with his roots.Growing up in Kress, Texas – a small town between Lubbock and Amarillo – Johnson spent his childhood working on his family’s ranch and farm. His formative years led to a Bachelor of Science in agriculture economics from Texas Tech, but upon graduation, he realized he had a few other interests. He attended law school at the University of Texas, and it was there that he and a group of friends decided to try their hands in real estate. The rest, as they say, is history.
While he may be the man in charge, he is the first and most adamant to give accolades to his team. He notes that each person is an integral part of the success of the company. Mr. Johnson is a man of integrity, and he genuinely loves what he does. The best part of the job is “taking a blank piece of paper and creating something. Most of this land we start with is just raw land, and being able to create whole communities, and the people, and the vitalities of the community is a challenge, but it is very rewarding.“
When asked to reveal something about himself that could not be found online or in another magazine, Johnson responded, “Well, I’m the same guy I’ve always been. I enjoy people and I still enjoy what I do.” It is no surprise that when Johnson is able to take well-deserved time off, you will find him at his Hill Country ranch, spending time with his family, riding his bull dozer, and enjoying his animals.