FLYING Magazine

Pecan Plantation— a 4,200-acre, master-planned development consisting of two airparks—dates back nearly 50 years. The community’s newest project, The Landings, is perhaps its most popular addition yet. 

Zach Milton, land consultant for The Landings, provided FLYING with a look at the popular fly-in community in Granbury, Texas, which USA Today has named the No. 1 historic small city for three years in a row.

“I work for Patten Properties, which is a third-generation land developer,” Milton said. “We’ve done over 700 acreage communities across 36 states over the last 45 years or so but have never really done an airpark.

“The Anthony family owns Pecan Plantation. They have owned it since the 1940s, when it was the largest pecan orchard in the country. Then in the 1970s they started putting in amenities and a few hundred homesites on the land. They put in a marina on the lake, and they established a golf course. Then they put in the original runway, 0TX1.”

Pecan Plantation sports around 3,000 homes, which includes around 400 lots between its two runways (0TX1 and 66TE). 

A hangar home at Pecan Plantation. [Courtesy: Pecan Plantation]

“The newer airpark here is The Landings, which is the one that I’m selling now,” Milton said. “We’ve got another two or three phases to go, and right now on the market, we have 30 or so lots that are available. Then there are probably another 30 or 40 that are not released yet. We’re moving from north to south and in phases, and have sold about 108 lots in the last year and a half.  I’d say we sell about 10 to 20 lots a month, which from my understanding, is far and away the fastest-selling aviation property in the country. So, we’re extremely proud of what we have.”

Milton, who routinely markets these runway homes at annual aviation gatherings like the Sun ’n Fun Aerospace Expo (Lakeland, Florida) and EAA AirVenture (Oshkosh, Wisconsin), knows why aviators have been so receptive to The Landings. He explained that the community strikes the perfect balance between aviation and nonaviation amenities. 

“[One of the things that buyers find attractive] is that Pecan Plantation has more than just one airpark,” he said. “We’ve got the two airparks, so it’s a very active community. And we have EAA Chapter 983 here, which is one of the few gold-rated chapters in the world.

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  The real appeal here is that it’s an amenity-rich community. It’s already well established with parks, pools, gated entrances, security, as well as fire and EMS services. We’ve even got a grocery store, gas station, pharmacy, bank, hardware store, equestrian centers, and two golf courses on site. There is also a marina with access to Lake Granbury, plus three riverfront parks with access to over 15 miles of the Brazos River.

“So, you can fly in the morning, golf 18 holes in the afternoon, go boating at sunset, and enjoy dinner at the clubhouse, all within a golf cart ride away. It’s basically a $199 a month HOA and then another $55 a month for the airpark. Everything is in that cost. We are only 35 miles from Fort Worth, so for most folks, it’s a pretty good deal and checks a lot of their boxes.”

Milton said that the relative proximity to the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area is a positive attraction for career pilots who fly from area airports. Some buyers have even planned well in advance for their retirement, snapping up lots years before building their dream hangar home.  

“I’d say most of our buyers are from outside the DFW area, including a lot of airline pilots who are relocating from all over the country and are looking to live in an airpark,” he said. “A big buying base for us is folks that are starting to plan their retirement, and they’re getting their lot picked out and locked down. They’ll take the next few years to meet with builders to dial in their plans and look forward to the future. We’ve had people move here as far as Washington state, Miami, New York, Canada, and Costa Rica. We’ve even had somebody from Thailand come.” 

One of the development’s golf courses. [Courtesy: Pecan Plantation]

He advised that all homesites have existing underground utilities.

“You can use any builder here,” he said. “There is a 2,000-square-foot minimum (living quarters), and there is no time frame to build. So, a lot of people are buying lots just to hold, getting their money out of the stock market, just to hold the land for the future. We have a handful of people who already live here and are buying property as an investment. They’ve seen when The Landings was first brought to market 10 years ago and 1-acre lots on the west side of the runway were between $75,000 to $100,000. Now, the taxiway lots start at $189,900 while direct runway lots are in the mid $300,000s (only four direct runways remain).”

Michael Mills,  one of The Landings’ newest residents, owns a Cessna 182, his dad’s former aircraft. Mills learned to fly in the aircraft and has completed a tip-to-tail restoration, sparing no expense since assuming its ownership several years ago. Living alongside his aircraft presents a novel way of life for the longtime pilot. 

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“I lived in Colombia and wanted to move back to the United States,” Mills said. “But I was tired of paying hangar rent, so I knew I wanted to move to an aviation community. I was surfing the web one night looking for places in Miami, actually. Then a Pecan Plantation ad from Zach popped up in my Facebook feed. I called him at 11 p.m., and he answered.”  

Mills and his wife had the opportunity to check out the community in November 2022. Texas wasn’t on their initial list of places they considered moving to, but they were sold as soon as they visited Pecan Plantation for the first time.

“We closed on the lot in January of 2023 and just moved in a few months ago,” Mills said. “So, everything is finally coming to fruition. I’ve been busy working, but everybody here seems pretty friendly, and we really enjoy the amenities here. One thing I enjoy is the fact that I can walk out my back door and be in my airplane in the same amount of time that I could be in my car. I really like flying to new places around here for lunch. I haven’t yet done a lot of flying in Texas, so I am still learning the lay of the land and where good food is.”  

The post Fort Worth Area Aviation Community Expands with Second Airpark appeared first on FLYING Magazine.

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