APR is proud to provide architectural control for Lakeside at Tessera in Lago Vista, TX. 

Developed by Hines, Lakeside is an 875-acre community that will eventually be home to 2,000 families.  In 2019, Lakeside was named Community of the Year by the Austin Business Journal, which recognized the community’s unique setting on the north shore of Lake Travis, its amenities and builders, and its amazing natural surroundings.

Builders Toll Brothers, Saratoga Homes, Westin Homes, and Trophy Signature Homes recently joined the line-up at Lago Vista.  Existing builder partners include Highland Homes and Coventry Homes.  Drees Custom Homes also will build on select homesites. 

Hines Director Darlene Louk leads the effort at Lakeside. APR sat down with Darlene to understand how architectural control plays a role in her community’s success.

Q:  Darlene, let’s learn a little about you before we dive in. 

A: I’m celebrating 8 years with Hines this year. It went so quickly!  I’m responsible for our existing Austin and San Antonio master planned single family development projects and new investment opportunities. Part of my job is to manage homebuilder relationships, the budget, and builder and utility contracts.  I also work with MUD and PID districts as well as the various municipalities.

Q: Tell us about Lakeside at Tessera.

A:  Lakeside at Tessera is a unique community in that it abuts natural preserve on three sides.  Of course, there’s Lake Travis, but also the 25,000-acre Balcones Canyons National Wildlife Refuge and the City of Lago Vista Preserve.  It’s a wonderful experience for our residents, but it means we are under a lot of scrutiny for what is built.  We feel a huge responsibility to ensure that the community respects its position in such an environment.  Also, we’re proud to be part of the City of Lago Vista, with its amazing schools and a very cool community vibe.  At buildout, half of the population of Lago Vista will consist of Lakeside residents. 

Q: How did you come to know Architectural Plan Review?

A: I started the Lakeside community builder program with two builders, Coventry and Highland Homes.  As we brought on new builders and more lot sizes, managing all of the product approvals became challenging. We needed a firm like Architectural Plan Review to help us manage the volume.

Q:  Why do you think having APR on board is important?

A:  Everyone in the master planned community space has a story to tell about the home that fell through the cracks and got built without approval.  That never goes well!  The developer–and the neighbors!—may need to live with error that for decades.  APR ensures that doesn’t happen in our community.

Q:  Did APR help you with Design Guidelines?

A: We had pre-existing Design Guidelines at Lakeside, which APR helps us to enforce.  Over time, modifications became necessary, and APR helped us determine what to update and then adjusted to manage the modifications.

Q:  You’ve been working on Lakeside since its early days.  How have things changed?

A:  Well, we’ve introduced new builders and new home designs along the way.  APR has been a part of that in several ways.  For example, when we introduced 40’ wide lots, we knew we needed to be especially careful about architecture.  With smaller homesites, managing the repetition of the elevations is critical to ensure that the streetscapes are interesting.

Q:  And now you have even more options.

A:  Yes, we’ve added some new builders to the mix!  APR facilitates our Lakeside builder meetings as new sections come on.  They know the builders’ sales and permitting coordinators, and they meet with the construction managers on site. In March, we’re delivering another 400 lots.  That’s a lot for APR to handle, but we know they can manage it.

Q: Darlene, thank you!  APR is so pleased to be part of the Lakeside at Tessera community.  We look forward to your continued success.

A:  Thank you for what you do to help us be successful. 

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