It's no doubt that Fred Caldwell attributes much of his success to the tactics he learned on the field, but his candid chat with HBJ Reporter Jenny Agee-Aldridge might surprise you. Below is an excerpt from their conversation, which ran in the HBJ mid-July. To read the full article, click here.
What did you learn from playing college football?
From football at Texas A&M, I learned many valuable lessons — the value of teamwork and paying the price to be the best you can be. I played defensive line for Coach Paul Register. I started as a walk-on and earned a scholarship my second year. Coach Register was very influential in my life. He took a chance on a kid that was not recruited and created in me a very intense desire to do well. He was tough and at the same time had a great love for his players. I learned quickly that the talent level on a team can vary widely but if everyone gives their maximum effort, the combined effort can be a thing of great inspiration and creates a momentum that is very difficult to defeat.
The same is true in business and any other team. It is leadership’s responsibility to inspire passion for a goal that is worth great sacrifice. I also was very fortunate to have Coach R.C. Slocum as defensive coordinator. R.C. has become one of my closest friends and mentors.
Tell me about your latest master-planned community of Towne Lake in Cypress.
It is a development of 3,000 homes that has been a real labor of love for me and the entire team. It’s themed around the largest private lake in Houston. We position all of our developments around water and brand accordingly. We have taken everything we’ve learned previously from other projects and put it into Towne Lake. It’s been years in the development. We are so fortunate to have great builder partners that have believed in our vision and build outstanding homes. We have homes ranging from under $200,000 to now over $2 million. Our vision for a community connected by water has really now taken shape as more and more people enjoy the outdoor environment that is very unique.
We will break ground on our mixed-use commercial development, The Boardwalk, in August, which will include a variety of restaurants, retailers along with office space. We are bringing in several new restaurants, some which are new to the Houston area. The Boardwalk features direct access to the lake so that residents in Towne Lake can drive their boats to The Boardwalk for dining and other activities. Kroger will open its largest store in Houston at Towne Lake on Aug. 1 with other retailers opening later in the fall. All of the commercial areas will be accessible by water, which is very unique, nothing like it in Texas. We are thankful that Towne Lake now ranks in the top 20 for all master-planned communities in the U.S. and was the fastest growing community in the U.S. for the past 12 months.
What’s next for Caldwell?
We continue to build our service platform through our brokerage and management companies. Our service companies are a key part of what we do in the investment and development sectors. We have very gifted people in these areas that have a heart to serve others. We see much growth opportunity in both the service sectors and the investment/development areas.
We are developing a mixed-use project in Cypress at the northwest corner of FM 1960 and 290. It’s 15 acres and will be very dense. It will include a full-service hotel, 50,000-square-feet of retail, office space and a multifamily project. We plan to break ground on it by the end of the year or the beginning of next year. The development will be called Cypress Crossing.
Our largest business line and focus will continue to be the master-planned community business. I am very passionate about this area of our company and the impact we can have on families through quality developments. We are starting on a new master-planned community in College Station called Mission Ranch which is following on the heels of Willowcreek Ranch which opened last fall in northwest Houston. We have others planned for the Houston region.