When a set of 60 new family homes join the Brooks community, it will be a huge step forward not only for Brooks, but for the company behind these houses. “It’s a significant project for us, the largest one we’ve ever done,” says Charlie Turner, the CEO of Terramark Urban Homes.

Terramark, which started in 1986, is unique in that it’s not only a builder of homes, but also a developer; it will purchase land, and then design neighborhoods,create lots, and build homes when the time is right, Turner says.

Brooks presented opportunities to do things a little differently than other projects Terramark has done in Houston and other areas of San Antonio.

We spoke to Charlie Turner about the project and about his company. This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

Living Brooks: How did Terramark get into homebuilding in San Antonio?

Charlie Turner: We were originally developers in the Houston market and we did a lot of commercial properties to the tune of a million or two million square feet. We started a homebuilding company in 2000 and in the Houston market we built hundreds of homes in the downtown Houston area all around downtown. We were doing a big master-planned community on the southside of San Antonio, where we began to commute for many years, sometimes one or two times a week. During that time I began to understand a little bit more about San Antonio. I began to look at the possibility of doing some infill development like we were doing in Houston; there’s really not anybody in the market that was doing it, and I kept asking myself, “Why?” So we began our first project in Southtown, near downtown, and did a small four-unit project, one of the smallest ones we’ve done, just to put our toe in the water. It turned out to be successful, so we began to slowly pick up tracts of land in the Tobin Hill area and started venturing into the east side of San Antonio. Since then we’ve done about 17 projects in and around downtown San Antonio and over 200 homes.

That’s a lot of growth.

We went from having four or five employees in 2010 to about 20 now in the company; we’ve grown quite rapidly in the last five years.

It’s all about the right tract of land at the right time.

Some of the selling points for Terramark homes are that they are energy efficient and very modern. Are there things that San Antonio homeowners are looking for that are specific to this city versus Houston or other places?

We do a variety of types of architecture and we look at the community that we’re developing for and make sure that whatever we’re bringing fits best with that community. With Brooks, for example, it’s a completely different type of architecture there. We took the surroundings and felt like this was the right kind of feel for that area. We want to make sure we put the right thing in the right place.

How did the Brooks housing development come to be?

(Brooks President and CEO) Leo Gomez was somebody I got to know when we started doing our master-planned community on the south side. He approached me when he began his role at Brooks and said, “Charlie, one day when the time is right, we gotta have some houses people can buy,” the apartments came in and were successful beyond what most people ever thought was possible. Then a second and third (set of apartments) and I kept telling Leo, “It’s all about the right tract of land at the right time.” When the property next to The Greenline was put out on the market, we probably spent six months to a year just going through the acquisition, the planning, the design, and engineering.

We’ve been working on it for two years and we’re excited about the first group of 18 units that are going in right now and we’re putting in all the infrastructure to start developing the balance of the properties.

What were some of the things that sets Brooks apart from other projects you’ve worked on?

Brooks is an interesting anomaly in that it is a fully developed community with all of the grocery stores and big box stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s, all the restaurants and retail – all that was there [along SE Military Drive]. It’s got a workforce and companies you know, hospitals, schools. You’ve got everything. The only thing it was missing was some single-family housing, or just housing somebody could purchase.

Who do you think will be buying these homes?

If you look at the demographics [at Brooks], a lot of people there are younger, maybe couples, and what drew us to building at Brooks was that these two, three-story townhouses really are ideal for that demographic. So we think a lot of people living in Brooks right now that are in apartments will say, “Hey, I’m ready to maybe put some roots down and buy something.” It’s a great community and a really first-class development.

Life is getting better here at Brooks every day. Southlake is the latest exciting development that will offer the first for-sale housing options at Brooks. Brooks is a place to gather, entertain and make memories. It took great vision to see these possibilities, and we’re just getting started.

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