Southerland Communities

Southerland Communities doesn’t believe in buying and reselling just any open land for its own sake. The Spring Branch, Texas-based company takes a discriminating eye toward all of its potential acquisitions and looks for properties that possess special qualities.

Natural features, topography and locations in quiet, country settings that aren’t too far away from city settings all play an important role in the company’s decision-making process. “We spend a lot of time looking for the right piece of land, and we’ve turned many properties down before finding the right one,” CEO and founder Charlie Patterson says.

Most of the residential developer’s recent acquisitions are along creeks or rivers or in prime locations in Texas’ “Hill Country,” the region surrounding San Antonio and Austin. “We’re focusing a lot on that area right now,” Patterson says. “It’s such a great, beautiful area that many people in the state eventually look to retire and move out to. We stay pretty busy with projects out here.” 

The company preserves much of the natural beauty of the lands it develops. Each project is preceded by environmental and water availability studies. “We’re very environmentally sensitive,” says Jay Patterson, the company’s president and Charlie’s son. “We believe in saving as many trees as we can and being a good steward of our land.”

In addition to seeking out property, Southerland often receives tips or offers from landowners and brokers who know of properties that fit the company’s preferences. “We’ve been in business here for a long time, are local folks and know this area better than anyone,” Jay Patterson says. “Because we’re so well-known, we often get opportunities to look at properties before anyone else.”

Relationship Builders

Charlie Patterson has developed 18 subdivisions, sold 6,682 lots and purchased 18,738 acres of land since Patterson – a 40-plus-year land development veteran – founded it in 1996. The company mainly sells one- to 10-acre lots to private owners who then work with homebuilders to build their dream home, Jay Patterson says.

In addition to buying, marketing and selling land, Southerland’s Vice President of Acquisitions and Development Dan Mullins oversees the land planning processes and works with civil contractors to build roads and utilities. The company also works with architects to design the entrances to its developments, and provides other community amenities including playgrounds, golf courses, sports fields and picnic areas. 

Although the company sells mostly to the public, it often refers its customers to area builders they partner with. Southerland also can help landowners find financing. “Our customers need trusted relationships with the right professionals who take their dreams as seriously as they do,” the company says. 

Working Hard

Over the years, all but Southerland’s current five communities have completely sold out of their lots. “I’m most proud of our ability to market and sell land,” Charlie Patterson says. “Although we do a good job planning and developing, if you don’t actually sell the land, nobody gets paid.”

Patterson attributes the company’s success to the experience and training of its staff. All salespeople go through a very thorough sales training program after hire and follow a number of sales guidelines developed over the years. Southerland staff members also devote their energies to community activities, including fundraisers for local schools and fire and police departments. 

“We sell a lot of lots each year, but it’s not always easy,” Jay Patterson notes. “We have excellent managers who work extra hard and give up their holidays and weekends for us.”

Only nine lots remain on Shadow Lakes in Dallas, which the company first made available in 2005. Additional lots recently were opened on the company’s newest development, the 400-acre Canyons at Scenic Loop in San Antonio, which it acquired in late 2011. 

Southerland also is marketing lots at Copper Ridge and Lake Ridge at Canyon Lake, both communities in New Braunfels, Texas; and Bridlegate Ranch, located along the banks of the Medina River just outside of Bandera, Texas.

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