Thursday, January 30, 2014


I really enjoy Swamplot, the local real estate blog that works in some awfully good snark at opportune times.  Here, they catch what the daily let sail right over their heads.  First, the Chronic with the advertorial.

Toll Brothers is the latest in a long line of developers to use the word “wood” in the name of its new master-planned community on the north side of town.

The luxury homebuilder is calling its nearly 700-acre development Northwoods, joining other famous woods, including Kingwood, The Woodlands, Woodforest and Springwoods Village.

And now, the moneyshot.

You know the old joke about suburban developments: That they’re typically named after the natural features that they replace. But in proudly announcing the name it has chosen for the new 692-acre residential development the company is planning near the yet-to-be-built northern segment of the Grand Parkway between I-45 and U.S. 59, Toll Brothers may have made that cliché seem quaint. According to the publicly traded homebuilder, which is working with Cernus Development on the project, the top selling point for this new community is its proximity to the new corporate campus ExxonMobil is building just 6 miles to the west. Northwoods will have room for 1,000 homes built by Toll Brothers and other builders, along with “resort-style amenities that take advantage of the mature trees and topography,” including trails, parks, lakes, and a recreation center.

It’ll also have the same name as a 62-home subdivision in the Little Rock suburb of Mayflower, Arkansas, where an ExxonMobil pipeline accident last March resulted in the release of 210,000 gallons of diluted bitumen from the tar sands in Alberta, Canada, onto the streets and back yards of the middle-class neighborhood.

Somebody needs a GPS device to locate the irony.  George Orwell couldn't have predicted this.

Immediately after the spill from the Pegasus pipeline, a quarter of the homes in Northwoods were evacuated. The gloppy nature of the oil product, which until the pipeline break residents had no idea was flowing near their homes, made cleanup very difficult. As of 2 months ago, almost half of the homes in Northwoods had either been listed for sale or been bought up by ExxonMobil. ExxonMobil demolished 3 of the 20 homes it bought after a soil assessment found oil had leaked into the foundations. After months of complaints by residents who said they were still feeling effects of the toxic fumes, Arkansas governor Mike Beebe ordered free medical exams for Northwoods residents.

Keystone XL runs a little to the east of Northwoods Texas, so I'm sure they'll be okay.  Happy househunting, all you new XOM managers!

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