Larry Johnson, Developer of Master Planned Communities, Passes Away

HOUSTON – (Realty News Report) – Larry D. Johnson, who changed the course of growth in suburban Houston, passed away last week. He was 81.

Hundreds of thousands of people now reside in communities created by Johnson who demonstrated the ability to build and lead a large real estate company through numerous economic cycles.

Johnson, born in cotton country in the Texas Panhandle town of Plainview, founded Johnson Development Corp. in Houston in 1975.

From there, he went on to create a massive portfolio of master planned communities in Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin and Atlanta. His firm is now actively working on 19 communities on 47,000 acres of land where someday there will be a total of 80,000 residential units and 16.7 million SF of retail.

In the latest RCLCO rankings of the nation’s top master planned communities for new home sales in 2021, Johnson has three in the top 50: Sienna ranking No. 24 nationally with 646 new home sales; Woodforest ranking No. 45 with 467 sales; and Cross Creek Ranch, No. 48 with 457 sales.

A Pioneer Opens Up the 288 Corridor 

Johnson was the key figure in creating the Pearland new-home market and taking advantage of the Highway 288 corridor. In 1995, Johnson bought the unfinished Southwyck community in Pearland, and renamed it Silverlake. Prior to Silverlake, Pearland and the underutilized 288 Corridor did not have high-volume home sales. But Johnson, backed with investment dollars from Prudential, relaunched the project and focused Silverlake marketing on the easy commute offered by Highway 288 at that time. Homebuyers responded in droves. Pearland’s access to the Texas Medical Center, which has over 100,000 employees, was a winning selling point for homebuyers.

Since then, the 288 Corridor developed as a major market and numerous other developments occurred there, including the 3,000-acre Shadow Creek Ranch and many other communities extending south to Highway 6 and beyond.

Other master planned developments by Johnson Development include Riverstone, Fall Creek, Harmony, Grand Central Parkway, Imperial, Jordan Ranch and Jubilee.

With the 1,620-acre Jubilee, which was announced last fall as the Covid era continued, the Johnson organization demonstrated a mature perspective and unusually broad concern for its residents. The developer said new northwest Houston Jubilee community will be “centered on joy, with a focus on improving residents’ physical, emotional and mental well-being.” In the Jubilee press release, Mr. Johnson said: “We want to raise the bar for how a community can better the lives of the individuals that live in it. Every aspect of this new community is being intentionally designed to promote positivity, allowing residents to decompress from the everyday grind and connect with nature and each other.”

Johnson graduated from Texas Tech University in 1961. He later served on the university’s board of regents. Over the years, Johnson served in the leadership of many philanthropic, community and educational organizations.

He is survived by his wife, Suzanne Eastwood Johnson; five children, seven grandchildren and a great-grandchild.

Arrangements are by Geo. H. Lewis & Sons, 1010 Bering Drive in Houston.


Jan. 10, 2022 – Realty News Report. Copyright 2022


File: Larry Johnson, Developer of Master Planned Communities, Passes Away. Johnson Development.

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