An upscale, 700-acre development is underway in Fannin County that plans to boast a golf course, spa and bunker condominiums for the rich and famous to survive doomsday.
The development, named Trident Lakes from the $4 million centerpiece fountain that will feature a Poseidon statute holding a golden trident, aims to be a five-star resort community and a safe haven from worst case scenarios.
“It’s not just a hole in the ground to hide in — it’s going to be one of the most plush resorts in all of Texas, if not America,” Trident Lakes Spokesperson Richie Whitt said.
The project is expected to cost $300 million and will be completed in phases on a property located off of State Highway 56, west of Ector. When the five-year project is completed, the fortress resort complex is expected to have about 400 condos that could house about 1,600 people. Whitt said the condos will be about 90 percent underground with topside patios. The complex is being developed by Vintuary Holdings.
The amenities of the complex plan to include an 18-hole golf course, three lagoons with white sand beaches, a spa, jogging trails, equestrian areas, polo fields, shooting ranges, a driving range, shops, restaurants and helipads. The condos will be built in three floor plans from 900 to 3,600 square feet.
And the gated community will be protected with a 12-foot tall wall wrapping around the property with watchtowers looking over. For when disaster strikes, the development is planning a tunnel system, communal greenhouses, air purification systems and reinforced, air-lock doors.
When asked what the price will be to buy into this community, Whitt said it won’t be millions, but they are looking for a certain clientele. He said the price will be in the neighborhood of an upscale vacation home, but the first phase of owners is by invite only. Whitt said there have been positive reactions and movement from Dallas-Fort Worth area athletes and celebrities and also a few from the national level. He wouldn’t give names.
“Part of the beauty of Trident Lakes and part of the reason it’s going to exist and be popular is the anonymity of it,” Whitt said. “We wouldn’t give away the names, but I can tell you you’re going to recognize a lot of the names that move into this place. You’re going to say ‘wow, that person actually makes their vacation home, their second home, in Fannin County.’”
Whitt said rural Fannin County is an ideal spot for a place like this exactly because of the location. It’s close enough to the DFW area to be accessible in case of emergencies, but it’s far enough away to not be a target.
“If a country says I’m going to bomb America, they’re probably not going to have a bullseye over Fannin County,” Whitt said.
Whitt said the complex will have a positive impact on Fannin County by increasing the tax base and boosting property values. He said Fannin County officials have welcomed the developers after preliminary talks. As the development plans to host weekenders at this complex, he said they will spend money in the local area and in Bonham.
“This is going to be a boost to the economy like Fannin County has never seen,” Whitt said. “We’re not asking for one dollar, not asking for any tax breaks. The land is privately held.”
Steve Filipowicz, executive director of the Bonham Economic Development Corporation, said naturally they welcome any development of that scope and quality. He said it should bring more disposable income to the region that would help the surrounding cities.
“I heard it said that there’s no such thing as bad publicity as long as they spell your name right,” Filipowicz said. “I think raising Fannin County’s visibility across the region can be very positive.”
Even if this development doesn’t live up to its plans, Filipowicz said it should still put more dollars into the community and those dollars should turn over some.
Fannin County Judge Creta Carter said he doesn’t see any downsides to this development, and it should help the tax base, especially with the Ector Independent School District. He said this development is indicative of the positive direction Fannin County is heading, and he expects the county to experience a lot of change over the next 10 years.
For the wealthy of the DFW area, the complex will have several helipads on site, making the complex reachable in minutes. Whitt said they’re also trying to acquire adjacent land to construct a landing strip for private jets.
For those interested, Whitt said the second phase will have a waiting list and parties can sign up through the development’s website, but he said there’s already more than 200 names on that list. While no place is 100 percent safe, Whitt said the complex plans to suit people’s real needs and desires by creating a sense of security.
“People are getting fearful of this world — there’s ISIS, there are things like Zika virus to race relation and the police brutality they see on TV — people are nervous,” Whitt said. “People want a place they can have safety for themselves and for the future of their families.”
But they hope the fortress component is never actually needed, Whitt said. So if the worst case scenarios never happen, the complex still plans on being a world class resort.
“It’s going to be a five-star resort — we hope that is all it ever is obviously,” Whitt said. “… If need be, it’s going to be one of the safest places on Earth.”
While the only visible construction is that of the fountain, which is planned to be 50-feet tall and cover a 55,000 square foot area, the first phase is expected to be move-in ready by 2018. The fountain is visible from the highway and construction on it began in March. Whitt said water should be running through it by December.
“They’re not coming out here to tear up what is some beautiful land, they have vision to provide people with a very upscale country club, but also give them one of the safest places that can mitigate any dangers that may come up that’s foreseeable,” Whitt said.