Crystal Lagoons opened its first lagoon in Texas near Humble in August and expects the Lone Star State to be its No. 1 market in three years. The company has big long-term plans for the state and North Texas in particular, says Kevin Morgan, executive vice president of Crystal Lagoons U.S. Corp., who is based in Dallas.
Crystal Lagoons, with U.S. headquarters in Dallas and Miami, has more than 20 man-made lagoons underway across the nation, including five in Texas, plus more than 60 that are under negotiation, Morgan said. Worldwide, 600 lagoons have been completed, started or planned by Crystal Lagoons.
The company is finding new markets in golf courses, shopping malls, racetracks and other unlikely sources, Morgan said in an interview with the Dallas Business Journal.
The second lagoon to open in the state will be in Windsong Ranch in Prosper, and a third is scheduled to be in the $1 billion Bayside project in Rowlett, although the status of that project is uncertain.
We talked to Morgan about what’s spurring demand for the lagoons and the company’s strategy to ride the wave of popularity.
Dallas Business Journal: How does North Texas fit into the company’s plans?
Kevin Morgan: Dallas is the new headquarters for the company from a sales perspective due to the fact that it puts us in the center of the country, with our business to the east and west. Texas without a doubt will end up being the largest market in the country for the company, with Florida being second.
DBJ: Why are lagoons popular in Texas?
Morgan: The weather is conducive, but most importantly, given the vast amount of land opportunity here and a very healthy economy, there’s been a tremendous amount of new home starts that are seeking new amenities. You’ve got very progressive developers in this (DFW) market that are looking to do innovative, out-of-the-box thinking. So I think the confluence of all of those things will make Texas the largest market.
DBJ: Where else are you finding deals?
Morgan: We’re doing deals for public parks. We’re doing deals with distressed golf course operators. We’re even doing deals with universities and with racetracks that have been abandoned.
DBJ: How big is the man-made lagoon market?
Morgan: We think the scope of opportunities in the U.S. alone is over 55,000 opportunities.
DBJ: What is the average size of your lagoons?
Morgan: The smallest that we have operational is 1.8 acres and the largest one is 150 acres. So, there is no average. The sweet spot that we’re seeing on the real estate side is in that five to eight-acre range.
DBJ: How deep?
Morgan: Typically between eight and 12 feet in depth.
DBJ: The lagoon proposed for Rowlett has turned controversial. Why do you think that lagoon is a good fit?
Morgan: It’s a perfect environment for a mixed-use development. They do have a great amenity with the lake from an aesthetic standpoint, but when you’re trying to create a mixed-use environment that will draw the community together, I think the Crystal Lagoon will become the magnet that will draw additional foot traffic and benefit the residential, the retail and the office. It will be the gravitational pull that will hold this development together, and it will make it unique and iconic — something the city of Rowlett has never had before.