THE WOODLANDS, Texas–The project that proved to be the measuring stick for huge master-planned communities has now hit the ripe old age of 30. This 27,000-acre development 27 miles north of Houston, the nation's fourth largest city, has been selling homes since 1974 and has led the surrounding area in new-home sales since 1990. Designed by oilman and entrepreneur George Mitchell along with visionary partners Richard Browne and developer Jim Rouse as an alternative to cities that "splatter people and projects in a thin veneer across the landscape," The Woodlands has provided a setting where a variety of people live, work, play – even age – in place. "We have homes and services here for seniors in spades," said Tom D'Alesandro, the current president and chie...
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