First Colony is a 9,700-acre master-planned community in Fort Bend County, Texas. The community, with approximately 50,000 residents, encompasses over 9,500 residential houses in 61 neighborhoods located across southern parts of Sugar Land with a few neighborhoods spanning into Missouri City.
First Colony was developed by Sugarland Properties Inc.—a joint venture of Gerald D. Hines Interests and Stichting Shell Pension Fund. Hines’ Sugarland group began development on First Colony in 1976.
When First Colony was under development in 1977, very little development was in the area. Bill Schadewald said that he, as a rookie real estate reporter, received speculation from local sources questioning whether “a project so large and such a distance could succeed.”
The community was a census-designated place in the 1990 census, with a population of 18,327 in 5,976 housing units with a reported area of 9.3 square miles (24 km2). At the time, this made First Colony CDP the 108th most populous place in Texas.
Sugar Land gradually annexed most of its portion of First Colony within its municipal boundaries during the early to mid 1990s. For instance, the annexation of Municipal Utility District (MUD) 12 in First Colony occurred on December 17, 1991; this included 1,064 acres (4.31 km2), including 2,314 homes, 433 condominiums and 350,000 square feet (33,000 m2) of commercial property along Texas Highway 6.
The Sugar Land Town Square, a development that began in the 2000s, was developed on one of the few remaining parcels of land in First Colony. In 2011 Schadewald said “Now: I guess it’s safe to say First Colony has been a success.”
Elementary schools within First Colony and within Sugar Land include Austin Parkway, Colony Bend, Colony Meadows, Highlands, Lexington Creek, and Settlers Way. Other elementary schools serving sections of First Colony include Dulles Elementary School in Sugar Land, Lakeview Elementary School in Sugar Land, and Quail Valley Elementary School in Missouri City.
Most of First Colony is served by First Colony Middle School in First Colony and in Sugar Land. Other middle schools serving sections of First Colony include Dulles Middle School in Sugar Land, Fort Settlement Middle School in Sugar Land, Quail Valley Middle School in Missouri City, and Sugar Land Middle School in Sugar Land. Most of First Colony is served by Clements High School in First Colony and in Sugar Land. Other high schools serving sections of First Colony include Dulles High School in Sugar Land, in Elkins High School in Missouri City, and Kempner High School in Sugar Land.
Quail Valley Elementary, Dulles Junior High, and Dulles High had already been built as First Colony opened. Dulles Elementary was occupied in August 1976. Quail Valley Junior High School was occupied in September 1978. Colony Bend was occupied in August 1981. Clements was occupied in 1983. Dulles Junior High School reopened and was reoccupied during the same year. Settlers Way was occupied in 1984. First Colony Junior High School opened in September 1985. Highlands opened in the fall of 1986. Austin Parkway was occupied in September 1989. Colony Meadows opened in the northern hemisphere fall of 1991. Elkins opened in the northern hemisphere fall of 1992. Lexington Creek opened on August 17, 1994. Lakeview Elementary was dedicated on August 1, 1995. Quail Valley closed around 1994/1995 and reopened on August 14, 1996. First Colony Middle was a 1999–2000 National Blue Ribbon School. Elkins was a Blue Ribbon School in 2002. Fort Settlement was a 2007 Blue Ribbon School. During that year Elementary #39 began to temporarily house Quail Valley Elementary residents as the school was being rebuilt. The rebuilt Quail Valley Elementary opened in August 2008.