Master planned communities are the answer to many of the challenges of developers and suburban land planners alike. Different lifestyles demand different communities, and a master plan can provide spaces and amenities for as many as 15 different market segments, including singles, executive families and empty-nesters. Discriminating buyers are embracing the concept everywhere.
The new urban communities often feature secure walkable neighborhoods, recreation facilities, neighborhood parks, sports parks, and even schools and fire stations. Nearby commercial facilities are often part of the larger plan, offering shopping, theaters, dining, professional office space and more.
The two new master planned communities featured in this article are having an impact in Nevada, and another one in the planning stages will bring more residents and more development into Pahrump.
Somersett, rising in the Peavine foothills of the Truckee Meadows on Reno’s western fringe, is a town all its own, which will boast 2,600 homes and two golf courses in the next seven to 15 years.
Somersett Development Co. is offering prices starting at the mid-$200,000s and ranging up to $1 million for high-end custom homes. Homebuyers are anxious to stake their claims, and 50 sales were made before the end of the year, with home construction just beginning and months ahead of the grand opening scheduled for spring of 2003. Sales volume is expected to reach as high as 300 per year once the project gets underway.
Michelle Attaway, marketing director for Somersett Development Co., said, “It’s a community not just for today, but for where Reno is going. So far, about 90 percent of the buyers are from Reno and 10 percent from California, a ratio which will change when California marketing efforts begin in the spring.”
Selling points adding to the attraction of this planned community are Somersett’s low density, which includes 50 percent open space, as well as its proximity to Interstate 80, downtown Reno and the Sierras.
John Hester, Reno’s director of community development stated, “Master planned developments like Somersett are desirable from a planning perspective because long-term roads, water and sewer needs can be forecast over a wider region far more effectively.” Somersett has been in the planning stages for more than a decade. With growth inevitable, it is said that high-end planned communities such as Somersett are exactly what the Truckee Meadows needs for a prosperous future. Hester points out, “If we’re going to grow and use up more land, which we are, growing along major corridors like U.S. 395 to the north, and to the south along I-80, makes sense.”
Blake Smith, president of Somersett Development Co., said, “The real issue is the quality of growth. With 20 miles of trails, open space, residential mix of clustered villages, a park, a school, commercial and office space and a fire station, Somersett delivers a quality way of life.”
Somersett stretches 2-1/2 miles east to west and one mile north to south, encompassing some 2,370 acres. By the time it’s completed, the development will boost Reno’s population by about 6,000.
Somersett Builders’ planned villages include Brunsonbuilt – custom homes starting in the low $600,000s – and the Monterey Development Group, offering the Ventana Collection and the Versante Collection, starting at the high $300,000s and mid- $400,000s, respectively. The sales office for these projects is now open, along with a Sneak Preview Information Center.
NorthCliff Development will feature Cityside, starting in the low $300,000s. Ryder Homes will offer Copper Knolls, starting at the high $200,000s. The Silverstar Collection, offering both Indigo Hills and Amber Glen homes, are priced from the mid-$200,00s and mid-$300,000s, respectively. The Indigo Hills sales office and models are currently open.
Custom home sites from one-third acre to one acre-plus will be available early in 2003.
North Valley Enterprises, an affiliate of American Nevada Corp. and Del Webb Communities, Inc., has begun presales for five single-family neighborhoods in the Primary Village of the new Aliante master-planned community in North Las Vegas.
This past October saw a record-breaking presales opening for the active adult village of Sun City Aliante. More than one-third of the homes in phase one sold the first day, and more than 120 homes sold in the first month.
North Valley Enterprises’ Senior Vice President Dan Naef said, “We are thrilled with the performance of Sun City Aliante. Apparently, prospective homebuyers were equally enthused.”
This 1,905-acre community lies in an area bordered roughly by Grand Teton Drive, Centennial Parkway, Decatur Boulevard and Clayton Street. It provides easy access to I-15 and U.S. 95 and will eventually intersect with the I-215 Beltway.
The primary village and the active adult village will include a total of about 7,500 homes for approximately 20,000 residents. Recreational and public purposes will utilize approximately 22 percent, or 428 acres, of the total project.
The list of amenities includes an 18-hole, 6,900 yard, par-72 municipal golf course designed by award-winning Gary Parks Associates of Scottsdale, Ariz. There will also be a 20-acre Nature Discovery Park, two traditional parks, linear parks, a natural arroyo and interconnecting trail system.
The Nature Discovery Park features a man-made lake and waterfalls in a tranquil, wooded setting with an archeological–themed play area. Also featured will be a group picnic area, an amphitheater, soccer fields, tennis courts and volleyball courts. Homeowners will enjoy a traditional park, a sports park and more than 24 miles of lighted concrete trails.
Naef noted that the homebuilders in the Primary Village of Aliante are rated among the top in all of Southern Nevada: KB Homes, Pulte Homes, D.R. Horton and Pardee Homes. “We are proud to have such an impressive group of builders involved in the construction of Aliante,” said Naef. “They are all leaders in the industry and are integral to our vision of developing Aliante into all it promises to be.”
Del Webb’s Sun City Aliante is designed for homeowners “55 and better”. The community offers a choice of single-story homes ranging from 1,155 to 2,105 square feet, priced from the mid-$140,000s to over $200,000. The Sun City recreation center will feature tennis courts, bocce courts, a swimming pool, a fitness center and a clubhouse with hobby rooms.
Parks and open space will be strong components of the Aliante community. North Valley Enterprises is building 45 acres of parks at a cost exceeding $7 million. Two elementary schools, a middle school and a fire station are planned, along with approximately 100 acres of commercial land to provide residents with the convenience of shopping, dining and professional services.
An information gallery with a coffee shop and indoor and outdoor seating is scheduled to open this spring.
The town of Pahrump recently approved a master plan for a new 1,047-acre community, which will eventually feature 3,200 residential units, a 400-room hotel-casino and an RV park. Plans also call for more than 100,000 square feet of retail development to serve the community’s residents. VPoint has been chosen to perform all the engineering services for the project, including water and other utility systems. The new community is rising out of the ashes of an earlier 2,700-acre project, which went into bankruptcy several years ago. The new community is being developed by the Mountain Falls Acquisition Corporation, representing Commercial Federal Bank, which financed the first development. Jeff Smith, Pahrump’s town manager, said Mountain Falls will give a much-needed boost to the town’s economy.
Summerlin Named New Community of The Year
Urban Land Institute (ULI), a non-profit education and research institute dedicated to real estate development, named Summerlin, located in western Las Vegas, the New Community of the Year in its 2002 Awards For Excellence competition. Projects were evaluated on the basis of financial viability, resourceful use of land, design, relevance to contemporary issues, and sensitivity to the community and to the environment.
“The Summerlin success story is one of the most compelling in the country,” said Wayne Ratkovich, chairman of the ULI Awards For Excellence jury. “Neighborhoods, recreational amenities, shopping centers, natural open areas, schools and other community facilities in Summerlin are layered and integrated to create a total living environment.” According to Dan Van Epp, president of The Howard Hughes Corporation, developer of Summerlin, the community has been the country’s best-selling master-planned community for nine of the past 10 years and is now home to more than 60,000 residents.
The project has produced revenues in excess of $500 million for The Howard Hughes Corporation, which has been an affiliate of The Rouse Company since 1996.
Since the community’s inception, the average price per acre in Summerlin has more than doubled. An acre that sold for $90,000 in 1990 sells for more than $225,000 today, with commercial acreage priced considerably higher. As a result of this success, Summerlin’s absorption, which was predicted to take 50 years, has been recalculated at under 25 years.