Sure, a community center anchoring your amenity package is nearly an essential sales tool, but how many of them actually get used? At Starpointe at Estrella Ranch in Goodyear, Ariz., near Phoenix, the multipurpose Residents Club not only draws in prospects, but keeps them coming back once they buy—to the tune of about 160,000 individual visits a year. Serving as a community gathering place, the Residents Club offers a water park and lap pool, a fitness center, youth club and child watch areas, meeting and reception rooms, a quiet library, and even a café to complement the site's natural draw of walking and biking trails for about 9,000 residents in 3,200 homes to date.
Looking to replace inadequate facilities built when the project launched in the late 1980s, the project's latest developer surveyed residents and toured other clublike facilities across the country to refine the plan for Starpointe. “Most buildings aren't getting used like this one,” says Wayne Hancock, senior vice president of operations for Newland Communities, the San Diego–based developer, crediting a smart design and a high level of finishes that fosters a lot of energy. “I had one resident tell me that when he comes down here, he feels like a millionaire.”
The club also is located next to the sales center, enabling prospective buyers to take guided tours. For the time being, it is the project's first impression as Estrella Ranch moves toward a build-out of about 50,000 homes. “It's the last 10 percent of your budget that takes it from plan to wow,” says Hancock. “If you don't have the pop, all the money you've spent is wasted.”
CAMPAIGN DETAILS Program: Residents Club, Starpointe at Estrella Ranch, Goodyear, Ariz.; Developer: Newland Communities, San Diego; Cost: $9 million