WHEN YOU BUY A LEXUS, EVERYTHING YOU could possibly want is included as standard equipment. “Besides picking the color, all the bells and whistles are already there,” says R. Wayne Wermuth.
Wermuth isn't in the car business. He's senior sales manager for Del Webb (a division of Pulte Homes), which took a leaf from the Lexus manual in creating Solera at Anthem, a 385-acre, age-restricted, master planned community in Henderson, Nev., in the southwest part of the Las Vegas valley. Corian countertops, ceiling fans, and two-tone custom paint come standard in the five, single-story floor plans.
Having the works automatically included greatly simplifies the buying process, Wermuth says. “Unless a buyer really needs to upgrade the flooring, there's no need to.”
It's good for the builder, too. “From a production builder's viewpoint, you don't necessarily make much on options, so the way we're doing it helps in our efficiencies and our margins. We can offer great value to the buyer, but it also helps our bottom line,” says Wermuth. Since Solera opened in spring 2003, it has sold 393 homes. Some 1,750 single-family homes are planned, as are 224 mid-density condos that will go on sale in 2005.
The community is a departure for Del Webb, Wermuth says. It offers retirees a quality lifestyle, but the community is not wrapped around a golf course. (There are two about a mile away.) A planned 24,000-square-foot recreation center will house a year-round swimming pool, fitness center, club and hobby rooms, billiard tables, and computer niches.
Solera also has a big brother, of sorts. Del Webb has built a much larger active-adult community at Anthem called Sun City. “ What Solera showed us was that we could put two active-adult communities virtually next door to each other with completely B'fast nook different concepts and have them both be successful,” says Allison Copening, director of public affairs for Pulte/Del Webb in Las Vegas.
But being successful also means acting quickly in this fast-growing market. “Eighteen months ago you could buy raw dirt for $90,000 to $110,000 an acre,” Wermuth says. “It's now $300,000 to $400,000 an acre.” In Vegas, you can't afford to gamble on what might work.
Market: Las Vegas; Project: Solera at Anthem, Henderson, Nev.; Sales started: March 2003; Sales through March 2004: 393; Total units planned: 1,870; Unit size: 1,140 to 1,771 square feet; Price: $292,000 to $391,000; Developer/Builder: Del Webb (a division of Pulte Homes), Las Vegas; Architect: Dahlin Group, San Ramon, Calif.; Landscape architect: Greey/Pickett, Phoenix; Interior designer: Savannah Design Group, Escondito, Calif.
Learn more about markets featured in this article: Las Vegas, NV.