SEVERAL BUILDERS CONSIDERED THE 50-ACRE tract on the west side of Albuquerque and passed. The location was superb, but the site had so many challenges—high-voltage power lines, steep topography, cranky neighbors, and a rezoning battle—that no one could figure out how to make it profitable. Vantage Homes and its parent company, Raylee Homes, figured it out with the community of Eagle Ridge.

First, the builders re-engineered the power lines and put them on tall metal monopoles. That reduced the electric and magnetic fields and cut the right of way from 250 feet to 70 feet without compromising the mountain views

Then, engineers carved out 175 lots, 100 of which have stunning views. But by giving their buyers such a vista, the builders couldn't avoid blocking someone else's.

“By meeting with [the existing homeowners] and discussing their concerns in a sensitive manner, we got their support before we went to zoning,” says Vince Pizzonia, co-president of Vantage Homes and Raylee Homes.

Eagle Ridge has two product lines—Vantage Homes' smaller, affordable houses, geared toward young, first-time buyers, and Raylee Homes' larger, higher-end houses for older, move-up buyers. Both lines feature strong Southwestern architecture.

Marketing for Eagle Ridge used the pioneer theme “The Great Land Rush of '03,” the year the project opened. The first in a series of postcards encouraged prospective buyers to “stake their claim.” The postcards went primarily to renters in nearby apartment complexes, showing them that for not much more than they were paying in rent, they could own a brand-new home. The campaign generated 150 qualified leads.

One marketing challenge was facing potential objections to the lot premium for the best views. A common practice in many markets, lot premiums were new to Albuquerque.

“People [Realtors] thought we didn't have a clue,” Pizzonia says, “but those were some of the first lots that sold.”

Market: Albuquerque, N.M.

Project: Eagle Ridge, Albuquerque

Date sales started: June 2003

Sales through February 2005: 146

Total units planned: 175

Unit size: 1,101 to 2,965 square feet

Price range: $119,990 to $210,490

Builders: Vantage Homes and Raylee Homes, Rio Rancho, N.M.

Developer: Sapphire, Rio Rancho

Designer: Your CAD Drafting, Albuquerque

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Albuquerque, NM.