AThe Superstitions are a place where time has refused to adhere to man’s rules, and seems to do its own thing, at times almost in defiance of man.” — The Wolf Lodge Foundation. t the base of the legendary Superstition Mountain range, turned a fiery bronze by the desert sun, Tommy and Marie Thompson have reopened the doors to an agerestricted community, Dolce Vita, that caters to both the adventuresome and homebodies.
But regardless of your lifestyle, the call of the Superstitions is strong, the legends endless and the landscape alluring.
Views from Dolce Vita into the mystery-shrouded Arizona mountains recall the greatest legend of them all — that of Jacob Walz, a German prospector who apparently found the motherlode.
When he died, the secret of the location of The Lost Dutchman’s Mine went with him, so the story goes.
It’s the focus of conversation every once in a while of those gathered in the master-planned community’s
In an earlier life, Dolce Vita (Italian for “sweet life”) was called Superstition Springs. But when the Thompsons bought it just a few years ago, a major reconstruction and expansion was undertaken.
With a goal to construct a total of 720 homes, the 55-plus community near
Apache Junction, Ariz., now has 320 completed homes. There are also resale and rental home opportunities within the complex.
“When completion will be is dependent on the economy,” says Lori Tuter, executive director of sales and marketing for Dolce Vita. “But we are seeing an increase in buyer interest.”
The Phoenix area’s real estate market has been battered pretty badly by the economic downturn, global recession, and lack of buyer interest in recreation and resort properties.
“As a market, we’re now adjusting from being overly aggressive to seeing some stabilization,” says Tuter. “Prices are off 10 to 15 per cent.”
At Dolce Vita, home prices run from $94,900 to $195,900 on lots that lease for $395 to $530 per month.
While Tutor says there is a good blend of buyers from all walks of life and areas of the United States and Canada, one of the strong points with Dolce Vita is that about 75 per cent of residents live there yearround.
“That’s good because unlike a lot of other communities, this doesn’t become a ghost town in the summer,” she says. “There are always people around and things to do.”
The growing attraction of Dolce Vita has much to do with the elegance of the property and the amenities it has to offer.
Tuter says there is an Old World appeal because of the Tuscan design, the wellappointed clubhouse and the fact there are eight manufactured home styles to choose from — along with an abundance of activities in a three-hectare activity area — to keep residents busy and happy.
The clubhouse, for instance, has a library with a computer centre, and eight billiard tables in the games room that provide great views of the Superstitions. There are also fitness facilities, a crafts room, card rooms, a movie theatre, a fully-equipped kitchen and a 6,200-square-foot ballroom for concerts and parties.
Outdoor activities include aquarobic classes and a 3,000-square-foot heated pool, along with two spas, a tennis court, bocce and horseshoe pits, shuffleboard, a putting green and an amphitheatre.
There is also a full-time activities director.
Because it is an age-restricted, gated community, at least one resident in each home must be 55 or older and nobody under the age of 40 may reside in the homes.
“Of course, though, kids and grandchildren are always welcome to visit,” says Tuter. One small pet is also allowed.
When asked about residents leasing their land instead of owning it, Tuter says it is in lieu of paying homeowner association dues, monthly management charges or membership fees.
“The space lease pays for all of the community amenities, including the clubhouse and all its facilities,” she says.
Homeowners do have to pay property taxes and utilities.
Dolce Vita has recently been recognized by a national American magazine for everything it has to offer.
For the third time in four years, the Thompson development has been named to the top 100 masterplanned communities in the United States.
“With several hundred entries received each year, Dolce Vita takes home the impressive distinction of being among the top communities in the nation that showcase a unique collection of amenities and activities for its residents,” says Where to Retire magazine.
The final selection is based on criteria such as cost, location and range of lifestyle conveniences.
“We are so thrilled to be recognized with this extraordinary honour, particularly coming from as notable a magazine as Where to Retire,” says Tuter. “Dolce Vita strives to give its residents an affordable and luxurious place to call home, and to be nationally recognized for that is just icing on the cake.”
Dolce Vita has been recognized for its distinctive qualities.
With quaint, quiet streets, a contemporary fitness centre with state-of-the-art cardio and circuit-training equipment, and a Mediterranean-inspired clubhouse, Dolce Vita offers a number of different amenities to fit every lifestyle.
There are also monthly activities planned to keep the community social and active, says the magazine. Then there is the mystique.
“Best know who you are and have a keep respect for the desert, and if you do not believe in paranormal experiences before you play here, you will after you leave. The Apaches call it the Devil’s Playground” — The Wolf Lodge Foundation.
The Dolce Vita development in Arizona includes this 33,000 square foot clubhouse, with the Superstition Mountains in the background.
Buyers at the Dolce Vita development in Arizona can relax in these outdoor pools and spas.