Desert re­sort has af­ford­able lux­ury

Cana­di­ans own half of homes in Ari­zona project

Calgary Herald - Calgary Herald New Condos - - Recreation & Investment Properties -

En­can­terra, a lux­u­ri­ous re­sort­style com­mu­nity in the south­east val­ley of Phoenix, has been en­chant­ing Cana­dian sec­ond-home buy­ers since it opened in 2007.

It’s not only the stronger Cana­dian dol­lar, the warmer win­ters, or the low­est hous­ing prices in 10 years that are clinch­ing the deal.

What Cana­di­ans are find­ing so ir­re­sistible is how af­ford­able it is to be­long to a pri­vate coun­try club.

This ar­chi­tec­turally de­signed coun­try club is part of the Tril­ogy by Shea Homes Ac­tive Life­style Com­mu­ni­ties.

It’s the com­pany’s first ven­ture into ex­clu­sive coun­try club liv­ing and, since it opened three years ago, Cana­di­ans have snapped up more than 50 per cent of the homes.

“Peo­ple are sur­prised at how af­ford­able it can be to live in a coun­try club like En­can­terra, which ri­vals some of the high­est five-star re­sorts in the coun­try,” says Mike Fra­ley, gen­eral man­ager of Shea Homes Inc.

“Cana­di­ans are re­ally at­tracted to the coun­try club life­style.”

He says prices have dropped from their peak in 2006 and are back to where they were 10 years ago.

“Al­though prices have been flat since May of this year, we are start­ing to see prices pick up in the new home seg­ment and re­sale homes that are not fore­clo­sures.”

In 2008, two years be­fore Cana­di­ans re­placed Cal­i­for­ni­ans as the biggest out-of-state-home buy­ers in Ari­zona, Fra­ley says they raised a 3.5-by-5.5me­tre Cana­dian flag, along­side the U.S. and Ari­zona flags at the en­trance gate. Any­thing to make their many Cana­dian mem­bers feel at home.

The ma­jor­ity come from Al­berta and B.C., while 15 per cent are east­ern Cana­di­ans who pre­fer Ari­zona’s hur­ri­cane­free weather and lower taxes than in Florida, he says.

En­can­terra is a 298-hectare gated res­i­den­tial com­mu­nity about a 45-minute drive south of the down­town Phoenix air­port in the San Tan Val­ley (for­merly Queen Creek).

It’s nes­tled on flat farm­land be­tween the Su­per­sti­tion Moun­tains to the north­east and the San Tan moun­tain range to the west.

Un­like the more desert-like to­pog­ra­phy of Phoenix, this agri­cul­tural area sur­rounds the com­mu­nity with fields of al­falfa, cot­ton and corn, and trees bear­ing peaches and olives.

The pri­vate non-eq­uity coun­try club is open to all ages, al­though at the request of mem­bers, Fra­ley says they will in­tro­duce a sec­tion of homes in early 2011 that are adult-only.

As of De­cem­ber 2010, 250 homes have been sold.

By 2020, at full build-out, the com­mu­nity will in­clude 2,470 lux­ury homes.

They will start from $170,990 for 1,314 square feet with two bed­rooms, two baths and a two-car garage, to $396,490 for the ul­tra-en­ergy-ef­fi­cient, 3,764 square foot, two-storey with three bed­rooms, 3.5 baths, mas­ter re­treat and three-car tan­dem garage.

Com­ple­tion time for a typ­i­cal 1,400 square foot home is 60 days, in­clud­ing land­scap­ing.

Tril­ogy’s ac­tive life­style com­mu­ni­ties re­volve around well­ness, ex­plo­ration, con­tin­ued learn­ing and so­cial con­nec­tions. At En­can­terra, the heart of the com­mu­nity is the 60,000 square foot, Mediter­ranean-style club­house.

Opened in Fe­bru­ary 2010, La Casa in­cludes 45,000 square feet of in­side air-con­di­tioned space and 15,000 square foot cov­ered out­side ar­eas, which ac­tu­ally is di­vided into 10 sep­a­rate seat­ing ar­eas.

De­signed by award-win­ning ar­chi­tect Bing Hu, La Casa is an el­e­gant blend of old-world style and new-world technology, fea­tur­ing Span­ish roof tiles and warm Tus­can colours, soar­ing ceil­ings and stone arches, and hand-painted floor tiles from Turkey.

There are four restau­rants, a pri­vate din­ing room for mem­bers, a busi­ness cen­tre, concierge ser­vices, a day spa, a 1,700-bot­tle wine stor­age and tast­ing room, and a demo cook­ing kitchen for Satur­day classes with the chef.

The 18,000 square foot ath­letic club of­fers car­dio and strength train­ing, a stu­dio room for yoga and Pi­lates, and a heated indoor ex­er­cise pool with tread­mills in the wa­ter.

There’s a cir­cuit train­ing room in the women’s locker-room, and the men’s locker-room has a bar­ber shop, sep­a­rate lounge area, and pool and card ta­bles.

The out­side ameni­ties, which over­look the golf course and Su­per­sti­tion Moun­tains, were com­pleted in May 2009. They in­clude a 25-me­tre ju­nior Olympic lap pool, an out­door beach-en­try pool and Jacuzzi, an out­door movie screen, lighted ten­nis courts, a beach volleyball court, a fit­ness lawn and an am­phithe­atre.

Above, prices at En­can­terra have dropped to where they were a decade ago. Be­low, a res­i­dent en­joys a game of golf.

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