However, the Golf Club Scottsdale — which has spectacular views from its 18 holes that are not hindered by housing on the course — borders the project.
Homebuyers in Sierra Reserve have the opportunity to buy club memberships in the golf course, which was designed by architects Jay Morrish and Dick Bailey.
“I love the natural Sonoran desert and this project is right next door to acres of open space,” says Anderson. “It is a very unique piece of property because it is surrounded by open space on three sides.”
Sierra Reserve is also Anderson’s smallest project. The man known for his development of North Scottsdale’s nearby Desert Mountain (3,200 hectares, with six Nicklaus golf courses), and Desert Highlands (344 hectares, with one golf course) is now building on slightly more than 90 hectares.
There will be 250 custom homes, which will be offered as 19 different single-storey floor plans ranging from 3,000 to 6,000 square feet.
Anderson says he already has expressions of interest for some of the lots and contracts will be signed starting in September. A sales/design centre is on the site.
Six architectural styles will be available, from Mediterranean and Southwest to Arizona modern (including a flat roof with the option of a roof garden).
From start to finish, each home is expected to be completed in between eight to 10 months. The homes include three-car garages, while swimming pools are optional in each design plan.
Lots will range from 0.12 to 0.2 hectares, with prices from $1.5 million to $2.5 million US.
Anderson fully expects that 20 per cent of the market for the homes will be an international one, with the majority of buyers from Canada.
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“Canadians have been interested in Arizona for a long time and it is a natural thing to come in the winter,” he says. “They like Arizona and they particularly like Scottsdale.”
Beyond liking Arizona sunshine, Canadian buyers tend to be active, outdoor people who like golf and have plenty of friends already in the desert area.
Anderson says his custom home project will take the worry of building away from the foreign market because everything will be handled by his team.
He will also be constructing a 75-room boutique resort hotel, including villas, that will be available for purchase and inclusion in a rental pool.
After being out of the development market since 2008 — when Anderson’s longtime lender, the Bank of Scotland, took control of four of his projects after running into financial difficulties — he is definitely back, adding the timing is right.
“In Scottsdale, I have developed more than 10,000 acres (4,000 hectares),” he says.
“I feel I know the market and the lack of land and inventory of new product — well, there are no more properties like this and I feel there will be high demand.”
The developer has done his consumer research on what the generally empty-nester homebuyer in this new market wants.
The research, Anderson says, shows they generally want onelevel homes with a strong indoor/outdoor relationship complete with courtyards and patios.
They also want an easy, open floor plan, large master bedrooms with equally large closets, a great room/kitchen combination and generally large rooms throughout.
Sierra Reserve will be centred around The Villa, a 15,000-square-foot community gathering place for all residents.
It will include five buildings with connecting patios, covered walkways and water features that Anderson says will be “an extension of people’s homes.”
There will also be tennis courts, pools, exercise facilities, social facilities for private parties and a cantina that will be open during the day.
There will also be a dog park and a children’s play area.
Again, this opportunity to bring people together at a social centre is a result of Anderson’s research.
“People used to think they wanted their privacy and had to be off on two acres (0.8 hectares) by themselves. They found that they missed people,” he says. Sierra Reserve will give homeowners their privacy when they want it, but bring them together at the Villa.
Even with a five- to six-year time frame for completion, the 70-year-old Anderson says this project is unlikely to be his last. “I may do some more; maybe with Nicklaus.”
The desert drew the Seattle native almost 40 years ago, the last 30 of which he has spent developing his communities, primarily in Arizona.
“The first time I was here, I walked the desert and I was drawn to the cactus, the plant life,” says Anderson. “It is a botanical wonderland.”
Hectares of wonderland, in the Sonoran desert, is what Anderson is betting will draw buyers into Sierra Reserve.