Valley communities put amenities first

BY Christina Fuoco-Karasinski

Homes in the Valley for baby boomers and beyond are taking on a new feel.

Lennar and LivGenerations are among those offering innovative choices in their communities. Lennar recently broke ground in Surprise at Heritage Encore and Buckeye’s Arroyo Seco, both of which are multigenerational NextGen home developments, complete with RV garages.

“We are unaware of anywhere else in the country where this home style is being built,” says Alan Jones, Lennar division president.

NextGen models are, essentially, homes within a home, giving residents the balance of family privacy and togetherness under one roof. NextGen units can serve as fully functioning home offices, a state-of-the-art gym, a home for aging relatives or even a classroom that keeps kids engaged and learning.

“With the realities of homeschooling, working from home and having grandparents living in the family residence now, coupled with the explosion in popularity of RVs, this project was definitely accelerated due to what’s happening in the world today,” says Jones, whose company created the first NextGen home in the Phoenix market in 2012.

Jones explains he and his team discussed how to combine the next generation of homes with an RV “home.”

“We thought we would have something that’s really unique,” he adds. “Our new home consultants are excited about it. We have one under construction as a model in Buckeye. It’s right by Verrado. It’s kind of fun and exciting for us.

“We look at it and realize it’s a combination of two really unique, new products. It took us a little bit to figure out how to make it all work without having the home be extremely large. It came out really well.”

Jones says NextGen models have been popular in the last two years. Lennar sold more NextGen homes in 2020 than in any other year since the model was conceived. Nearly 500 NextGen homes were sold this year in the Phoenix market, accounting for more than 25% of all Lennar home sales.

The RV garage homes are expected to follow suit, Jones adds. Those on his sales team say they could “sell one every day.”

“That’s quite a vote of confidence,” he adds. “It’s exciting when you find something that’s innovative, and it’s coming about as a result of the pandemic, frankly.

“That’s what expedited the whole situation.”

Initially, officials in a variety of cities questioned Lennar’s plans of having a separate living space with a full kitchen.

“When we first started, the cities were resistant to it,” Jones says. “It was new and different. Now the cities look at it and say, ‘Oh, my gosh. We love this. You’re building homes for the way people are living.’”

Jones is equally as excited about the Surprise active adult community that has RV garages as well.

“The people who live in Sun City, Sun City West or Sun City Grand are going to be interested in them,” Jones says. “We’re seeing a lot of people in Sun City Grand and Sun City West coming over and going, ‘Oh, my gosh, I’m going to buy this and help my son or daughter so that I can live in the NextGen suite and they can live in the home.’”

LivGenerations Mayo Blvd.

Due to open in November, the resort-style senior living community LivGenerations Mayo Blvd. will be rich with amenities.

The fourth LivGenerations-owned community will boast choices for independent living, assisted living, memory care and respite care.

“It’ll offer casitas for older adults who are independent. There are 26 of them,” says Scott McCutcheon, LivGenerations chief operating officer.

“We’ll have 30 memory care apartments, and the remainder of the build is going to be other assisted living and independent apartments.”

McCutcheon says the Mayo Blvd. community will have a pool, a hot tub and whirlpool, a salon, a fitness room, a physician’s clinic, mosaic art studio and a dog park.

“We’re a pet-friendly community,” he says. “They can bring their dog along. There are a lot of outdoor spaces. We’re really close to the shopping centers there on Mayo Boulevard. We’re walking distance to restaurants, shops and grocery stores.”

The Crave, Forno Mangia and a bar will be available for drinking and dining. The second floor Behind the Eight Ball game room will have billiards, another wine bar and a sun deck.

“It’s a big space for residents to hang out and socialize, to interact with one another and have a drink,” McCutcheon says.

He says North Phoenix was a logical choice for the new LivGenerations community. It’s near the Mayo Clinic, so older adults can access the best in hospital and physician care, McCutcheon notes.

LivGenerations locations are known for their innovative programming. In November, the Ahwatukee community hosted a drive-thru Valentine’s Day “Viva Las Vegas Vow Renewal” with a lasagna dinner for two to take home.

Meanwhile, LivGenerations Pinnacle Peak held the second annual Go Red for Women drive-thru event. Residents were encouraged to dress their cars in red for a chance to win the best-dressed prize. Participants received heart-healthy baskets, and all donations supported the American Heart Association.

“We’ve had to get more creative with them with the COVID-19 pandemic,” McCutcheon says. “We usually try to post a minimum of one event per month that allowed residents to bring guests or family. That’s been put on hold because of the pandemic.

“We hope to have group activities again. We do miss hosting those big events.”