Meet America’s Top Active Adult Builders

by Danny Goodman on February 6, 2012

sDasdgfsdf

Del Webb creates resort-style active adult communities popular for their vibrant social lifestyle and world-class amenities.

With the growing popularity of active adult living, many builders have begun developing age-restricted communities. Yet when homebuyers start their search, they are likely to notice that there are a few builders whose names come up again and again. Two of these top brands are public, three are family owned and, while they each have their own take on active adult living, they all have been successful homebuilders for several decades.

Del Webb

By 1960, Del Webb was already a successful businessman and part owner of the New York Yankees. However, that year saw his company branch into a then-untapped market as he opened Sun City, the country’s first resort-style active adult community. In the decades since this early success, the Del Webb brand has become the most recognizable name in age-restricted communities. From sprawling extra-large communities to intimate neighborhoods, Del Webb developments feature low-maintenance homes and amenity-rich clubhouses. A merger with Pulte Homes in 2001 has only made Del Webb more successful. Today, there are more than 50 Del Webb active adult communities located in 20 different states.

Robson Communities

Ed Robson got his start in real estate in 1960 when he worked first for Coldwell Banker and then for the Del Webb Corporation. By 1972, he was ready to begin the development of his own active adult community, Sun Lakes in Phoenix, Arizona. Sun Lakes was so successful, that Robson Communities went on to develop five more communities in Arizona and have recently expanded outside of the state with Robson Ranch Texas. Robson’s developments are designed to provide active adults with the best in country club living. The company estimates that there are now over 32,000 people living in Robson communities and enjoying all the amenities these developments have to offer.

K. Hovnanian Homes

Since Kevork S. Hovnanian began his company in 1959, K. Hovnanian Homes has prided itself on building quality homes ranging from affordable condos to luxurious single-family estates. With its line of Four Seasons active adult communities, the company offers older adults a whole lifestyle including resort-style amenities and varied social opportunities. K. Hovnanian was one of the first homebuilders to bring active adult communities to the East Coast. Today, Four Seasons communities can be found in eight states: California, Delaware, Florida, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina and Virginia.

Shea Homes

lkjasdfasdf

Shea Homes is known for their luxurious community designs and resort-style amenities such as those found at Trilogy in La Quinta, California.

Shea Homes may have gotten its start in the 1960s, but its parent company, the J.F. Shea Company, has been a family-owned enterprise for more than 125 years. (It was involved in historic projects like the Golden Gate Bridge and the Hoover Dam.) To meet the needs of older adults, Shea Homes has its own line of Active Lifestyle Communities and Trilogy Communities which are designed to offer a complete lifestyle package. In addition to offering high-end resort-style amenities, the developer is known for the environmentally-friendly features of its Shea Green Certified Homes. Since branching into active adult communities in the late 1990s, Shea Homes now offers age-restricted developments in Florida, Arizona, Nevada, California and Washington.

The Villages

Though centralized in just one massive development, The Villages has made a name for itself among active adult communities. The Villages’ history goes back to the 1960s when Harold Schwarz and Al Tarrson planned to sell tracts of land, then later developed a mobile home park. Yet it was in the early 1980s, when The Villages truly began to take shape. At that time, Schwartz bought out his partner and brought in his son, Gary Moses. By turning the project into an amenity-rich active adult community, Moses was able to greatly expand The Villages until it has become the country’s single largest retirement community. Construction is expected to be complete in 2014 with an estimated total of over 75,000 residences.

When choosing an active adult lifestyle, homebuyers are opting to buy into a community as much as they are selecting a home. Just as tech-minded folks can have friendly debates about whether it’s best to be a “Mac” or a “PC,” many residents are proud to be part of one of these well-known lines of active adult communities.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Bill Pearson February 7, 2012 at 10:48 am

I think this kind of tutorial is really helpful for people to get a better handle on options for new developements and active builders. The history of how it all began has been pretty well documented by Judith Ann Trolander and her book From Sun City to the Villages (http://www.amazon.com/Sun-Cities-Villages-Age-Restricted-Communities/dp/0813036046).

I do have a question regarding this summary Bill: Ross Cortese was the founder of Leisure World in the 60’s and was very instrumental in the growth of active adult communities. Has the family (Ross died in 1991) gotten out of the business and are they no longer building?

Reply

Barbara September 17, 2013 at 6:41 pm

Leisure World belongs to Mr. Cortese’s daughter…but the communities are run by the Golden Rain Foundation.

Reply

June February 8, 2012 at 4:53 pm

I would be interested in eco friendly builders, no smoking communities, healthy places, homes with enough space between neighbors, nobody above or below, cottage style homes, a small home in my case. Are there such builders or communities? Currently I am in Southern California and would move to another state, especially a place where there is plenty of rain and cooler weather, but there has to be a Kaiser Permanente facility fairly close. Any suggestions? Yes, I love the rain.

Reply

Donald February 15, 2012 at 11:09 pm

I would also be interested in any communities that offer a little more space between neighbors. The communities that I have visited see very closely packed.

Reply

Morris Dalkoff/Agent/Shelter Realty Group, Inc June 26, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Where can I find a directory of America’s 100 Adult Builders?

Reply

Danny Goodman June 26, 2012 at 4:43 pm

Hi Morris, thanks for your question. Not sure there are 100 builders currently operating who build Active Adult communities. And if there are, I don’t know of a directory. That’s why we created 55places.com. Builders may come and go, but the communities they develop will be here for generations. We wanted to give people an easy way to research 55+ communities by location. Thanks for visiting!

Reply

Rob November 12, 2013 at 2:52 pm

Epcon Communities has been building communities all across the country specifically for active adults for two decades. I’m curious why they are not on your list?

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post: Stunning Arizona Vistas and Spectacular Amenities at Sun City Vistoso

Next post: Celebrate Virginia – Prestigious 55+ Living Near Washington D.C.


©2007-2014 55Places.com