Let’s start with a very simple but cold premise: Sun City is not for everyone! For real; from the day the community first opened in 1960, the company behind the project (DEVCO) understood the vast majority of the population would have no interest in a community where everyone was a senior citizen. 50 and better when it first began and over the years it changed to 55.
Early projections by those trying to convince Del Webb to invest in the project told him flat-out the market of potential buyers who would be interested would be well below 10% of the senior population.. That’s a frightening number when you are creating something as expensive and unique as Sun City was. Building the amenities before a house was sold was bad enough, but then factoring in a small target niche market had to be terrifying.
Undaunted, they plowed ahead and the rest has become history (which you will see more of in the coming months). Carbon copies have sprung up around the United States over the years and the Pulte Corporation purchased the Webb company primarily because they wanted to use the name synonymous with age restricted developments. “Del Webb Sun City” is recognized as the name with the most skin in the game, as well it should be.
How things have changed in those past years. Today, senior developments are smaller and have less amenities. Builders don’t want to sit on them for 15 to 20 years. They will not dedicate valuable land to an infrastructure of churches, shopping centers and an abundance of golf courses and recreation centers they ultimately hand over to the community when built out. It just isn’t practical.
Consequently we see smaller lots, less need for organizations structured to be a part of the community and volunteerism plays a lessor role. It is a dynamic that usually is most noticeable once folks actually taste the lifestyle built into the way of life. Essentially you have to try it, experience the differences to understand why one is radically different from the other.
My point is this: There are those who have no interest in giving back to their community (at least in the way we need give back in Sun City) by donating 10 to 40 hours per month. More of the services in the newer settings are bought and paid for as part of the expense of living in them. They come wrapped in HOA or Rec fees. Nothing wrong with that, just different.
Here’s the bigger kicker for Sun City: We are quieter, cleaner and less expensive than almost anywhere else. That’s huge. Visitor’s often are stunned at first glimpse. All of the volunteer organizations tend to lend into the equation in ways that are nearly invisible. I say almost because unless you see the PRIDE out picking up the streets, you miss knowing why it’s so darn clean-looking. Our winter residents enjoy the POSSE checking their properties daily, and unless you are here in the dead heat of the summer, you would never see it. Awesome.
As good as all of that is, we are quiet. I know for some that’s a drawback. They need the hustle and bustle of downtown New York. They want the glitz and glamour of Los Angeles. There are virtually no “pickup” bars, the closest is a pizza/Italian eatery that has a small bar with an occasional performer; hardly where a heavy hitter would hang out.
The DEVCO folks had it spot on; Sun City isn’t for everyone. It wasn’t opening day and it still isn’t yet today. Between you and me, that’s just fine. I like clean; i like quiet and i love being able to give back to the community i have chosen to make my home. It’s a simple way to live, but then, i’m a simple kind of guy. Seems like the perfect fit eh?