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Top Retirement Community Developers

Author: Michael Jackson

In recent years, the popularity of active adult living communities has grown. Many builders have begun specifically developing communities restricted to those of retirement age who are still seeking to be active. Each of the top retirement community developers has a unique strategy and style for the communities they build. These top retirement community developers include Del Webb, Robson Communities, K. Hovnanian Homes, Shea Homes and The Villages.

Del Webb

Delbert Eugene "Del" Webb was a co-owner of the New York Yankees and a wealthy businessman by 1960. In the same year, his company entered a brand-new market. Del Webb opened the United States' first resort-style community for active adults, Sun City, in Arizona. In the decades following this first community, Del Webb has gone on to become one of the most well-known developers for age-restricted communities.

Del Webb is noted for its low-maintenance homes and for the clubhouses it builds within its communities, which feature many amenities for residents. In 2001, a merger between Del Webb and Pulte Homes served to bolster the former's success. As of 2015, Del Webb has developed more than 50 retirement communities in 20 states across the U.S.

Robson Communities

Edward Robson began working in the real estate business when he joined the team at the Del Webb Corporation in 1960, after first working for Coldwell Banker. In 1972, Robson began developing his own active adult community in Arizona, called Sun Lakes. The success of Sun Lakes led Robson Communities to develop another five communities in Arizona. Most recently, Robson's company expanded its efforts, developing a new community called Robson Ranch in Texas. The focus of Robson's developments is a lifestyle and atmosphere relative to a country club. Robson Communities' last report estimated over 30,000 individuals reside in its communities.

K. Hovnanian Homes

Kevork Hovnanian started his company in 1959. K. Hovnanian Homes is known for the development of well-built and low-maintenance homes that range in style from more affordable condominiums to luxury-type single-family estates. The company has a line of active adult communities, Four Seasons, that provides older adults with the same kinds of amenities that can be found in resort settings.

K. Hovnanian Homes was among the first developers to provide the East Coast with communities for the active and elderly population. Four Seasons communities are currently located in eight states, many of which are along the East Coast, including Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, North Carolina and Virginia. Four Seasons communities can also be found in California and Minnesota.

Shea Homes

Shea Homes was established in the 1960s. However, for more than 125 years, its parent company, J.F. Shea Company, Inc. has been a family-owned operation. Shea Homes saw the need to provide older adults with a lifestyle package with each home it built, so it created two specific lines: active lifestyle communities and trilogy communities. These communities offer high-end amenities and feature large clubhouses. Shea Homes is also known for environmentally friendly features in its Shea Green Certified Homes. Shea Homes began developing active adult communities in the late 1990s and has expanded, with communities now located in Arizona, Florida, Nevada, Washington and California.

The Villages

The Villages was first conceptualized in the 1960s. Harold Schwartz and Al Tarrson planned to sell tracts of land, later developing a mobile home park. The Villages, as an active adult community, took shape in the early 1980s. Schwartz brought in his son, Gary Moses, to work on the Villages project after he bought out his partner. The project turned into a retirement community with all of the major amenities that resorts offer. By doing this, Moses expanded the original plans, eventually making The Villages the largest retirement community in the U.S. The Villages is now a community with more than 70,000 residences ranging from $300,000 into the millions of dollars.

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