Summerlin exec sees yard-free lifestyle

Tom Warden, senior vice president of community and government relations for Summerlin, led a discussion about the master-planned community at the Institute of Real Estate Management Las Vegas’ monthly luncheon on Feb. 11.

Construction began at the end of December for Downtown Summerlin’s first residential development, The Constellation.

The 124-unit, gated luxury rental residence complex is a joint venture of The Howard Hughes Corp. and The Calida Group. The multifamily community is expected to be complete in one year with the first residents moving in during the fourth quarter of 2015.

Business Press asked Warden about the project and why now is the right time to break ground.

BP: What goes into planning Downtown Summerlin’s first residential complex?

TW: All planning in Summerlin goes through an intense process that first looks at its impact on infrastructure. This includes road systems, sewer, water, storm drainage, power and much more. Beyond those basics, the planners look at the ‘why’ of the development. Is this project serving a need for a particular type of housing, or a specific commercial niche? Along those lines, the first residential project in Downtown Summerlin will be a luxury multi-unit complex.

BP: What are the complete plans for residences at Downtown Summerlin?

TW: Eventually we may see as many as 4,000 urban residential homes in Downtown Summerlin and none of them will be single-family detached. We may have urban townhomes, modern brownstone neighborhoods, mid-rise and even high-rise for-sale condo projects … all arrayed in a pedestrian-friendly, new-urbanist environment.

The development of Downtown Summerlin will be a long-term evolution. What we build will meet the demands of the market, when the time is right.

You can expect to see this project develop over the next 10 to 15 years. High-density new urban communities are better for the environment because they are much more sustainable. That said, when people no longer have backyards or front yards for that matter, we take pains to build more open space into the community. It’s fair to say, when Downtown Summerlin is complete, there will be a great deal of activated, urban park space.

BP: Why is now the right time to build the next phase of Downtown Summerlin?

TW: This area of Summerlin has been designated the commercial core of the community since the very first master plan for Summerlin was created. Summerlin is already home to 100,000 residents, almost all of whom live in single-family detached suburban homes.

We believe that the type of urban lifestyle we will offer in Downtown Summerlin will resonate with a broad range of residents, from millennials to baby boomers. Now that Downtown Summerlin is actually starting to unfold, we’re even more excited about the future of this crown jewel of the Summerlin community.

BP: What are the benefits of living in that area?

TW: New urban environments like Downtown Summerlin provide most if not all of the needs people regularly drive to now. At Downtown Summerlin, neighborhood services will be within easy walking distance of your home, from urban grocery stores and bakeries to dry cleaners, dining options, entertainment and shopping of all kinds. This environment will allow residents to spend more time lacing up their walking shoes instead of putting gas into their cars.

BP: Once the Constellation is complete, what’s next for Downtown Summerlin?

TW: The development of Downtown Summerlin is a constant work in progress so even as construction of The Constellation progresses, we will likely work toward the development of for-sale modern urban residences, offering a broad range of product types including high-end multi-unit luxury homes.

Development will also likely include business-commercial development such as Class A office buildings, which will complement the high-density residential environment, providing a truly walkable live/work and play urban center.

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