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Summerlin developer launching new community outside Phoenix

Updated October 19, 2021 - 12:26 pm

Summerlin developer Howard Hughes Corp. is launching an even bigger community in the Phoenix area, as it sets out to build another medium-sized city in the desert.

Hughes Corp. announced plans Tuesday to develop Douglas Ranch, a nearly 37,000-acre master-planned community west of Phoenix. It is slated to feature 100,000 homes, more than 300,000 residents and 55 million square feet of commercial development, according to a news release.

The Texas-based developer said in a securities filing that it acquired the land mass for around $600 million.

Hughes Corp. CEO David O’Reilly said on a conference call that Douglas Ranch will be the company’s largest master-planned community and indicated the purchase was an “all-cash transaction.”

He also said that acquiring a community “of this magnitude is a rare opportunity” and described Douglas Ranch’s full build-out as a “50-plus year development pipeline.”

Residential lot sales are expected to start in the first half of next year, with the first “village,” the 3,000-acre Trillium, located in Buckeye, Arizona, the developer announced.

Douglas Ranch would be significantly larger than Summerlin, which spans 22,500 acres along the Las Vegas Valley’s western rim and commands some of the highest home and land prices in Southern Nevada.

Hughes Corp. sells land to homebuilders in Summerlin and has developed hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of projects in its commercial core off Sahara Avenue and the 215 Beltway, including the 106-acre Downtown Summerlin open-air mall and the 10,000-fan-capacity Las Vegas Ballpark.

Las Vegas’ largest master-planned community, Summerlin boasted around 116,000 residents at the end of last year and still has plenty of room to grow.

By the end of 2020, it had 2,864 acres of residential land and 831 acres of commercial land that could still be purchased, and a projected sell-out date of 2039, according to a securities filing.

Hughes Corp. said it acquired the Douglas Ranch site from real estate firm JDM Partners, whose founders include longtime Phoenix sports executive and Basketball Hall of Famer Jerry Colangelo, and developer El Dorado Holdings.

Both firms will remain partners with Hughes Corp. on Trillium, the first phase of the new community.

They also have an option that expires in six months to reacquire 50 percent of Douglas Ranch, excluding Trillium, for $271 million, Hughes Corp. reported.

JDM says on its website that it purchased the then-33,800-acre Douglas Ranch in 2002 and added the 3,000-acre Trillium property in 2007, and that it owned the land with El Dorado.

Contact Eli Segall at esegall@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0342. Follow @eli_segall on Twitter.

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