U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Retirement
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 02-03-2018, 11:12 AM
 
20 posts, read 15,962 times
Reputation: 75

Advertisements

First of all, I think GeneR did an amazing job breaking down his visit and describing the places he looked at and his thoughts about each, but that was some time ago. Think it's time for an updated take on that kind of search.

Our search was limited to pretty much the west valley, and we focused on Sun City Festival (Buckeye), PebbleCreek (Goodyear), Trilogy Vistancia (Peoria), and Victory at Verrado (Buckeye). We made two quick stops at Trilogy Encanterra (we were in the area, had a free day) and CantaMia at Estrella.

We are quite new to this kind of lifestyle concept, so this was not just an exploration of specific communities, but of the lifestyle in general.

Our first stop was Sun City Festival. Now I get what everyone means when they say "it's out there". Festival truly is about 12 miles from anything but a gas station convenience store. Church, groceries, medical services, any other kind of shopping are all 12 miles or more from the community.

On the plus side, we loved the layout and amenities, and the people couldn't have been nicer. Prices are pretty competitive compared to the other communities we looked at. As our first 55+ experience, we were very pleasantly surprised with the carefully kept grounds, the pools, the craft/meeting rooms and the very recently renovated restaurant/outdoor patio bar.

On the negative side, we aren't comfortable being that far from services and shopping. Also, as we got further into our trip we realized that Festival didn't seem as lush and green as other communities -- beautifully maintained, but a bit brown and dry around the edges.

After Festival, we had two free days as trying to schedule stay-n-play visits back to back across all four communities was impossible. We stayed at a hotel in Goodyear and spent the next two days exploring downtown Scottsdale, downtown Phoenix, Mesa, and the ASU campus (gorgeous campus, btw). We had a free afternoon and decided to check out Trilogy Encanterra.

Trilogy Encanterra is absolutely gorgeous, but it's structured more like a country or golf club, with two levels of club fees to choose from. It also seemed shockingly quiet for a beautiful Sunday afternoon. Pools were empty, barely anyone on the course, no one in the common areas or the restaurants/lounges. Our tour guide told us they have quite a few part-time residents, so not sure how active and full this community is on a year-round basis. Lovely, but not for us, and not really located where we want to be.

The next morning, we had half a day before checking in at PebbleCreek, so we popped into CantaMia. It's very pretty, set in the Estrella mountains, lovely grounds, quite small. However, our tour guide was the only guy on the planet who hadn't gotten the #metoo #timesup memo, and had his hands not only all over me, but was weirdly grabby with my husband, too. We high-tailed it out of there. Note to salespeople: keep your hands off the potential buyers. Creepy as heck.

Next, we spent some time at PebbleCreek.

From the moment we set foot on the property, PebbleCreek blew us away. The grounds are lush, beautifully maintained and include a large number of mature trees, which made it feel a little less bare than Festival. As for the community, well, from early a.m. until evening, plenty of people were playing pickleball, tennis, golf, utilizing the craft rooms (which are incredibly well equipped for everything from jewelry making to woodworking to all kinds of sewing and everything in between). People were playing cards, attending pilates and yoga classes, water aerobics, the putting and driving greens were packed. Plenty of people were up early and enjoying coffee in the lounge area, eating in the restaurant in the evening and using the casual lounge/patio bar during the day. This was the busiest, most active, most enthusiastic community we visited during our entire stay. PebbleCreek was now the bar everything else had to meet. Yes, you can see and hear the jets from Luke Air Force Base. They really didn't bother us, and you can hear them a bit at both Trilogy Vistancia and Victory at Verrado as well.

Our third overnight stay was with Trilogy Vistancia. By this time, we'd heard both positive and negative comments about the place from residents and potential buyers at Festival and PebbleCreek. We put them out of our mind and gave it our best shot.

The first thing we noticed was how quiet it was. No one about at all. Most of the golfers seemed to be day-trippers (the course is public). Even the other sports activities were sparsely populated. Very few people in the craft and meeting rooms. No one walking, no one out biking. Not a soul at the Mita Club (newer of two general clubhouses). Not too many folks at Kiva Club (older clubhouse).


The restaurant, V's Taproom, is a public restaurant set at the very edge of the newer half of the development and seemed to be frequented by golfers and younger people, perhaps from the greater, all-ages Vistancia community. It's not that I expect to go out to dinner every night, but I had to wonder where all the 55+ folks were.

Over the course of the next few days, we discovered that the negative comments we'd heard rang more true than the positive. It had been described to us as clubby, stuck up, stand-offish, and we got the same vibe. One man, after asking my husband what else we'd seen, tossed off "Oh, Festival, that's were the people who can't afford Trilogy go", which is exactly the kind of comment that sends me screaming in the other direction.

Onward to Victory!

Okay, Victory is spectacular. The setting is breathtaking. You know you're somewhere special, at least physically, right away. You couldn't dream up a more beautiful backdrop if you tried. Unlike other communities, Victory creates a true desert landscape, right in the foothills of the White Tank Mountains. If you are in the area, definitely plan on lunch or dinner at the restaurant just for the views -- desert, sky, mountains, and twinkling lights of the valley below. Stunning.

However, it's small, growing very slowly compared to other communities, and is very, very quiet. No one around at all. Gorgeous pool, small but well-equipped fitness center, a handful of pickleball and tennis courts (all empty), and a small art studio (empty). It doesn't seem like they make much of an effort to foster community.

Part of this may be that one entity is the master planner, and there are now 6 separate, unrelated builders to choose from. Also, it seemed like they came in with luxury, larger home designers in the beginning, then quickly invited smaller home designers on board when they realized very few retirees want 3000+ square foot homes to care for. Also concerning is that one builder is dropping out after Phase I is finished, and the two newest builders are known for very small floor plans. However, in spite of the ghost town feel, we were so awed by the setting, we gave it very, very serious consideration.

Our rankings by the end of our stay are as follows:

6) CantaMia
5) Trilogy Encanterra
4) Trilogy Vistancia
3) Sun City Festival
2) Victory at Verrado
1) PebbleCreek (Winner!)
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 02-03-2018, 11:24 AM
 
Location: Las Vegas
13,895 posts, read 25,351,824 times
Reputation: 26407
Great post! A friend of mine bought there about a year ago for all the reasons you stated. When I looked at the 55+ communities here, they all looked like ghost towns. No one around. And I don't golf so I didn't want to pay for a golf course. In retrospect I was probably wrong about that because it's a great space to use for walking or running too and those things I would do!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-03-2018, 11:26 AM
 
653 posts, read 338,260 times
Reputation: 892
Great Review, Thank you.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-03-2018, 11:35 AM
 
Location: California
4,556 posts, read 5,478,999 times
Reputation: 9623
You know a lack of water and heat are problems there? Phoenix is a main northbound drug route which brings more problems than you want to know about. Many will leave after their fist summer as you can't go outside during the day. Check out your builders and get hydrologist reports with care as land fraud is common. Often the monsoon rain can't be absorbed by the dry desert ground so the water floods homes and streets. I speak from experience.

I hope you consider everything!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-03-2018, 11:46 AM
 
2,565 posts, read 1,029,684 times
Reputation: 2004
Quote:
Originally Posted by Heidi60 View Post
You know a lack of water and heat are problems there? Phoenix is a main northbound drug route which brings more problems than you want to know about. Many will leave after their fist summer as you can't go outside during the day. Check out your builders and get hydrologist reports with care as land fraud is common. Often the monsoon rain can't be absorbed by the dry desert ground so the water floods homes and streets. I speak from experience.

I hope you consider everything!
We seriously considered this area for retirement, but ruled it out for several of the reasons you cited..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-03-2018, 11:47 AM
 
653 posts, read 338,260 times
Reputation: 892
OP Curious how you arranged the Tours. Did you just call the Clubhouse, or a realtor?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-03-2018, 12:12 PM
 
Location: Sierra Nevada Land, CA
8,409 posts, read 9,160,010 times
Reputation: 13120
Go in August and report back.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-03-2018, 01:05 PM
 
Location: NYC
2,919 posts, read 1,595,504 times
Reputation: 7964
This is very informative...thanks! I had never really considered a 55+ community before frequenting the forum, don't know anybody who ever lived in one & I've been wondering what the Phoenix area is like as well.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-03-2018, 01:19 PM
 
20 posts, read 15,962 times
Reputation: 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Heidi60 View Post
You know a lack of water and heat are problems there? Phoenix is a main northbound drug route which brings more problems than you want to know about. Many will leave after their fist summer as you can't go outside during the day. Check out your builders and get hydrologist reports with care as land fraud is common. Often the monsoon rain can't be absorbed by the dry desert ground so the water floods homes and streets. I speak from experience.

I hope you consider everything!
Yep, aware of heat/water issues.

Crime issues don't worry me much.

As for flooding issues, well, the southeast has hurricanes, the northeast frigid winters and blizzards, California has earthquakes. What're ya gonna do?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-03-2018, 01:20 PM
 
20 posts, read 15,962 times
Reputation: 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by shokwaverider View Post
OP Curious how you arranged the Tours. Did you just call the Clubhouse, or a realtor?

We called each sales office. With Victory at Verrado, you usually arrange this through a builder, however. We arranged ours through Maracay.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Retirement
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top