Living the Sweet Life

Del Webb, a division of PulteGroup, continues to expand their growing Active Adult lifestyle community of Sweetgrass in Richmond, Texas.

By Carina Calhoun

Located just southwest of Houston, Texas, lies Sweetgrass, an age-restricted, Active Adult community by Del Webb, a division of PulteGroup, and is the largest of its kind in the Houston area. The 500-acre site in Richmond, Texas, offers 1,500 lots, a 50-acre stocked lake with fishing pier, 3.8 miles of walking trails and open spaces. The evolving community embraces an active lifestyle while incorporating comfortable and convenient living areas. This, and several other reasons, is why it has been named our “Active Adult Community of the Year.”

Sweetgrass has three different series of single-family homes to choose from, ranging in price from $140,000s to $240,000s. The Garden Series homes range from 1,100 to 1,500 square feet, the Classic Series ranges from 1,600 to 1,900 square feet and the Estate Series are from 2,100 to 2,700 square feet. All the homes include three-foot-wide doors and large garages. “In talking with homeowners across Houston, we found that the southwest corridor of Houston was the most desirable and had the highest population of Baby Boomers largely due to the historical growth of Houston heading west,” explained Chris Chew, vice president of Land Development for Del Webb in Houston. He continued, “Our consumer research and demographic analysis highlighted that there were approximately 1.5 million Active Adult consumers in the market place with little to no options for a community that could provide affordable living and an unparalleled active adult lifestyle, for those in retirement, reaching retirement or still working.”

Opening in January 2011, interior features of the homes include: ample natural light to promote energy-efficiency; indoor and outdoor living rooms to connect with nature; spa-like master baths to help relax and rejuvenate and spacious countertops and kitchen islands. The Active Adult lifestyle is embraced and encouraged throughout the community and the homes themselves embody the comfortable living areas that those in retirement desire. With each series of floor plans offering a unique setting, homebuyers can choose the plan that best fits their needs and activities.

The surrounding area influenced the style and natureinspired setting for the community. According to Tanya Rizzo, director of sales and marketing for Del Webb in Houston, Sweetgrass’ theme is centered on water and natural characteristics of the site. The preservation of large specimen trees and the introduction of stone, wood, and native prairie planting emphasizes the “nature retreat” experience. Richmond provides the perfect blend between an intimate retreat that a small Texas town offers coupled with the close location to the larger city for enhanced entertainment. “For over 50 years, we have been delivering inspired home designs that inspire our residents to entertain or simply relax and rejuvenate,” stated Kevin Meuth, division president for Del Webb in Houston.

Although times have changed since the 1960s, Del Webb has stayed ahead of the curve when it comes to meeting the needs of the Baby Boomer generation. The Lakehouse is the community’s 27,000-square-foot recreation center, which opened in September 2012, and is the epicenter of the community. “Caldwell Development has done a phenomenal job in creating a one-of-a-kind amenity center,” stated Mueth “With all the amenities, the clubhouse will be a fantastic gathering place for our residents to engage in social, physical and educational pursuits.” The community center features an indoor and outdoor pool complete with spa, workout room, aerobics room, an outdoor terrace, tennis courts, bocce ball courts, pickle ball courts, plus an amphitheater, boat house and launch, the list goes on. “Sweetgrass is the ultimate destination to live an active lifestyle — to love life to the fullest,” said Rizzo. She continued, “Our lifestyle director and sales team work directly with the residents to make this a fun place to live whether it be planned cook-outs or beach parties to aerobics or dance classes, or anything else the residents are interested in doing or learning about.”

Todd Johnson, general manager of Caldwell Companies, the project design and oversight of development in Del Webb Sweetgrass commented, “Strategically, the Richmond location made great sense when considering all the factors most important to a master-planned community, such as local amenities and nearness to major cities.” Johnson added, “Bringing Del Webb Sweetgrass to Richmond further provides the local school district with added tax revenue and adds value to the greater community.”

“We are honored that Del Webb Sweetgrass has been named, Active Adult Community of the Year. This great accomplishment was made possible through relationships with Del Webb, our development partners and the residents that selected Sweetgrass as their home,” stated Johnson.

The entry features, the sales pavilion and The Lakehouse, support and emphasize the theme of a natural retreat along with Rabb’s Bayou, a prominent water feature on site, 50 acres of lake and various species of plants and wildlife. According to Rizzo, the community has almost 200 total homes closed todate. Based on current paces, with some escalation in future years, the current completion date is estimated to be in five to six years.

Sweetgrass mirrors a growing trend among active adults, Baby Boomers and empty nesters, who not only want access to social, fitness and educational offerings, but also want the legendary Del Webb lifestyle within close proximity of their current residence. These “in-place” retirees want to remain connected to their friends, doctors, children and grandchildren. Del Webb is the master operator of the Active Adult lifestyle in Del Webb Sweetgrass, bringing a variety of activities and a unique spirit and experience to its residents. Tanya stated, “With Del Webb Sweetgrass being such a new community, it is an honor to be part of a great team that was able to deliver upon a community vision and experience the success we have so far and so early in the life of the community with our first homeowners just celebrating their one-year anniversary. The success truly is in the detailed execution of the community concept to the delighted homeowners that truly are living life to the fullest each and every day.”

Carina Calhoun is the editor at 50+ Builder. She may be contacted at ccalhoun1@penpubinc.com.

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