There are now 6 Sun Cities in and around the Valley of the Sun.
The first Sun City by Del Webb was one of the first Active Adult Communities in Arizona.. His first community was built in Tucson in 1948. Sun City in Surprise was opened in 1960. It had 25,000 people show up for the opening weekend. With 11 golf courses and 7 swimming pools and a club for every activity you can imagine, it grew to 26,000 homes in the 18 years before it was completed. Due to their proximity to the freeways and Phoenix itself, as well as the super low real estate taxes many of the homes are being remodeled and updated.
Sun City was so successful that additional land was purchased and Sun City West evolved. It opened in 1978. Not quite the size of Sun City, but still boasting 9 golf courses and 6 pools. The expanded amenities and activities held the interest of the residents of the 17,000 homes.
Del Web expanded the theme of Active Adult Living to include shopping, churches and restaurants and even a hospital within the boundaries of the development. One need have only a golf cart for transportation. It took another 19 years, until 1997 for Del Webb to reach sell out of Sun City West.
In 1996 construction began on Sun City Grand just to the west and south of Sun City West, with Grand Avenue (Rt. 60) being a divider. This Active Adult Community was to have a greater range of home sizes. It was smaller with only 10,000 homes, 5 pools and 3 golf courses. The community was sold out in 2004.
Corte Bella was the last of the Sun Cities in the cluster forming the NW corner of the Phoenix Valley. It is considered part of Sun City West, although separated by walls. It is an upscale, private, gated golf course community with only 1600 homes and a single pool. The last new build was sold in 2007.
The 5th Sun City is Sun City Festival, located about 30 miles west of Surprise and the 4 preceding Del Webb communities. It is just north and west of the White Tank Mountains. Del Webb has perfected the art of Active Adult Communities and this is reputed to be their best yet. Within a natural unspoiled desert environment, it is likened to the original Sun City 50 years ago. Sun City Festival will have 7200 homes, has one 18 hole golf course with another planned. The amenities are superb and commercial development is certain to follow. The project opened in 2006 and is expected to be built out by 2016. This Sun City combines the expertise of Pulte in their successful multigenerational communities and Del Webb’s superb active adult specialization.
This combination of multigenerational and active adult communities is a popular concept and allows families to be in close proximity to their retirees while having separate community amenities. Del Webb and Pulte repeated this in the most recent development, Sun City Anthem in Florence, about 55 miles southeast of central Phoenix. This community opened in 2006 and is expected to reach build out by 2014.