Recreation a big attraction in the Redlands
Houses may not be going up as fast and furious as in previous years, but the Redlands remains a desirable place to live, even as new construction in some developments has stopped. Other subdivisions, like Redlands Valley off Broadway, have continued to sell, although not at record-breaking paces.
“The subdivision was small enough and too far along for the economic downturn to hurt it,” says Kathy Leech, a RE/MAX real estate agent whose property in the subdivision sold earlier in the year.
The neighborhood is in a convenient location near Broadway Elementary, yet tucked away and out of sight, which adds to its appeal. Most of the lots are sold and built, although Bonnie Peterson, general contractor with GreenStar Homes, has one lot remaining. She originally bought three lots in the subdivision and built and sold two custom geothermal homes.
“If I got a good enough offer on the lot, I might consider selling it,” says Peterson, “but I already have the lots drilled for a geo-exchange system. I’d need to sell it for $115,000 to cover the cost. I would rather build a house.”
Peterson already has plans for a 2,300+ square foot home for the lot, and would like to build an energy-star home with indoor air plus, which is an EPA designation that assures the homeowners that the home was built with the strictest standards to provide good indoor air quality, which could be an important feature for asthma sufferers and those with respiratory problems.
Other Redlands subdivisions haven’t fared as well. Red Rocks Valley, a 139-acre development on South Camp Road near Redlands Mesa Golf Course, looks much like it did when lots first became available for sale last fall: empty and ready for buyers.
“We go through 100 flyers a week, but no one’s pulling the trigger,” says Sid Squirrel, the listing agent with Bray Real Estate. “We’re just sitting on our hands, waiting for someone to build a beautiful home in a beautiful location.”
Squirrel still believes in the viability and desirability of the project, especially with Mark Fenske signed on as the builder of the patio home. He hopes that banks will start lending again so builders can find financing for spec homes.
“We’re wearing down inventories,” he says. “We’re going to have a pent-up demand when this thing works its way loose.”
Although the demand for new homes may be down, the demand for recreation in the Redlands is as high as ever.
“People are still playing golf,” says Rob Stong, the head golf professional at Tiara Rado Golf Course. “Shop sales are down somewhat; people aren’t buying new equipment this year.” Stong adds that the number of rounds of golf played at the course is about the same as last year, and the numbers at both the men’s and the ladies’ clubs are up from last year. In anticipation of a new housing development that has temporarily stalled near the 10th hole, the course is planning on a few changes. The No. 10 green will become a practice area, the No. 11 green will become the No. 10, and a new par three will be added at the back of the course after the par five hole No. 14.
“It will be well bunkered to provide some challenges,” Stong says. “We’re looking to start it in the fall, sometime after the Rocky Mountain open. It wouldn’t disrupt play at all.”
Redlands Mesa Golf Course isn’t planning any changes to the course, but they have made some changes to Red Canyon Grill, the restaurant at the clubhouse.
“We’re trying to make a menu that’s appealing to a variety of people, with anything from a nice steak to burgers and nachos,” says Eric Feely, the general manager. “We’ve revamped our pricing so it’s very competitive. It’s a great place to come and have a great meal and a great atmosphere, but not the high price.”
The restaurant, like the golf course itself, is open to the public, and is open for breakfast seven days per week, and also offers a happy hour every day with drink and appetizer specials. The Monday night burger special (burger and fries or a salad for $5) and the Tuesday night buy one and get one half price special are two more incentives to bring diners to the restaurant.
“We’re trying to give people what they like,” says Feely, “a little more value oriented, with a lot more selection.”
The ACE junior summer program for young golfers ages 5-14 will be starting on June 30, but it’s not too late to sign up for the program, which includes six weeks of lessons and tournament play.
Last year’s Women and Golf Day, which is a national promotional through the PGA of America was so successful that Redlands Mesa plans to offer it again this summer on July 18.
“It’s a morning of instruction and it’s free of charge, open to any woman,” explains Feely. “Participants will receive three hours of instruction, lunch, and discounts to play golf.”
Golfers aren’t the only ones enjoying the Redlands. The Tabeguache trail area off Monument Road has recently received major improvements and offers trails for mountain biking, hiking and trail running.
“We keep building new trails so we don’t have an exact number,” says Erin Curtis, the public affairs representative with the BLM, who estimates that there are about 30 miles of trails at the popular trailhead. Recent improvements include new trail construction, a focus on trail sustainability, which included closing a few trails that had suffered erosion, and the installation of a wag bag dispenser for pet owners. “We put one of those out there to encourage people to clean up after their dogs,” says Curtis. “The BLM is dog-friendly, but it’s a safety issue, not just for humans but for other dogs as well.” The BLM has seen a spike in usage at the Lunch Loop trail, which Curtis attributes to the unseasonably cooler weather that has made mountain biking in the desert bearable in June. “People are definitely making the most out of what’s available in their backyard out there,” says Curtis.