Tuscany Village

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Aerial view of Tuscany, looking south (2014)

Tuscany Village is a golf course community located in Henderson, Nevada. It was originally proposed by developer Jim Rhodes in 1995, under the name Palm City. The project was proposed for the former site of the Stewart gravel pit. The surrounding area initially sparked concern about the location's suitability, due to various environmental issues at the time. The site was located near sewage ponds and a longtime manufacturer of chemicals which had contaminated the land. Ground water was also found to have high radioactive levels.

Rhodes graded the property in the late 1990s, but never began construction. His lender became insolvent and he sold the property in 2000 to Commerce Associates, which renamed the project Tuscany Hills. The property and surrounding acreage was designated by Henderson as a redevelopment area, making the project eligible for city funding.

After various delays, the Tuscany Golf Club opened in 2003. It is 150 acres, and was designed by Ted Robinson. Rhodes subsequently took back ownership of the course and the undeveloped residential land. Home construction was underway in 2005. Rhodes filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy four years later, and Tuscany was turned over to creditors. At the time, 700 of 2,000 planned homes had been built. Ownership changed several more times, and the golf course was renamed Chimera Golf Club in 2015.

History

Original plans

The project was originally proposed by developer Jim Rhodes in 1995, under the name Palm City. [1] [2] It was initially planned as an age-restricted community with 2,600 homes. As years went by, the unbuilt project was redesigned as an all-ages community, and was downsized to 2,200 homes. [1] Plans for a three-acre commercial building site were also scrapped. Added to the plans were a 10-acre elementary school, two parks, and trails and bike lanes. [1] [3] Palm City was meant as an affordable version of Rhodes Ranch, another community in the Las Vegas Valley. Like Rhodes Ranch, it would also include a golf course designed by Ted Robinson. [4] Rhodes received approval from the city of Henderson in 1998, [1] [3] and he began grading the property that year. [5] The site included the Stewart gravel pit, which had been abandoned since the 1980s. [5] [2] [6] The former gravel mine accounted for a majority of the future community's land. [7]

Most residents in the area initially approved of Palm City. [1] However, the site for Palm City was located near sewage ponds and a longtime manufacturer of chemicals which had contaminated the land. Ground water was also found to have high radioactive levels, although Rhodes Design and Development Corporation planned to proceed with the project, as local officials had yet to declare a health concern. Residents became worried about the presence of chemicals, and also become concerned about the size of the Palm City project and the increased traffic that it would bring to the area. Another possible issue was that ground water would rise to the surface and flood yards in the future community. [4] [8] [9] In addition, state and local environmental officials said there was the possibility that the Las Vegas Valley's water supply would become contaminated if Rhodes was not careful. Palm City would be developed adjacent to the Las Vegas Wash, and officials stated that Rhodes would need a plan to prevent contaminated water from entering the wash. [10]

Meanwhile, the city had concerns about a 26-building condominium complex that Rhodes wanted to include in the community, stating that his 13-acre site was not large enough to support the project. [11] In 1999, a contractor on the project sued Rhodes, claiming that he refused to pay $150,000 for underground utility work. This came after the contractor filed a lien on the project. [12] In 2000, Rhodes Homes sold the undeveloped Palm City land in a $30 million deal, after its lender became insolvent. The 521-acre site had been graded, but construction had yet to begin. [5]

Tuscany

Commerce Associates, the new owner, renamed the project Tuscany Hills. The project was approved by the Henderson Planning Commission in 2001. An 18-hole golf course was scheduled to open to the public in 2002, to be followed later in the year by completion of homes. [2] [13] The city also designated the site as a redevelopment area, making it eligible for city funding. [2] [14] Tuscany was expected to provide $263 million in new tax revenue for Henderson over a period of 30 years. [15] Aside from Tuscany's 525 acres, the redevelopment area also included 325 surrounding acres, for a total of 850. The redevelopment deal created controversy over city ethics, as two minority owners in Commerce Associates also sat on the Henderson Redevelopment Advisory Commission, and they resigned only weeks prior to the deal. [6] [16]

In June 2002, a majority stakeholder in Commerce Associates sued his business partner in the company, claiming that he diverted millions of dollars from the company for his own uses. [17] [18] [19] A month later, Henderson mortgage executive Tom Hantges filed a civil lawsuit alleging that the redevelopment agency broke state laws. The Tuscany project had been approved for redevelopment funds because a portion of the property was classified as an abandoned mine. However, aerial photographs showed that little had remained of the gravel pit, as Rhodes had cleared most of it out. City officials stated that the site still qualified as a blight. [20] [21] [22] Henderson mayor James B. Gibson said, "It has to be a priority of the city to reclaim that land and a lot of the surrounding land and it's no easy task given the industrial uses that were prevalent on much of that area." [23]

Managing partners at Commerce Associates stated that Hantges' lawsuit was part of an effort to force a settlement in an unrelated racketeering suit that the company had filed against him. [23] The city requested that the suit be dismissed, [24] and a district judge later ruled against Hantges, stating that his lawsuit was filed nearly a year after a 90-day deadline for such action. [23] [25] Hantges had also been concerned about a conflict of interest regarding the redevelopment agency, although the Supreme Court of Nevada ruled against him as well, stating that there was no such issue as the board members recused themselves from discussions and voting. [25]

Golf club sign
Tuscany entrance

The United States Environmental Protection Agency evaluated nearly 400 acres of evaporation ponds, located west of Tuscany. The agency concluded that there was no risk posed by the former ponds, which had previously been used to dispose of chemical wastewater. [15] However, there was concern about a nearby Good Humor-Breyers ice cream factory, which used ammonia as a coolant. More than 99,000 pounds of the chemical were stored at the facility. In the event of an accidental ammonia leak, a toxic plume would extend up to 2,300 feet, well within range of Tuscany. Studies were taken in 2003 to determine whether the Tuscany plans would need to be altered to avoid a health hazard. City officials said they had not previously considered conducting such studies. Because the site used to be a gravel pit, much of Tuscany was built at least 40 feet below street level, a fact that would work in favor of the community in the event of an ammonia leak, as the chemical would rise into the air. [26] [27] A final report in 2003 found that Tuscany would not need to be altered because of the ammonia threat, allowing the project to proceed. [28]

The Tuscany golf course contains 150 acres. Because of a lack of surrounding infrastructure, the developers had to bring in water and sewer lines. [29] The course had been completed in early 2002, but it sat un-used for more than a year as the opening was delayed by the lawsuits, as well as permit problems. The slow construction of roads and parking lots was another factor. [30] [31] The golf course eventually opened in 2003, [31] [32] and is the centerpiece of the community. [33] It was designed to resemble an Italian vineyard. [34] Home construction had yet to begin at that time. [15]

In 2004, Jim Rhodes purchased the Tuscany Golf Club from Commerce Associates. He closed it for renovations to restore the previous design intended by Robinson. It reopened later that year. [35] [36] Rhodes Homes also took over the residential aspect, now known as Tuscany Village. Construction of homes was underway in 2005, [37] and the community opened that year. [38] There were 168 homes built by 2006. [39] The community's architecture is based on the Italian region of Tuscany. [38] [40] The golf course was praised. [31] [41] [42] As of 2007, the facility hosted 46,000 rounds of golf annually, [43] and it was named by Golf Magazine as the number-one course in Las Vegas. [40]

Homes at Tuscany

In 2009, Jim Rhodes filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and agreed to turn over Tuscany to his creditors. Residents of Tuscany welcomed the news of Rhodes' departure, as they felt that he had mismanaged the community's homeowner association (HOA). In recent years, the HOA had seen frequent changes in its board presidents and community managers, and residents alleged that community upkeep had been neglected. Empty home lots were also spread throughout Tuscany. Only 700 of 2,000 homes had been built in the community up to that point. [44] Creditors led by Credit Suisse were owed $370 million, and they took over control of Tuscany in January 2010. Dunhill Homes, a newly formed company in Dallas, was named later that year to manage and further develop Tuscany. [45] [46] In 2014, Century Communities purchased Dunhill Homes and acquired Tuscany Village. [47]

In 2015, the golf club was sold to two golfers who renamed it as Chimera Golf Club. They also made various improvements and reopened an outdoor bar and grill. [48] [49] [50] At the time, Century Communities had approximately 450 vacant home lots left to develop at Tuscany Village, with residential construction expected to continue into 2019. Some home lots were developed by Lennar Corporation. [51]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e Miller, Valerie (June 12, 1998). "Planning board OKs subdivision changes". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d "Tuscany Hills project gets planners' approval". Las Vegas Sun. November 16, 2001. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  3. ^ a b Miller, Valerie (September 25, 1998). "Palm City proposal takes step forward". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  4. ^ a b Snedeker, Lisa (December 6, 1998). "Palm City advances despite concerns about ground water". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  5. ^ a b c Levine, Phil (February 2, 2000). "Interstate woes lead to sale of big Henderson development". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  6. ^ a b Libby, Jeffrey (June 3, 2002). "Critics say OK of Henderson subdivision crosses ethics line". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  7. ^ DeFrank, Sean (July 29, 1998). "Projects to get financial help". View News. Archived from the original on November 12, 1999.
  8. ^ "Developer told to halt drainage of foul water". Las Vegas Sun. September 3, 1998. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  9. ^ "New LV Wash committee to hear Rhodes' plan". Las Vegas Sun. December 23, 1998. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  10. ^ "Officials: Development could contaminate drinking water". Las Vegas Sun. August 31, 1998. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  11. ^ Miller, Valerie (September 28, 1998). "Palm City condo plans reviewed". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  12. ^ "Rhodes Homes making progress on complaints". Las Vegas Sun. June 24, 1999. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  13. ^ Bristol, Emmily N. (January 20, 2001). "Development set for Tuscany Hills". View News. Archived from the original on July 19, 2001.
  14. ^ Libby, Jeffrey (February 21, 2001). "850 acres targeted for redevelopment in Henderson". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  15. ^ a b c Libby, Jeffrey (January 9, 2003). "Tuscany project clears hurdles". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  16. ^ Libby, Jeffrey (July 3, 2002). "Call for ethics review eased". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  17. ^ Libby, Jeffrey (June 3, 2002). "Partner sued over alleged funds diversion". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  18. ^ Libby, Jeffrey (June 24, 2002). "Settlement sought in Tuscany dispute". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  19. ^ Smith, Hubble (October 29, 2002). "Henderson Tuscany Hills community hits legal snag". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Archived from the original on January 10, 2003.
  20. ^ Libby, Jeffrey (July 11, 2002). "Lawsuit filed over money for Tuscany project". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  21. ^ Libby, Jeffrey (July 17, 2002). "Tuscany development trade delayed again". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  22. ^ Libby, Jeffrey (July 30, 2002). "Judge: Tuscany dispute will move to Carson City court". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  23. ^ a b c Libby, Jeffrey (October 31, 2002). "Suit against Tuscany dismissed". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  24. ^ "Fate of Tuscany development awaits judge's ruling on suit". Las Vegas Sun. October 24, 2002. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  25. ^ a b "Advisory boards not governed by state ethics laws". Las Vegas Sun. June 24, 2005. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  26. ^ Packer, Adrienne (April 24, 2003). "Ammonia fears threaten Henderson development". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Archived from the original on December 28, 2004.
  27. ^ Bristol, Emmily N. (March 26, 2003). "Vote freezes housing project planned near ice cream plant". View News. Archived from the original on January 29, 2004.
  28. ^ Kulin, Dan (May 12, 2003). "Report: Ammonia threat will not affect Tuscany". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  29. ^ Bristol, Emmily N. (February 8, 2002). "Tuscany Golf Course: Build a better golf course". View News. Archived from the original on November 23, 2002.
  30. ^ Iole, Kevin (April 2, 2003). "Idle Tuscany dresses up, waits for June 1 opening; Staff confident 15-month delay almost over". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Archived from the original on December 29, 2004.
  31. ^ a b c Anderson, Murray (July 1, 2003). "Tuscany ready to make splash on Vegas golf scene". Las Vegas Golf. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  32. ^ "Tuscany Redevelopment Area". City of Henderson. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  33. ^ "Residents extol city view from Tuscany Residential Village homes". Las Vegas Review-Journal. July 7, 2007. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  34. ^ Jensen, Jeff (February 10, 2005). "Tuscany a course with a classic flare". Henderson Home News. p. 17. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  35. ^ Smith, Hubble (March 8, 2004). "Southfork Pointe work moves toward completion". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Archived from the original on October 30, 2004.
  36. ^ Iole, Kevin (July 22, 2004). "Tuscany back on track following renovation". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Archived from the original on May 26, 2005.
  37. ^ "Granting of cable franchise irks Cox". Las Vegas Sun. November 12, 2005. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  38. ^ a b "Tuscan architecture highlights Tuscany Residential Village". Rhodes Homes. March 26, 2005. Archived from the original on October 25, 2005.
  39. ^ "Cox connects as Henderson delays cable decision". Las Vegas Sun. February 15, 2006. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  40. ^ a b "Community taking shape at Tuscany Residential Village". Las Vegas Review-Journal. October 13, 2007. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  41. ^ Larsen, Rebecca (December 13, 2003). "Best of Las Vegas 2003 filled with great courses". Las Vegas Golf. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  42. ^ Bowman, Bill (November 24, 2009). "Tuscany Golf Club: Savor your next round of golf in Las Vegas like a fine wine". Las Vegas Golf. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  43. ^ "The Business of Golf" (PDF). Vegas Golfer. April 2007. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  44. ^ Twitchell, Jeremy (October 19, 2009). "Tuscany ready for change after Jim Rhodes' departure". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  45. ^ Adams-Ockrassa, Suzanne (December 7, 2009). "Rhodes' bankruptcy deal ready for judge's review". Kingman Daily Miner. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  46. ^ Smith, Hubble (April 9, 2010). "Startup to develop Rhodes assets". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  47. ^ "Century Communities buys Dunhill". Las Vegas Review-Journal. July 12, 2014. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  48. ^ Asay, John (November 19, 2015). "Duo breathes new life into old course revamped as ritzy Chimera". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  49. ^ Bittman, Elizabeth (July 27, 2015). "Course Spotlight: New Chimera Golf Club". Southern Nevada Golf Association. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  50. ^ Bowman, Bill (January 15, 2016). "Chimera Golf Club: Different name, same challenges for popular Vegas course". Las Vegas Golf. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  51. ^ Segall, Eli (December 11, 2015). "Q+A: Homebuilder in Rhodes Ranch, Tuscany discusses state of market". VegasInc. Retrieved August 22, 2020.

External links


Latitude and Longitude:

36°04′38″N 114°58′14″W / 36.07722°N 114.97056°W / 36.07722; -114.97056