Two thousand acres of winter wheat just south of Sun City are seeing their last spring; by fall, the graders will be busy turning all that farmland into one of the largest master-planned communities Riverside County has ever seen.
They will be working for the Irvine-based Lusk Co., one of the Southland's largest real estate developers, whose Menifee Village project at Interstate 215 and Newport Road will have 5,976 homes when it is built out in eight to 10 years and will be valued at just over $515 million. Some village!
In addition to the housing--eight different types are planned--provision has been made for a college campus, an elementary school, a fire station, a hospital, a 30- or 40-acre lake (the design isn't final yet), and two golf courses. All this will be inhabited by about 15,000 people.
As master developer, Lusk is preparing sites for the various groups of homes, grading, building the major streets and installing the utility mains. The individual builders who buy the sites--called "super-pads"-- and develop and market the housing will only have to build interior roads and connect with the utilities.
Wayne M. Klinck, the Lusk division manager in charge of Menifee Village, said conversations are in progress with a number of individual developers. "We're looking for quality, financially sound builders--of which there are many in the Southern California area."
Thus, Lusk is building the "infrastructure," a word that basically means streets and utility lines but is used in this case to include grading and all the other preparation necessary before building begins.
The total cost to Lusk of the infrastructure at Menifee Village is expected to be $65 million, $32 million for the first phase alone, since the original work includes construction that is in other phases but is cheaper to do all at once.
The project is not a joint venture and Lusk has no financial partner but is negotiating with Riverside County for some bond financing.
Menifee Village will be developed in four phases. Housing types have been broken down into two main categories, adult retirement and primary housing. The main difference, Klinck explained, is size; adult retirement dwellings will be smaller and on smaller lots than primary--largely family--housing.
In the adult retirement category, Phase 1 will offer 224 "cottages" with a density of seven to the acre; 304 patio homes, eight to the acre; 400 apartments, 20 to the acre, and 465 mobile home sites, five to the acre, 175 for sale and 290 for lease.
Primary housing will include 210 "cottages," five to the acre; 168 single-family detached houses, six to the acre, and two types of "ranches" distinguished, in part at least, by their lot sizes: 160 at a density of four to the acre (or one-fourth-acre lots) and 70 that will be two to the acre.
Later phases will offer 206 "estates" on one-acre lots.
One hundred acres have been reserved as a satellite campus for Mount San Jacinto College, which will begin development on one-half of it and expects to commence school operations in the fall of 1989 with an initial enrollment of 1,700. Later, as it expands, it will acquire and develop the remaining 50 acres.
Both golf courses will have 18 holes and will be designed by Ted Robinson; the first will be built as part of Phase 1 and the second is expected to follow in about four years. Details of their clubhouses are not yet available
The architectural planner for the community is Corbin/Yamafugi & Partners of Irvine; the land planner is Turrini & Brink of Santa Ana, and the engineering is by Neste, Brudin & Stone of Hemet.
At its full development, Menifee Village will have 87 acres devoted to commercial space and 84.5 acres for industrial and business park use.
The Lusk firm is currently celebrating its 40th year. Known until very recently as John D. Lusk & Son, the name was changed to the Lusk Co. to counter its general identification as a residential builder.
As an example of its commercial/industrial involvement, Lusk is managing general partner of the Ontario Commerce Center adjacent to Ontario International Airport, and is or has been involved in a number of commercial and industrial centers.
The founder, John D. Lusk, is now chairman of the board and chief executive officer. In April, he was inducted into the Building Industry Assn. of Southern California's Hall of Fame.
The president is Donovan Huennekens and Lusk's son, William D. Lusk, is responsible for major operations, including marketing and public relations. The diversified company is headquartered with its subsidiaries in its own 55,000-square-foot building at 17550 Gillette Ave., Irvine.