BANNING — When developer Randall Presley purchased a large tract of land in this Riverside County community more than a dozen years ago, Banning was an unlikely location for a resort-style second-home development.
It still is, but the initial success of Sun Lakes Country Club, officially opening today on Highland Springs Avenue south of Interstate 10, already is changing the town's image. More than half of the 164 town houses, patio homes and single-family houses in the first phase have been sold since May 2.
When completed in a decade or so, Sun Lakes Country Club will have more than 4,000 housing units on 963 acres, with an 18-hole golf course, tennis courts, swimming pool and clubhouse/recreation center with 18,500 square feet, according to Dale Post, vice president of research and forward planning for the developer, Presley of Southern California, Irvine.
The firm is a division of Pacific Lighting Corp., which acquired Presley's companies in 1984.
The prices of the two- and three-bedroom units--ranging from $69,990 to $115,000 in the first phase--along with the amenities of the gate-guarded active adult community--apparently overcome the deficits of the location. It is about a half hour's driving time away from Palm Springs.
Presley's marketing effort is aimed at people who can remember "World War II, big bands, running boards and black and white TV"--those 55 and older who want a second home in a resort development but don't want to spend as much as a comparable unit would cost in Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage and other Low Desert communities.
Those under 55 can buy a unit, but to live in the development, at least one person in the family must be at least 55, Post said.
Four of the plans are attached town houses, with 850 to 1,356 square feet. The largest has a loft. The four patio home plans range from 1,007 to 1,285 square feet, with prices beginning at $84,990.
Three single-family plans, starting at $95,990, offer 1,315 to 1,505 square feet. One plan offers a loft, and sloping ceilings make all the designs, from town house to single-family, seem larger than the floor size would indicate.
The architect is Hales/Langston, Tustin. Models were designed by Carole Eichen Interiors, Santa Ana, and the landscape architecture is by Newport Beach-based Life-scapes.
A Sept. 1 completion is scheduled for the golf course, designed by Tustin-based David Rainville. The head professional is Bud Allin, a nine-year PGA tour veteran.
The Mediterranean-style clubhouse includes several large meeting rooms, fitness center, library, billiard room and craft rooms.
Aim at Older Market
The decision to aim a project at prospective buyers in the 55-65 age group appears based on sound marketing projections: According to the cover story in the April, 1987, issue of Real Estate Today, there are 21,769,000 people in that age group.
The average 55-year-old is expected to live another 24.2 years, according figures based on U.S. Census data quoted in the article. The magazine is the official publication of the National Assn. of Realtors.
The 55-65 group is termed Tier 1 in the article; those 65-75 are in Tier 2 and number 17,408,000, while Tier 3 people are 75 and older and number 12,517,000.
By the turn of the century, 17% of the nation's population will be 60 and over, with the percentage reaching nearly 26% by the year 2025.