Just south of Sun City and 11 miles north of Rancho California in Riverside County, a new residential community is being developed on 1,977 acres formerly used for dry farming.
Menifee California is being developed by the Lusk Co., an Irvine-based concern that is primarily known as a home builder but has also been involved in land development and commercial projects.
Nine home building firms were selected by Lusk from among more than 100 companies seeking to construct houses there beginning next year in the new community's first phase, said Donald D. Steffensen, executive vice president of the Lusk Co. "We chose not to compete with the builders that we selected, feeling that we could be more productive as a land developer."
The project, with its 35-acre centerpiece lake and a pair of 17-acre lakes on the 36-hole golf course, is following the tradition of Westlake Village, Mission Viejo, Irvine's Woodbridge and EastLake in Chula Vista, not to mention Reston, Va., where the whole lake-oriented new-town trend started about 25 years ago.
The big lake at Menifee is from the drawing boards of of Harlan Glenn, of J. Harland Glenn & Associates, the firm that designed the lakes of Woodbridge and Rancho Santa Margarita, east of Mission Viejo.
The land plan for the community on the east side of Interstate 15 on either side of Newport Road is from Corbin/Yamafuji & Partners, Irvine; Turrini & Brink, Santa Ana, and Neste, Brudin & Stone Inc., Hemet.
Other consultants for the project include Ted Robinson, golf course architect; Robert Altevers Associates, Costa Mesa, architect of the golf course clubhouse; Geosoils Inc., Santa Ana, soils engineering; Donald Frischer & Associates, Van Nuys, traffic and transportation systems, and Florian Martinez, Tustin, landscape architect.
The project will include more than 6,000 dwelling units to be built in seven phases by nine builders over an eight-to-10-year period, according to Wayne Klinck, project manager for Lusk. Housing types will range from rental apartments to patio houses to substantial single-family detached homes on fairly large lots, he said.
"We will have 16,000 residents when all the houses and apartments are built," Klinck said. "The land plan also includes 100 acres for the proposed western campus of Mt. San Jacinto Community College, which will provide educational opportunities beyond high school for students in Rancho California and Temecula, Sun City, Canyon Lake, Hemet, Lake Elsinore and Murietta."
The Lusk firm purchased the site in 1979, and has been developing the land plan and marketing approach ever since, according to Marty Reinfried, marketing director. She said that while the project has 85 acres mapped out for a business park and 84 acres for commercial use, it will be overwhelmingly residential.
Founded in 1946 by John D. Lusk, the Lusk Co. ranked 13th on the 16th annual report on home building published in this section last March. The privately held firm ranked 37th in the nation in the "Housing Giants" list published last month in Professional Builder magazine.