Signs of the past

Plenty of plans for vacant space

Posted 12/28/21

For nearly 45 years, the 8-acre hilltop between the Sundome (replaced by Fry’s) and Crestview (now the Church on the Green) had stood vacant.

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Signs of the past

Plenty of plans for vacant space


For nearly 45 years, the 8-acre hilltop between the Sundome (replaced by Fry’s) and Crestview (now the Church on the Green) had stood vacant.

Hovnanian’s announcement of plans to build a new neighborhood, “Four Seasons,” ends speculation of what will become of the last major infill site in Sun City West — “Mystery Hill.”

The years have seen a variety of proposals for the site overlooking Hillcrest Golf Course, 20002 N. Star Ridge Drive. First was Meeker’s plan to build a dining/social club, probably patterned after the Lakes Club in Sun City. A closer look shows how it would have served as a dinner theater and ballroom as well. High interest rates in 1981, Meeker’s retirement and a more cost-conscious management at the corporate level ended this plan.

Next was the proposal for a luxury hotel on that beautiful site. While some national developers came to look, not one was interested in building a luxury hotel in the center of a retirement community.

The Webb people made one more stab at the luxury market with The Heights in 1984. This would offer 90 luxury condos overlooking Hillcrest. Fourteen casitas would be built on the hillside sloping down to the golf course and a 3-story building atop the hill would offer magnificent views of the mountains to the west and the golf course to the east.

The plan included underground parking, gated access, a 5-hole putting green and a large pool area with cabana, spa and bar. A stream would flow from a fountain and fill ponds bordering the paths making it a beautiful place to stroll.

On paper, The Heights looked great. But few were interested in the cost of all this luxury, and the project was soon dropped.

Ten years later, McDonnell Douglas Realty proposed a similar condo development with units selling between $295,000 and $340,000. But before development could begin, Boeing acquired McDonnell Douglas and spun off the realty business. 

The land has changed hands several times since with K. Hovnanian being the one to finally bring homes to Mystery Hill. Fifty home sites were created, along with a model home built to show the choices available. The 2-bedroom homes were planned range from 1,500 to 1,700 square feet with prices starting in the mid $300,000s.

With that, the mystery of the vacant hilltop comes to an end — and a new neighborhood comes to life!

Editor’s Note: Ed and Loretta Allen recently moved to Royal Oaks in Sun City. They have been active in the Del Webb Sun Cities Museum for many years.


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