Sound of success ringing at fast-developing Somersett |

Sound of success ringing at fast-developing Somersett

Judith Harlan

The hills of northwest Reno are alive with the sound of hammers.

And saws.And rumbling trucks.

This past week saw the dedication of Somersett’s 18-hole, Tom Kite signature golf course.

“The vision is coming out to be what we thought,” said Blake Smith, chief executive officer of Somersett Development Company, LLC, and the force behind the master-planned community.

It’s a planned community that is separate, but next-door to Reno.And, he adds, people who drive over the hill and into Somersett for the first time tell him again and again “that they never knew it was here.

It’s in its own world.” That was by design, he adds.

Early on, he and his partners decided on that particular entrance into Somersett because “you are in the city, but immediately it feels like you are out of the city.”And the view from the entry road is – there’s no getting around it spectacular.

The golf course is an integral part of Somersett’s aesthetics, too, adds Smith.”From every intersection, you see golf and you know that you are in a master-planned, golf community,” he says.

Already occupying the hills surrounding the course are 400 finished residences, says Smith.And a glance around the area is all that’s needed to see that many of those homes are occupied, the residents breathing early life into the hidden village that Smith envisioned.

The planning that began back in 1991 is coming to an end, from a developer’s perspective.

Somersett’s main roads are all in; landscaping is slated to be finished by spring 2005.

By the end of next year, the developers expect to have 1,100 residences finished, and are projecting that all Somersett production homes about 2,600 of them will be sold out in two to three years.

The whole thing, including custom lots, should be built out within four to five years, Smith estimates.

Eight developers are at work on 12 “villages” on the hillsides,with Del Webb creating an active adult community at prices from the high $200,000s, to SilverStar Development’s $600,000-plus Amber Glen homes, to the Monterey Development Group’s $800,000-plus homes.

The individual developments are in various stages of completion and sales.

Somersett’s homeowner’s club, a 25,000- square-foot facility at the Town Center, is slated for a December completion.

The Somersett Homeowners Association owns both the club and a par-three, nine-hole golf course on the grounds.

Surprises along the way in the carefully planned community have been few, according to Smith.

The biggest surprise has been the “horrendous demand,” he says.

The group originally estimated that it would take eight to 10 years to complete their end of the development and pushed from behind by demand it is taking four or five.

“That accelerated business plan”meant that everything had to happen “quicker, faster,” says Smith.

There’s been stress to that, but, he adds,”The management team can do it.

It keeps you hopping.”