Queen Creek, AZ

Lennar Corp purchases Queen Creek land, with plans to build hundreds of new homes

Jeremy Beren

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By Jeremy Beren / NewsBreak Pinal County, AZ

(Queen Creek, Ariz.) — The Lennar Corporation is making final preparations to build nearly 300 new homes in a market regarded annually as the Valley's strongest.

On May 3, Lennar closed on a $42 million land parcel in Queen Creek, on which it plans to begin construction on 281 new home sites. Lennar's 90-acre slice is part of a larger, 310-acre masterplan called Madera, which Communities Southwest oversees.

"It's a great location, a great place to build homes," Jeff Gunderson, Lennar's Senior Vice President of Land Operations, told NewsBreak in an interview. "We will continue to look for more opportunities in the southeast Valley.”

Gunderson heads a team of more than 20 professionals in Land Operations, which aids in buying, entitling, and developing land for potential buyers. With a wide range of responsibilities, Land Operations prepares or facilitates the insertion of utility lines and playgrounds in addition to handling annexation and zoning cases. Gunderson says this process, at its longest, can take three or four years to complete.

However, the turnaround time at Madera is expected to be much shorter. Gunderson explained that the partnership with Communities Southwest means Lennar expects the new models to hit the market in the fourth quarter of 2023.

"What's going to happen here is we're going to build three unique communities of homes," Gunderson said. "This is one where Communities Southwest did most of the heavy lifting, and they're also going to develop the finished homesites for us, so this deal will be faster than some of those longer-term entitlement deals. We can bring it to market faster."

Another set of Lennar properties in Queen Creek is already selling. The Harvest community has homes starting at $473,990. The Queen Creek land purchase has been announced at a time when reporting indicates that housing markets in Arizona are among the most overvalued in the United States, and the "relatively-set" timeline may give the market time to reset.

Gunderson says the idea is to start models and production within the Madera masterplan sometime around July 2023. It represents another foray into the southeast Valley, which Gunderson says is a highly-desirable market for a variety of reasons, such as job creation due to the area's booming tech corridors.

"It's a really family-oriented part of town, with great schools and great parks," Gunderson said. "Sales have been tremendous there for us for a number of years."

Lennar has completed construction on sites throughout Chandler, Gilbert, and Mesa, which pushes the company to build new communities further east. Land in the Queen Creek area is appealing for Lennar and for homebuyers, but it is starting to come at a premium — which makes the Madera project an enticing one for the second-largest homebuilding firm in the U.S.

"Queen Creek has almost gotten to a point where there's actually a relatively-limited supply of land for development," Gunderson explained. "So we're pretty excited about Madera, and we have a lot of holdings, a lot of land that we'll be bringing on line in Pinal County and San Tan Valley, and we're very excited for those opportunities as well."

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Jeremy is a freelance journalist covering news, sports, health, and local politics. He lives in Phoenix.

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