The Jack Nicklaus-signature golf course at Coyote Springs is open for public play, but the first model homes have been pushed back to September 2009, an executive for the master-planned community's primary home builder said.
Residential building has been delayed 18 months and home prices have yet to be determined, said Klif Andrews, division president of Pardee Homes.
"It's partly the market -- we're not in a rush to get in the market today -- and it's partly slow construction activity," he said. "It was difficult to complete some of the things we had to complete."
The water treatment plant is finished and a separate wastewater and sewer plant is near completion, both at an estimated cost of $40 million, Andrews said. Pardee has spent millions of dollars on basic infrastructure, including 21,000 feet of sewer lines and 11,000 feet of water lines.
"You've got to spend $30 million on wastewater treatment before you can hook up one toilet. That's why houses will always appreciate because it's difficult and expensive to build in outlying areas," he said.
The 40,000-acre Coyote Springs development is about 60 miles north of Las Vegas, straddling Clark and Lincoln counties on U.S. Highway 93. It's planned for 159,000 homes on 20,000 acres with 12,000 acres set aside for a nature preserve, parks and trails.
Andrews said the community is designed to be "sustainable and environmentally responsible." Native plants are being dug up and replanted as part of the landscape.
Coyote Springs has its own groundwater resources and will have no effect on Las Vegas Valley's water resources, he said.
"This community is going to be a unique opportunity to live in a true master-planned setting in a very different environment than Las Vegas," Andrews said at Pardee's McCarran Center office. "Everything in Vegas is the same. This is going to be different, from the parks we supply to 100 percent fiberoptics through the house to all the recreational opportunities."
Pardee intends to sell homes at a "great value," but not 40 percent less than Las Vegas prices, Andrews said.
"Coyote Springs is more about the community, not how cheap we can sell houses," he said.
The golf course is surrounded by mountains, which provides a "stunning" backdrop, Andrews said. It will be one of the top 10 courses in Nevada, he said. A $10 million, 12,000-square-foot clubhouse is planned with a grill, locker rooms, pro shop, lounge and banquet room.
Reno attorney and political lobbyist Harvey Whittemore purchased the Coyote Springs land for $15 million in 1996. California-based defense contractor Aerojet was the previous owner, obtaining the land in a federal land swap in 1988 for use as a rocket-testing faclility.
Because his cost basis is so small on the land, Whittemore could sit on the project for a while without any serious repercussions, housing analyst Dennis Smith of Home Builders Research said.
"He can just use the golf course as a way to advertise the community, waiting until demand improves," Smith said. "I am told the golf course is finished and is beautiful. I talked to somebody today who played it last weekend."
Contact reporter Hubble Smith at email@example.com or 702-383-0491.