It was more than eight years ago that Rich MacDonald set out to develop a different kind of hillside community. The Mediterranean theme that dominated the rest of the valley would not be part of the mix at MacDonald's secluded enclave in Henderson. Instead, his estate homes at MacDonald Highlands would reflect a Desert Elegance theme.
From the beginning, the builder's idea was to construct estate homes with the average house at MacDonald Highlands being in the range of eight to 10,000 square feet. Lately, buyers have been wanting even larger homes, closer to 25,000 square feet, according to company officials. One of the newer additions to the neighborhood has more than 35,000 square feet, MacDonald said.
In some areas of MacDonald Highlands, homes are tucked away with unique rock outcroppings on either side of the lot. Into the mountain range MacDonald has constructed lots that blend into the hillside. These mansions are attracting families that have homes in Malibu and other exclusive areas dominated by the old (and new) guard of the film industry, among others. According to county records, a mansion at MacDonald Highlands recently sold for a Las Vegas-area record $19 million, including $1.5 million worth of furniture. The seller was Mark Wattles, founder and chief executive of Hollywood Entertainment Corp., and the buyer was Nancy Walton, widow of Wal-Mart co-founder Bud Walton.
"When I came to these mountains the first time, I could see it," said Rich MacDonald. "I knew that people who loved Malibu, who loved Maui and other places known for spectacular sunsets, would visit once and be hooked for life. Every night on the mountain, we are blessed with not only incredible sunsets, but the most amazing view of the Las Vegas Strip.
"We watch the planes float into the valley, but you can still watch hawks soar through the sky. There is no other way to explain it," MacDonald said. "Nothing comes close to the views, the homes and the community that has been created here. I am so proud to live here and be able to be a resident of this place. There is no better place to live."
Within MacDonald Highlands there are smaller neighborhoods of a dozen or so homes being built behind additional gates. Most of these exclusive properties are sitting on large lots starting at just under $1 million.
Tiger Woods hosted two of his early celebrity tournaments at DragonRidge. Today it is maintained in top condition with low player volume. The clubhouse at the country club has become a center of nightlife with the restaurant's views dominating the entire scene.
Behind the 24-hour guarded entry gates, the neighborhood has several acres of park areas, tennis courts, playgrounds, fitness trails and grassy, tree-lined areas. MacDonald Highlands is the lowest-density neighborhood in all of Southern Nevada, with fewer than one home per acre.
To visit the community's information center at 1730 W. Horizon Ridge Parkway, take Interstate 215, the Las Vegas Beltway, east to Valle Verde Drive and travel south to the corner of Valle Verde and Horizon Ridge Parkway. The sales office is open seven days a week. For more information or to schedule a private preview of MacDonald Highlands, call 614-9100.