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Southern Highlands a draw for Raiders

The Raiders now call Las Vegas home, and for many Raiders’ high-profile players, coaches and high-level executives, that home has turned out to be in an enclave of Southern Highlands some 4½ miles west of the team’s headquarters and practice facility.

From head coach Jon Gruden to quarterback Derek Carr, the exclusive gated community of 1,000 homes surrounding Southern Highlands Golf Club within the 10,000-home master plan has shown to be a preferred destination for other big names of the NFL organization as well, including Pro Bowl safety Lamarcus Joyner. On the executive front, there is team President Marc Badain, Senior Vice President Tom Delaney and offensive line coach Tom Cable, according to Clark County real estate records. Others in the organization are leasing in Southern Highlands or looking to buy too, several Realtors said.

Raiders owner Mark Davis is apparently one of those in the market to buy or to build a new home in the valley. In December 2017, Davis paid $8.5 million for a 1.21-acre lot in The Summit, the exclusive golf resort community in Summerlin, according to county records. The paperwork shows it remains an unimproved vacant land.

West Henderson, Green Valley and the surrounding unincorporated Clark County have proved to be attractive for players, coaches, team executives, administrative staff and out-of-state Raider fans, according to Realtors.

Southern Highlands is celebrating its 20th anniversary, and it’s getting plenty of attention from the luxury buyers. On the west side of Interstate 15, it’s not only less than five miles away from the Raiders’ practice facility, which is under construction, but it’s 10 miles down the freeway from $2 billion Allegiant Stadium, where the Raiders will play.

That destination contrasts with the NHL’s Golden Knights, whose players prefer to buy or lease in Summerlin, where their City National Arena practice facility is located.

Southern Highlands, known for its Tuscan and Mediterranean designs with clay tile roofs, ornamentation, arched windows and compartmentalized rooms, was ranked as the No. 4 bestselling master plan in the nation in 2004 when it had 1,795 new home sales. It was considered, however, one of the last of the major master plans in Las Vegas to recover for luxury sales after the Great Recession. Buyers were turning to more modern designs in Summerlin and MacDonald Highlands, where Tuscan and Mediterranean aren’t allowed.

Southern Highlands since has relaxed its design standards in the past two to three years to allow more of a modern look in new construction.

Southern Highlands has been a destination for some Southern California residents looking for easy access to I-15 heading south and for those who fly their planes out of Henderson Executive Airport.

Mitch McClellan, president and broker of Southern Highlands Realty, who said he has been selling in the master plan since its inception, said its location and amenities are playing key roles in the interest for the guard-gated enclave.

“The Raiders as an organization were much more predisposed to live in Southern Highlands than the Golden Knights because of their practice facility,” McClellan said.

“The majority of the transactions in the past 12 months have been associated with the Raiders’ organization, whether it be coaches, personnel or players. And I don’t think we’re through with that yet.”

McClellan said the past two months would have seen more sales, but the COVID-19 pandemic and the social distancing that has placed limits on showing occupied homes have slowed down the buying process.

“They were waiting until the spring to come in and make their move because they were scheduled to have training camp in Napa, California,” McClellan said. “They weren’t going to be here until July, and I think a lot of them said they were going to start their search beginning in March.

March and April were dramatically different in the world and Las Vegas than we ever anticipated. Time is running short, and they’re trying to scramble whether it’s to purchase or lease something. I have received calls (recently) with people saying we have to find something and Southern Highlands is our place of preference. I think we will see an impact now with the state reopening.”

The average sales price inside the exclusive golf club community in Southern Highlands is more than $2 million.

The few properties with price tags less than $1 million are villas on the golf course. Southern Highlands has 9,000 homes including those outside the club community that go for $500,000 on average, he said.

“The ones I have worked with want to be inside the Southern Highlands golf club guard gates,” McClellan said. “They want to join the club and participate and enjoy the benefits. It doesn’t take many transactions in a 1,000-home golf course community to make a difference. If you get 25 transactions based solely on one organization, it has a huge impact on supply and interest and activity. The Raiders aren’t consuming every potential property in the golf club, but there’s been a positive impact.”

Gruden, Carr homes two doors down

In September, Real Estate Millions reported head coach Gruden and his wife, Cindy, with quarterback Carr and his wife, Heather, were building new luxury homes near each other in Southern Highlands. Gruden’s home remains under construction by Growth Luxury Homes and is expected to be completed by this summer. The two-story home, which has two lots totaling about 1.7 acres, measures 8,000 square feet and has a six-car garage.

Two doors down from Gruden is Carr’s home in the neighborhood known as Augusta Canyon. The couple closed on the finished home in November for $3.6 million. It was built by Transcon Pacific Co., which is owned by Marcelo Cardenas.

The two-story home, which lives like a one-story, measures 8,723 square feet and has five bedrooms, eight baths, office and an eight-car garage. It has a hybrid model that combines Tuscan and a midcentury modern look that is now allowed in Southern Highlands.

“That’s why Derek bought it because it has a cool look to it,” said Stan Hicks, a broker and salesman with Coldwell Banker Premier who represents the builder. “They modified it and customized it to be their own house. We closed on it without any landscaping or pool because they wanted to do about $1 million more work there after they closed. They wanted an elaborate pool and elaborate landscaping and custom privacy wall across the front of the house with two automatic gates and sports court. Their pool is so elaborate that (it) goes into another pool. And they have a guesthouse.”

Transcon is building a nearby spec home that is nearly completed. It is listed for $3 million and $3.5 million if a pool and landscaping is included. The builder is hoping to draw interest from members of the Raiders or other athletes and coaches.

“You couldn’t touch that in Silicon Valley for less than $7 million to $10 million,” Hicks said in talking about the value players are finding in Las Vegas.

Steve Escalante, development director of Growth Luxury Homes, said they have two spec homes under construction of 8,000 square feet to 10,000 square feet and priced at $4.8 million and $5.9 million. One will be done within 30 days and the other in 60 to 90 days.

“It was a stroke of luck to have the team’s practice facility near this community,” Escalante said. “The plan is to possibly sell it to someone in the organization.”

McClellan said purchases by Raiders throughout the valley will be limited because many of the players on the 55-man roster don’t have long-term contracts or large financial deals. Most in the organization who have found places already are executives, player personnel staff, coaches and coordinators, he said.

“The players were trailing that process, and then again once they have settled in, renewed contracts and got through the draft, there’s been limited access to go out and look at properties,” McClellan said. “If we open the doors more to real estate transactions, you will see more take place this month and into June.”

Like other Realtors, Hicks agreed that there aren’t a lot of players who are looking to buy multimillion-dollar homes. Careers aren’t stable, and they can easily rent or buy something less expensive.

Carr is under contract with the Raiders through 2022 for $125 million, according to sports news outlets.

“With Carr and Gruden and the high-profile clients, they’re going to have a house no matter what, and they can afford to drop a couple of million and it’s not a big hit for them,” Hicks said. “But a lot of these guys won’t be doing this. In professional football, you can be traded in a heartbeat, or they have their main house in the hometown where they are from.”

The Dallas Business Journal reported May 9 that former Cowboys tight end Jason Witten has placed his $4.7 million Mediterranean-style, 8,800-square-foot mansion on the market as he heads to Las Vegas. He signed a one-year contract with the Raiders in March for $4 million.

Hicks said he has heard from agents that some players are renting $1.5 million to $2.5 million homes in Southern Highlands for $10,000 a month.

“That’s probably the best way to go for them since it’s only $120,000 a year, and then they don’t have to deal with the taxes and maintenance, Hicks said.

Ken Lowman, owner of Luxury Homes of Las Vegas, said Raider players he has come across have decided to lease homes “to get to know the city a little bit and make sure their career is going to be stable.” He said those players will look to buy after they’ve been in Las Vegas for a year or two, but for now the ones he has dealt with are looking at properties that lease from $5,000 to $15,000 a month.

“I see a lot of them looking at Southern Highlands, Anthem Country Club, Seven Hills and MacDonald Highlands,” Lowman said. “Some want to be in Summerlin for the family environment there.”

Kristen Routh-Silberman, a Realtor with Synergy Sotheby’s International and the master listing agent for MacDonald Highlands, said her community has seen a lot of Raiders looking to lease, buy existing homes and purchase lots to build a new home but would not say if any have done so.

“We have seen a lot of Raiders in the last two months,” Routh-Silberman said. “It’s super exciting. The Raiders are so nice, so polite, so professional and very financially astute. I can’t say enough about all of the people we have met. It’s the complete opposite of that pirate and rough-and-tumble image.”

Other Raider purchases

Clark County public records and the Multiple Listing Service show there were several sports figures who purchased luxury homes in Southern Highlands in the past few years. Some of them are:

■ Raiders safety Joyner closed March 19 on a home for $1.35 million. It has four bedrooms and measures 4,119 square feet, according to listing information from Peter Beckers of Realty One Group. Brandon Bueltel of Coldwell Banker Premier was the buyer’s agent.

■ In early 2019, Badain paid $2.13 million for a home built in 2019 in Southern Highlands. It is a six-bedroom home measuring 6,250 square feet.

■ In February, Delaney, senior vice president and director of football administration, closed on a $1.6 million home in Southern Highlands. It was built by Christopher Homes in 2004 and since renovated has three bedrooms and measures 4,677 square feet.

■ In June 2018, Cable closed on a four-bedroom, 5,000 square-foot home for $1.7 million.

■ Outside of Southern Highlands and Henderson, the condo towers of One Las Vegas, 8255 S. Las Vegas Blvd., which are between the team headquarters and Allegiant Stadium, have been a popular destination for fans from the Bay Area. Head coach Gruden’s son, Deuce, a strength and conditioning assistant, paid $399,900 for a two-bedroom condo measuring 1,338 square feet at One Las Vegas, according to public records.

■ Tackle Kolton Miller paid $1.3 million for a home built in 2019 at MacDonald Ranch in Henderson. It measures 4,049 square feet with five bedrooms. The deal closed in November, according to Clark County records.

■ Cornerback Trayvon Mullen paid $615,000 for a two-story home in Henderson in a deal that closed March 24, according to public records. The Green Valley neighborhood home measures 3,316 square feet with four bedrooms, a pool and a spa, according to the MLS.

Camila Lincowski, a Realtor with Platinum R.E. Professionals, served as the buyer’s agent for Mullen, according to the MLS.

Lincowski said she has a nondisclosure agreement and can’t talk about Raider clients but said she has players looking at Inspirada and other parts of Henderson and the Turnberry condos near the Strip as well.

“A lot of them are not here, and I’m doing virtual showings for them,” said Lincowski, who said she was able to represent Raider players by following them on Instagram and asking if they needed an agent.

“There are so many homes in the Inspirada and Henderson area that it’s hard for them to choose,” she said. “They definitely want a pool because of the heat.”

■ In January, second-year fullback Alec Ingold closed on a town home in the Tuscany master plan in east Henderson for $281,890, according to country records. It has three bedrooms and measures 1,664 square feet, the MLS said.

■ Second-year defensive end Maxx Crosby closed on a home in Green Valley in February for $480,000. The two-story Henderson home measures 2,951 square feet with four bedrooms. It was built in 1990, according to county records.

Las Vegas Realtor Heidi Holly, founder and owner of Lifestyle LV, represented Deuce Gruden and Crosby, according to the MLS. She said most players are focusing on being close to the practice facility, but a few have bought in Summerlin. Some have made purchases recently, but the sales haven’t closed escrow, she said.

“Most are looking at Henderson and Southern Highlands,” said Holly, who grew up in Fremont south of Oakland.

“They don’t want to be caught in traffic. From whatever they are living in at Alameda (California) what we have here is amazing. They can get a lot for their money. No state income tax and no traffic that’s comparable to what they have over there.”

Holly said she is looking for homes, either leases or purchase, for some of the newest players on the roster who haven’t been able to travel to Las Vegas yet. There are a lot of unanswered questions including whether the Raiders will have training camp in Napa this summer as scheduled.

“COVID is throwing everybody off,” Holly said.

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