Sparing no expense, builders construct luxury show home

Nevada property larger than 10,000 square feet

April 13, 2003|By KNIGHT RIDDER/TRIBUNE

HENDERSON, NEV. — A 10,000-square-foot house. Say that to yourself a couple of times, just to let it sink in.

The average square footage of a new American house is 2,300, and there are plenty of 4,000- and 5,000-square-foot residences overwhelming their undersize lots.

But 10,000 square feet? (Actually, 9,842 square feet air-conditioned; 13,035 total, including outdoor living space.)

Here's the best way to describe it: You invite a couple of hundred people to a party, and the house is so spacious that someone can find a room to be alone in for five minutes.

Get the picture?

The sponsors of HomeDestinations at Southern Highlands, who call it a "villa," include Builder and Home magazines.

The market: rich baby boomers, because the focus group used was made up solely of wealthy women, including the wives of professional gamblers.

A 2001 survey of 800 baby boomers by the Del Webb subsidiary of Pulte Homes found that only 8 percent wanted houses "that were luxurious with lots of perks," but 8 percent of 78 million people can result in a lot of 10,000-square-foot, $7 million houses.

Boyce Thompson, editor in chief of Builder, which sponsors a show house at the International Builders Show each year, called this one outside Las Vegas the magazine's most ambitious to date.

Construction costs reached $400 a square foot, probably 2 1/2 times or more than a luxury house costs to build in this area, depending on the builder and the location.

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