Readers of LA DREAMS Magazine have unparalleled quality of life expectations, and as the exclusive resource for this lifestyle, you count on us to continually deliver only the epitome of luxury and affluence.
In our last issue Escapes, we took you for a ride down the exciting and luxurious Las Vegas Strip for an exclusive interview with the Chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts, Jim Murren. This time we take you off The Strip and into not only the premier community of Las Vegas, but the best place to live in all of southern Nevada: Summerlin.
Twenty-six years into development, this master-planned community has everything the discerning, affluent resident could desire. A brand new Downtown opened in 2014 with high-end shopping and decadent restaurants. Green space is abundant with hundreds of parks, 10 golf courses, and miles upon miles of trails. Both public and private schools are unmatched in quality of education, creating the perfect environment to raise a family. Last but certainly not least, the spectacular Red Rock National Conservation Area is the backdrop to your stunning home- built by only the top homebuilders in the nation, of course.
But Summerlin isn’t finished yet. With more room to expand, this community has big plans to set an entirely new standard for luxury living.
How do you improve a community that is already best in its class? To answer this question, we sat down with the man leading the charge, Kevin T. Orrock, President of Summerlin.
For more information on the Summerlin Community and everything Summerlin has to offer, visit summerlin.com.
KEVIN T. ORROCK: PRESIDENT, SUMMERLIN
LA DREAMS MAGAZINE: Summerlin is in its 26th year of development. Beyond sales activity, which is just one indicator, what keeps the community at the top of the list as the premier place to live in southern Nevada?
Kevin T. Orrock: When Summerlin was conceived more than a quarter century ago, there was nothing like it in southern Nevada. In fact, Las Vegas, while synonymous with world-class hospitality, was not known at that time for its quality of life. Summerlin helped to change that in a significant way, setting the bar high via a new breed of development – a thoughtful master-planned community guided by a vision and development standards that have ensured it continues to unfold as the premier place to live in the Las Vegas valley. Its appeal is created by stunning homes designed and built by top national homebuilders as well as amenities not found elsewhere in southern Nevada. This unparalleled list includes more than 250 parks, 150-plus miles of interconnected trails, ten golf courses and Summerlin’s own 106-acre downtown that has changed where and how southern Nevadans shop, dine and socialize. When Downtown Summerlin opened in October 2014, it forever altered the retail landscape not only for Summerlin residents but for residents throughout the valley.
Summerlin’s location adjacent to Red Rock National Conservation Area, easily the most spectacular natural geographic landmark in southern Nevada, offers world-class hiking, rock climbing and cycling, not to mention a magnificent view as the community’s signature backdrop. Summerlin’s elevation, higher than the rest of the valley, delivers stunning majestic mountain and Las Vegas cityscape views in addition to slightly cooler temperatures and an expanded palette of naturally occurring vegetation – both significant advantages in a desert climate.
Home to many of the valley’s influencers, captains of industry, professionals and leaders, Summerlin attracts those who seek and appreciate quality of life. In fact, the community’s residents are its best spokespersons. Their choice to live in Summerlin speaks volumes about the community’s enduring appeal.
In fact, Summerlin was just named the #4 best-selling master-planned community in the country, according to a mid-year sales report by leading national real estate consultant, RCLCO. The community topped last year’s new home sales numbers by 12 percent, moving up two positions from its 2015 ranking at #6. The numbers don’t lie. Even into its’ 26th year of development, Summerlin continues to dominate new home sales and maintain its position as the best place to live in southern Nevada.
Despite the community’s longevity and its expansive size at 22,500 acres or 36 square miles, there are still approximately 7,000 gross acres left to develop. That means many exciting developments are still on the horizon. Just this year, we opened a new resident community center and pool and developed an indoor aquatic center that will be owned and managed by Clark County. We are also opening a new village and have another new village in planning and design. Downtown Summerlin continues to add powerhouse brands to its line-up, and our joint venture partner, Discovery Land Company, is moving lightning fast on development of The Summit, a 550-acre resort community in which nearly half the exclusive home sites are already sold, underscoring the high demand for true resort-style living in Las Vegas. Of note is the fact that many of these home sites have been purchased by individuals who make Las Vegas their home. For Discovery Land Company, this is unique. In other markets where the company has communities, most homes are purchased by those who do not reside there. With The Summit, we’ve come full circle. Just as nothing like Summerlin existed in the early 1990s when the community was in its infancy, today, nothing like The Summit exists in southern Nevada. The Summit sets a new standard in luxury living that continues to raise the bar for elegance and exclusivity in Las Vegas – a city with a penchant for luxury.
DREAMS: The Ridges is home to many of southern Nevada’s influencers, business and community leaders and even celebrities. What distinguishes it from other private enclaves in Las Vegas?
Orrock: The Ridges, as its name implies, sits high above the valley on the western rim of Summerlin adjacent to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area and the ridgeline that frames this spectacular village. It is home to eight custom home neighborhoods, Jack Nicklaus’ Bear’s Best golf course and hundreds of the city’s founding families, entrepreneurs, executives, artists and professionals. While The Ridges boasts some of the most stunning desert contemporary architecture in the valley, its natural setting and elevation is what sets it apart from other luxury enclaves in southern Nevada. Views from The Ridges are exceptional from sunrise to sunset and encompass both the glittering Las Vegas Strip and the dramatic rocky ridgeline that forever protects The Ridges from future development. A true sanctuary, The Ridges is a world apart from the hustle of the city, yet it’s only a short 20-minute drive from the excitement of the Las Vegas Strip.
DREAMS: Discovery Land Company (DLC) is a joint venture development partner with The Howard Hughes Corporation on The Summit, one of 20 world-class resort-style communities in DLC’s portfolio. The Summit is currently taking shape in Summerlin just south of The Ridges. What drew the company to Summerlin, and in particular, this location?
Orrock: For starters, both Discovery Land Company and Summerlin share a mutual foundational focus on family. Summerlin was envisioned as the best place in Las Vegas to raise, grow and nurture a family, offering the valley’s best private and public schools and more parks and sports fields than any other community in southern Nevada. Likewise, Discovery Land Company was founded on an enduring love of family and nature and a deep personal desire to create intimate communities where families can forge lasting bonds, create intergenerational memories, and enrich their lives in exquisite and untouched sanctuaries.
The two brands also share a passion for their natural surroundings. Discovery Land Company makes use of natural materials, native landscape and creative design that provides a balance of indoor and outdoor living ideal for quiet moments, family gatherings and effortless access to world-class amenities. Residences are planned to maximize views of the Red Rock National Conservation Area and the Las Vegas Strip, creating the most exclusive luxury living experience in Las Vegas.
These two brands are natural partners: Summerlin is one of the country’s most compelling real estate success stories offering an unparalleled quality of life in Las Vegas; Discovery Land Company is committed to creating communities with no equal. Discovery Land Company is the perfect evolution for Summerlin, bringing to the community already known for its hallmark lifestyle, beauty and vibrancy, the ultimate level of luxury, sanctuary and service that does not yet exist here.
DREAMS: What will The Summit bring to Summerlin? Why is this development so special for a community that is by all accounts, in a league of its own when it comes to accolades, awards and long-term appeal?
Orrock: It’s hard to imagine that life in Summerlin could get any better, but with Discovery Land Company, The Summit brings to the community peerless private luxury that also comes standard with access to all the greater Summerlin community offers. Add to that the ease and convenience of the 215 beltway providing a 20-minute drive to McCarran International Airport and private air terminals, The Summit in Summerlin is a win-win. And when Summit residents desire a night out on the town, their Summerlin location provides immediate access to all that Las Vegas offers as the Entertainment Capital of the World. The Summit’s success and highly anticipated arrival in Las Vegas is evident. Nearly half of the available custom lot inventory is already sold – well in advance of the Fall 2017 anticipated completion of the community’s Tom Fazio golf course.
DREAMS: Downtown Summerlin, which opened in 2014, was a game-changer for the master-planned community, bringing 106 acres of dining, shopping and entertainment to residents on the west side of the Las Vegas valley. What’s next for Downtown Summerlin?
Orrock: Since opening, Downtown Summerlin has welcomed approximately one million visitors each month, opened 125 retailers, steadily brought in new tenants and is now more than 90% leased. The initial phase consists of 1.4 million square feet of mixed-use development on 106 of the approximate 300 developable acres in the heart of Summerlin. One Summerlin, Downtown Summerlin’s first Class-A office building, is currently 70% leased; and Downtown Summerlin area’s first multifamily residential development, Constellation, a joint venture of The Howard Hughes Corporation and The Calida Group, is now leasing 124 luxury rental units.
Making headlines this year are several first-to-Nevada additions to Downtown Summerlin, led by Crate and Barrel and Dave & Buster’s, both game changers in their respective categories and highly anticipated by consumers, diners and shoppers. Other recent new notable names include Buy Buy BABY from Bed Bath & Beyond; H&M; Maggiano’s Little Italy; Oil & Vinegar; and Fabletics co-founded by Kate Hudson, another exclusive Nevada location. Securing unique and strong brands has always been paramount for Downtown Summerlin to ensure we meet the needs of our customers and the community, so we are particularly proud of our expanding line-up.
DREAMS: You have been with The Howard Hughes Corporation – or its predecessor – Summa Corporation – for more than 40 years. Tell us about your remarkable career.
Orrock: I started my career with The Howard Hughes Corporation (then Summa Corporation) in 1974 working in the accounting department of the famed Desert Inn Hotel, which was then owned by Howard Hughes. I held numerous accounting and finance positions before being named treasurer of the corporation in 1991 – a time when Summerlin was in its infancy. Prior to the settlement of Hughes’ personal estate, I managed its entire cash portfolio, an amazing opportunity and privilege that significantly shaped my career. In 1996 when The Rouse Company acquired The Howard Hughes Corporation, I retained an executive role, overseeing financial operations in Nevada. In 2004, when General Growth Properties acquired The Rouse Company, I moved to operations, overseeing land development activities in Nevada. Today, as president of Summerlin, I am honored to oversee all functions of this remarkable community. I am very proud of the fact that Summerlin continues to maintain its position as the region’s leading and standard-setting master-planned community. We are particularly pleased with the launch of Downtown Summerlin that brings world-class dining, shopping and entertainment to the heart of our community. We are excited about its evolution as a true urban core in the midst of suburbia, attracting a new generation of millennials, professionals and providing empty nesters with the opportunity to right-size their lifestyle. It’s been an amazing ride with The Howard Hughes Corporation and Summerlin. I am proud of everything the community stands for and the achievements of my amazing team who works so hard to continue to grow and evolve both the community and brand as the premier place to live in southern Nevada.