When Bob and Kathy Consolino first decided to move to Chandler, they wanted to be closer to their son and escape the snow-filled driveways of Colorado.
But the exact location of their new home is also a lifestyle choice.
This week the couple will move into a new home in the south Chandler community of Solera, becoming the 500th home buyer in Del Webb's first active adult community in the East Valley.
So-called active adults — normally defined as people age 55 and older — want things to do, and Solera is designed with activity in mind.
For example, Solera offerings include an 18-hole golf course, fitness center, a 4,500 square-foot event facility and a community calendar full of clubs and events.
Located near Gilbert and Riggs roads, Solera's gated community on 606 acres has sold more than half of its 1,149 homes and expects to reach capacity by mid-2005 — more than a year ahead of schedule.
Solera's popularity is fueled by several factors, including the quality of construction and the changing needs of older, often retired, but active residents with diverse interests.
Bob Consolino said they had previously visited the area and enjoyed the climate, but read about the East Valley and were attracted by the reputation of Pulte Homes, which merged with Del Webb two years ago.
"We had sold our house and were ready to buy," he said. "We have a son who works and lives in Chandler, and we knew Pulte was known for its quality."
The community's sports facilities, clubs and activities, as well as further commercial development in south Chandler, have boosted home sales, said Randy Paul, sales manager at Solera.
"A lot of our residents like being removed from a major metro area but still have access to major services like strip centers, malls and medical facilities," Paul said. "The East Valley has become an easy place to get around."
The typical adult buyer coming to Solera is also looking for more than "a place to live and grow old," he said.
Alyson Austin, director of communications for the Home Builders Association of Central Arizona, said Del Webb's success with Solera and other communities has come from its ability to identify with a constantly changing adult population.
"The aging population is living longer and growing more active," she said. "I don't know if this is an East Valley trend as much as it's researching what they want and building a community for them."
This includes the first wave of baby boomers who are reaching age 55, the minimum age requirement for most active-adult communities.
For a community such as Solera, "there's available land out there, reasonable weather and the type of amenities that today's active adults are looking for," Austin said. Pulte doesn't plan to stop there. The company recently purchased property for future adult communities at Johnson Ranch in Queen Creek and at Peralta Trail in Gold Canyon, a neighborhood without age restrictions.