The motor homes were finally empty. The dusty gravel parking lot once full of hopeful future homeowners was now deserted. Fold-out blue camping chairs were abandoned, half bottles of water and empty soda cans were left on tables covered in white linen.
The future neighbors crossed the street early Saturday to the Mountain Bridge welcome center and model home village to finally purchase their new homes.
Some had camped for nearly a week, while some had spent a single night waiting for their number. The community is offering certain deals to the first 100 people signed up for early registration. The Blandford Homes community, located west of Ellsworth and McKellips roads in Mesa, is special to the buyers for different reasons and made it something they were willing to wait for.
Brent Grandil, of Gilbert, had been searching for a home for about a year when he came across Mountain Bridge. Grandil had camped in the parking lot since Tuesday night.
He liked the value as well as the location and was anxious to be called, holding the 15th spot in the 100 available numbers.
Real estate agent Sandy Gesberg, of Queen Creek, said her clients were also excited about the beautiful mountain views and Tuscany-inspired signature homes. Gesberg also wanted a spot in the community, holding number 101 in hopes that she would be called.
"There hasn't been this kind of excitement about new model homes in a while," Gerberg said.
The hopeful homeowners, seated under large white tents, were called up in order and seated with a real estate agent to pick their lot. Once a lot had been taken, a red "sold" sticker was placed over it on a large billboard community map.
Mountain Bridge spokeswoman Lori Anderson said the community will stretch across 717 acres of land and build close to 1,210 homes over the next five to six years.
"We've got ground-floor pricing today," Anderson said.
The area offers homes from $250,000 to $800,000, but she said the prices would go up after the initial purchases.
She said many of the people had been waiting for several years for the location in the desert uplands to open. But they surprised builders by camping out in the area.
After seeing the positive response, she said the builders were awarding $1,000 toward home upgrades for every night people camped out. The decision to give money to the campers was made early Saturday and the planners were working diligently to pass out all the checks.
Mike and Terry Cipolletti, of Mesa, currently live in a Blandford community and were pleased with their experience. Mike came down Friday to check out the homes and quickly placed his name after he realized 57 people were already ahead of him for their own plot and design choice.
"I didn't plan on it," he said.
Ian Moyes, of Whiterock, Canada, wanted to find something in the Phoenix area, and visited the area Friday to sign up. He plans to live in Canada and use the Mountain Bridge home as a vacation spot.
"It's not your everyday community," Moyes said.