Santa Fe’s newest multihome development is targeting people at, or approaching, retirement age.
Rob Gibbs, owner of Arete Homes of Santa Fe, said Arbolitos at Las Estrellas is being designed with “universal design” characteristics: “With aging-in-place design, like wider doors, bigger bathrooms and kitchens that are easy to navigate, these homes will be suitable for a lifetime.”
The development is located off North Ridgetop Road, near the intersection with Tano Road. The first house was completed in late September and now serves as a model home — at least until it sells.
The two-bedroom, three-bathroom home totaling 2,185 square feet is on the market for $899,000. It features an open living area, plenty of storage, an outdoor portal and deck looking out over the city and out to the ski basin.
Gibbs said five more homes are under construction or pending. Their prices will range from $989,000 to $1.2 million. His company will build more than a dozen homes in Arbolitos. The others will be sold as lots, and the owners will build their own custom homes. Seven of those have already sold.
“Our buyers are 65 and older, and many are in the Santa Fe market and are downsizing,” he said. “We’ve also had two out-of-state buyers.”
Because of the hilly landscape, every lot is different, and all the houses essentially will be custom designed for their lots. The “topographical variety,” as Gibbs put it, means many of the lots offer great views. But they’ll also be trickier to develop, requiring more grading and the installation of retaining walls.
Gibbs is a third-generation contractor who has built more than 1,200 homes in Santa Fe since 1994. His first company was Robert & Sons LLC, founded in 1998, and his most recent is Arete Homes of Santa Fe, founded in 2015.
The other Arete Homes project is Villas di Toscana on Governor Miles Road. The available new houses there run from $325,000 to $450,000.
Gibbs developed Arbolitos with David Gurule, who helped oversee development of Las Estrellas for 20 years. The 525-acre Las Estrellas project is part of Santa Fe Estates, a development company founded 74 years ago by former New Mexico Gov. John Dempsey.
In the 2000s, before the recession, Las Estrellas saw the construction of more than 125 houses by Gibbs (and his previous company BT Homes) and by Chapman Homes.
“After we developed Ridge Pointe at Las Estrellas and then The Villas at Las Estrellas, we started on a third community called Piñon Ridge,” Gibbs said. When the recession hit, Homewise bought Piñon Ridge and took over its development — but the organization also hired Gibbs as its manager of real estate development, so he continued building those homes in a new identity.
The smallest lots in Arbolitos at Las Estrellas are about a third of an acre and the largest are more than 1 acre. The minimum square footage for houses, per the covenants, is 2,000 square feet.
“This is in the master-plan community of Las Estrellas, so we have one association for drainage and trail maintenance, and then there’s also a residents’ association with covenants,” Gibbs said.
Arbolitos at Las Estrellas is represented by Santa Fe Properties agents Elle Seybold, Peter Ferrara and Tom Abrams.