In 25 years, Sun City adds nearly 8,500 new homes, 15,700 inhabitants
Del Webb is the developer of Sun City. (Courtesy of Hunter Pontious)
In 25 years, Sun City has established itself in the Georgetown community, becoming a major contributor to the city’s growth.
In 1996, the neighborhood represented 4% of the city’s total population. In 2020, it jumped to represent 20% of the city’s total population, according to city demographics.
Located northwest of Georgetown, Sun City is an active living community for residents 55 and older. The community, which opened in 1996, initially offered 522 units and had 940 residents. By 2021, that figure has risen to 8,488 homes and 15,700 residents, according to the data. That’s a growth of over 1,520% for homes and residents.
Developed by Del Webb – founder of the first Sun City in Phoenix, Arizona – city of Georgetown Downtown & Historic Planner Britin Bostick said the company had the foresight to bring the community to the outskirts of the city before the Austin boom .
“[Del Webb] built the community in Georgetown at a time in Texas when Austin was at a very early stage of cooling off, ”she said. “Williams Drive didn’t have all this development; it was literally in the country.
History of Sun City
Sun City began in the 1960s, debuting in Arizona and California, before coming to Georgetown.
Sun City Texas, first named Sun City Georgetown, began when Del Webb purchased approximately 7,000 acres of land in the western part of Georgetown, said Sun City executive director Jim Romine.
As of March 2021, 4,750 acres of the total had been developed, said Stephen Ashlock, vice president of land development at Pulte Group, Del Webb’s national brand.
In 1995, the city council approved a plan in February for the development, and in May the project began with the construction of the first model homes starting in October, Romine said.
In the spring of 1996, Sun City’s first residents moved in with 122 homes sold in the first two weeks of operation and 613 homes sold after 54 weeks, Romine said.
Today, Romine said Sun City has become what Del Webb initially envisioned in the ’90s: quality retirement homes with planned communities, providing an active lifestyle for adults over 55.
“Sun City is a defining example of the blending of the natural environment and the community,” he said. “Georgetown, with its rolling hills, holm oaks, lakes and creeks, and its location at the gateway to famous Texas Hill Country, is the perfect place for a Sun City.”
A city-wide impact
Georgetown continues to be a fast-growing community, consistently ranked in the top 10 fastest growing cities in Texas since at least 2015, according to data from the US Census Bureau. Sun City has played its own part in this growth.
“Considering our size, the community has a big impact on the city, the county tax base, voting, volunteering, youth mentoring, shopping, traffic, health care, etc.”, Romine said. “In my opinion, there are not many areas in [Georgetown] that Sun City hasn’t influenced in one way or another. “
As Sun City continues to grow, Georgetown, particularly further north and west, away from Georgetown Square, which was once the hub of business, Bostick said.
“I think [Sun City] has provided many directions for our growth, ”said Bostick. “As Sun City has grown, you see a lot of this commercial development starting to push north and west, towards Sun City, because we have so many residents there now that we it doesn’t necessarily make sense to have all the services downtown, 8 km away when you can get them closer to consumers. “
Business developments, such as Randalls, Mann Eye Institute, Sedro Crossing Medical Retail, according to the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce, can now appear, more and more quickly, to accommodate the growing number of consumers thanks to Sun City.
“Having a community like Sun City that is active in the city and having fun and spending money in our stores and restaurants helps our economy; it helps make our retail business more vibrant, ”said Georgetown City Manager David Morgan.
Romine added that Sun City residents have been a great asset to the city, playing an active role in the community, from volunteering on Citizen Advisory Councils to mentoring students.
“[Sun City residents have] have graciously given their time and talents to make our community better, ”said Romine.
Morgan said the city’s advisory boards, including the Park Support Board, Library Board and Animal Shelter Board, have never had a hard time filling spaces because of Sun City residents. .
Georgetown ISD Superintendent Fred Brent said residents are also quickly helping the district, whether through mentoring students or providing financial support for scholarships, acting as key leaders of the GISD Education Foundation, that generates money that goes back to the classroom in the form of teacher grants.
“They are essential to our success as a school district,” said Brent. “I couldn’t be more grateful to the men and women of Sun City. For the time they give to our students and the support they provide to our programs.
He added that Sun City’s impact on the neighborhood is immeasurable.
“[Sun City residents’] the greatest value is their presence, support and involvement in the lives of our students and in our programs, ”said Brent.
Active living community
Within the community, Sun City is dedicated to providing an active lifestyle for its residents.
With more than 50 clubs, nine advisory boards and neighborhood representative organizations, that’s exactly what it does, said Jenny Phillips, Sun City’s director of communications and lifestyle.
For Iris Chaufee and her husband Wayne, it was the location of the community and easy access to medical services that led them to move in, but it was the camaraderie with neighbors and making friends. through parties and book clubs that kept them in the region for 12 years.
“We were living on Lake Limestone in east Texas when we started worrying about the isolation, where the fire trucks and ambulances would come from,” said Iris Chaufee. “We had known Sun City for several years, so we thought this would be a good place to start looking.”
For other residents, the best part of life in Sun City is being able to retire while remaining physically and mentally active.
Sun City announces a host of amenities including golf courses, swimming pools, a woodworking shop, nature trails and more.
There are also several groups and organizations that individuals can join.
“I moved to Sun City after I retired, but I didn’t want to retire from being an active person,” said Barbara Dorrah, a resident. “Sun City gave me the opportunity to keep my mind engaged in meaningful activities, while also providing much-needed physical exercise. I needed to live in an active retirement setting, and I found that in Sun City.
While Sun City plans to hold several events for its 25th anniversary throughout 2021, these are on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic and most Sun City residents are at risk of becoming seriously ill if they contract the disease. disease, said Phillips.
“Right now we are taking things slowly due to the pandemic as our community is a high risk community,” she said. “Once Williamson County came out of the [the pandemic], we will safely amplify our celebration.