LAS VEGAS—If you're shopping for a luxury home and a Manhattan penthouse apartment or Malibu beachfront spread isn't in your budget, you might want to take a look at Ascaya, a new housing development in Henderson, Nev., about nine miles south of the Las Vegas Strip.
The homes here may feel isolated, in part because not many have been built, but if you love views of city lights, want to feel like you're king of the mountain and are ready to invest in a custom-built home, this community might be for you.
Ascaya is something different – and special. Views from the completed "inspiration" homes (Ascayas model homes) are impressive during the daytime and fabulous after dark when the stars are out and lights on in Las Vegas.
Ascaya's clubhouse in Las Vegas, Nevada (Shay Velich)
The development is comprised of 313 estate-sized lots carved into one square mile of the McCullough mountain range and fortified by 31 miles of rock walls that average 12 feet in height, according to a marketing brochure. When it was started in 2006, the Ascaya excavation project was one of the largest such sites in the country.
Not all of the homes here will have city views, but the developer's goal was for 70 percent of them to overlook the Strip, says listing agent Ivan Sher, a luxury home specialist with the Berthshire Hathaway realty brokerage company.
"The Strip is our ocean," Sher told reporters during the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors conference.
Nine lots, ranging in size from 16,530 square feet to 41,064 square feet, were for sale as of late June. Views and locations vary.
Ascaya's $25 million, 23,000-square-foot clubhouse features a large reception and social gathering area with white porcelain tile floors, 1,200-square-foot caterers' kitchen and 3,000-square-foot fitness center, according to a local news report. An outside terrace with an unobstructed city view leads to an 8,000-square-foot, zero-edge swimming pool.
The clubhouse is, "not even at the lot level, but you can see the views when you look out," says Sher. "It doesn't get worse than this."
The development's landscape palette was selected by Lifescapes International, the company that designed the vegetation at The Mirage, Bellagio and Wynn hotels in Las Vegas.
Poolside at Ascaya's clubhouse in Las Vegas, Nevada (Shay Velich)
The 'inspiration' homes
Unlike most builders' model homes, the "inspiration" homes at Ascaya are for sale along with the buildable lots.
A completed home at 8 Vista Crescent Court has five bedrooms and six bathrooms with 7,850 square feet of space on a 1.24-acre lot, according to a listing flyer. The asking price is $9.5 million.
A completed home at 3 Cloud Chaser Boulevard has four bedrooms and five bathrooms with 7,660 square feet of space on a .57-acre lot. A rear glass wall that's nearly 78' wide and 16' tall creates a panoramic view, according to a listing flyer. The asking price is $6.5 million.
The inspiration homes were positioned on their lots to enhance natural cooling. Still, Ascaya is located in a desert climate. Temperatures here can soar beyond 100 degrees in the summertime.
The inspiration homes' architectural style is Desert Contemporary, which borrows from Mid-Century Modern and California Contemporary, adapted to the desert environment. Building materials included wood, stone, copper and steel.
Desert Contemporary isn’t new to Las Vegas. In fact, the style has been around at least four or five years. Realty brokers told a local reporter that the style appealed to buyers who wanted a change from the area's traditional, Tuscan and Mediterranean homes. That's part of longtime national trend toward simpler, cleaner lines in home design and architecture.
"Our goal is that there will be no other project like Ascaya in the world for Desert Contemporary design," says Sher.
Ascaya's developer is 70-year-old Henry Cheng, the billionaire chairman of New World Development, a Hong Kong property development company.
Cheng initially invested $290 million to prepare the Ascaya home sites. The properties were taken off the market from 2009 until 2014, when Cheng invested another $65 million to build the clubhouse and inspiration homes.
Las Vegas has "come a long way" since the recession, says Sher.
"What's selling in Las Vegas is new construction homes," he says. "We get only a dozen sales a year (over $5 million). "In the last two years, half were Desert Contemporary. The traditional are selling, but selling at a loss. Contemporary is selling at a profit."
Luxury homes in this area start at about $2.5 million to $3 million. Sher says about half of the luxury-class buyers are local. The other half are mostly residents of other states, though some are foreign nationals from Canada or China.
The final word is Sher's.
"There is so much to say about Ascaya," he says, "but it's better if you experience it."