Toll Brothers and Lennar come together to create one of Irvine’s most luxurious master planned communities of the year
By Abby Pittman
Orange County is already well known for luxury. And real estate here is prime. Buyers want the best possible location and are not afraid to pay for it, as we’ve seen with the rising home costs that are abundant in Southern California.
“You hear the words ‘resort-inspired’ used to describe a lot of master planned communities in the area, but we wanted to create something that could really stand up to that,” California Coastal Division President for Lennar Jeremy Parness explained. “We wanted to create a one-of-a-kind, luxury community in Irvine with beautiful homes, incredible amenities, and guard-gated privacy.”
Altair is a master planned community comprised of 840 luxury gate-guarded homes built by two of the biggest and most recognizable homebuilders in the nation: Lennar and Toll Brothers. With a total of 10 neighborhoods, the multi-story and detached homes range from 2,909-6,579 square feet, with three to six bedrooms and prices ranging between roughly $1 to $2 million.
“In real estate, as anyone is quick to tell you, the most important attribute is location, location, location,” Vice President of SDK Atelier, Dustin Karami, emphasized. “Altair conspicuously demonstrates this essential principle. The natural setting is spectacular, well-suited for luxury homes.”
As the architect for Toll Brothers, SDK Atelier were in charge of three separate neighborhoods in Altair. “While Toll Brothers was our client for this development, SDK has worked extensively with each of these builders, and we continue to work with them,” Karami explained. “Our on-going relationships helped us to anticipate their design preferences and ultimately benefitted in the collective collaboration and cohesiveness of these neighborhoods.”
Toll Brothers offers four neighborhoods, three of which are designed by SDK Atelier: Meridian, Solano, and Estrella. Lennar offers six neighborhoods: Aurora, Celestial, Eclipse, Solstice, and Starlight. It is no wonder that, with this kind of curb appeal, design emphasis, and cohesiveness, Altair won a Gold Nugget Award of Merit for Master Plan of the Year.
That’s not to say there were not challenges along the way. SDK Atelier explained that when given a program that includes matching lot dimensions and nearly identical building footprints, it is very demanding to achieve variety in your design and very easy to succumb to the same plan organization and elevation massing. This is multiplied when your client prefers that the primary entrance to the home be centralized. To answer these constraints, “varying garage designs, strategic single-story frontal massing, large covered entries, and front-facing, expansive decks are just some of the elements of design that help to distinguish each home and individual elevation,” Karami explained. “Over-sized and detailed architectural elements, as well as an expansive use of decorative materials such as stone and precast concrete, add to the allure of each home.”
It is not just the look that elevates this community, but also the details that went into it. Green features such as solar panels, low-e windows, programmable thermostats, tankless water heaters, radiant barrier roof sheathing, LED lights, and low VOC interior paint are just some of the features that Altair boasts. Lennar also integrated their signature Everything’s Included® program, which allows homeowners to manage lights, front door locks, music, movies, blinds, and more remotely on a smart device or with voice control from Amazon Alexa.
This technology, and the fact that the community is guard-gated, is what set Altair apart. “It’s one of the only guard-gated master planned communities you will find in the area. [Altair Irvine] showcases incredible design and top-notch facilities, and really helps to embody the resort-inspired lifestyle,” Parness explained. “We were inspired by the perfect blend of old and new, a fresh take on traditional architecture, and homes with cutting-edge features and technology. From the streetscape, to the incredible two amenity centers and the homes themselves, everything was designed to include genuine quality and luxury in every detail.”
When designing a huge luxury master plan such as Altair Irvine, it is essential to keep a cohesive, yet individual, feel to the homes. “Since each of the products that we developed are in the luxury home category, and all were designed for the same builder, it was challenging to differentiate these homes substantially,” Karami explained. “One of the most notable attributes that we were pleased with is evidenced as you enter each home and transition from one neighborhood to the next. It is the sense of scale and identity of each plan. Beginning with the smaller product line and progressing up from there, each new home genuinely seems to get larger, and in essence show off more. Not in a superior or flashy manner, but in a natural progression.”
This master plan has done spectacularly well so far, with many homes being sold. Lennar and Toll Brothers have come together to create a one-of-a-kind new home community at Altair Irvine, and SDK Atelier has given Toll Brothers a beautifully designed product that proves the attention to detail is paramount to a beautiful community.
Abby Pittman is the Editor of Builder and Developer magazine. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com