Gay and Lesbian Retirement Community Lures Buyers in Arizona

Marigold Creek, a resort-style retirement community marketed toward gays and lesbians, might face more trouble developing its property in Surprise, Arizona, because of the economic climate than the opposition of the community's clientele.

On March 26, representatives from Out Properties Development hosted a buyers' event, for which 46 potential purchasers registered.

Deborah Purvis of Out Properties said she has heard more people say the company is crazy for moving forward in the current economic climate than for building a community for gays and lesbians in Arizona.

"We're hopeful that when all is said and done that the economy will have (righted itself)," she said. "My partner asked me if I was crazy doing this."

Purvis said the community has received support not only from the city but from potential buyers.

She said Surprise officials seemed pleased that anyone is building and that initial reaction from buyers also has been uplifting.

The project still has to wend its way through the Surprise planning and zoning process and, should it remain on schedule, Marigold Creek should open the first units late next year.

Many of the 46 people who registered for the event traveled to Arizona from out of state.

The first phase consists of more than 80 total units and will include single-family homes and condominiums.

Twelve of the 17 single family homes in Marigold Creek have been reserved.

That's not to say that things have been perfect for the development.

Purvis said she did not expect the community to garner much attention from "mainstream media." But that hasn't been the case.

"We have read some negative reaction to stories online," she said. "One in particular, in reference to a blog, said 'Don't bring gays to Surprise.'

"Don't they know?" she said. "We're already here."

One potential buyer, Greg Bogan of Glendale, said he isn't worried about negative outcry about the development, and said he looks forward to being in a community of people like himself.

He said he is no different from homeowners who chose to live in other retirement communities, which cater to a certain age group.

"I look forward to downsizing," Bogan said. "I want to travel and not having to worry about a yard makes that easier.

"It's not that different," he said.

Bogan moved to metropolitan Phoenix 10 years ago and was initially worried about the acceptance of the gay and lesbian community. He said he has been pleased with the reaction and thinks that a development aimed at his demographic is an excellent idea.