b'Arizona Developers Work to Modernize Resorts as the Snowbird Demand SoarsWhile developers are looking for oppor- and fixing up RV parks and resorts acrosstunitiestodevelopnewresortsforthe the southern half of the state.snowbirdmarket,operatorsofexisting There are a lot of RVs coming throughparks are making significant investments in Arizona and there are not enough high-qual-ity campsites for them, Watsonsaid, adding that todays RV en-Torrey Trails will offer amenities on par with exclusive country clubs when it is opened next fall.thusiastswanttostayinwellmanaged parks that offer highquality RV resorts in Florida, which is with a large glass wall on one side and quality amenities. why Jennings Realty is building new one wall that rolls up, so the fitness cen- The Watson brothers have re-parksandlookingforparkstopur- ter opens to the outdoors. The resort cently invested more than $3 mil-chase, she said. will also have disc golf capability, as well lioninimprovementstoparksSunkissed Village offers both RV sites, as a full restaurant and poolside grill. A they own and operate throughas well as sites for park model RVs, with dog park and doggie splash pool will Watson Brothers LLC. Jennings acting as a dealer for Chariot also be provided for guests who travel These improvements include: Eagleand Champion Homes.with their pets. ArizonaWestRVPark inIn addition to providing full hookup Wallace, a 30-year RV resort industry Gold Canyon recently installed a new swimming pool.Yuma: The Watson brothers areRV sites with water and sewer service as veteran,isalsobusyontwoother investing $200,000 to $250,000 towell as 50- and 100-amp electrical con- Florida projects. These include adding their properties to retain or increase their upgrade the electrical infrastructure andnectionsandbrickpaverdriveways, 279 sites to Southern Leisure RV Resort competitive edge. make other improvements in this 225-siteSunkissed Village offers numerous on- in Chiefland, which opened in January Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Roberts Resorts park. Improvements include a remodeledsite amenities. These include a club- 2019, and building the first phase of recently invested more than $90,000 in Wi-Fi clubhouse, pool and spa. Plans are also un-house with a commercial kitchen and Keystone Heights RV Resort inKey- improvements at Pueblo El Miragealone in derway to install new shuffleboard, bocceevent space, a game room, as well as a stoneHeights,thefirst125sitesof an effort to keep up with guest demands, ac- ball and pickleball courts during the upcom-fitness center, restrooms and showers. which are expected to be available by cording to company President Scott Roberts. ing winter season. The resort also has a large heated fall of 2020. The company has also invested moreDeer Valley RV Park in Phoenix: Thisswimming pool with a paver deck, con- Looking to the future, developers say than $1 million in improvements at Gold 200-site park, which the Watson brotherstemporary outdoor seating, a Tiki hut there will continue to be demand for Canyon RV & Golf Resort in Goldand grill area, as well as an outdoor gas new,highqualitysnowbirdparksin Canyon, Ariz., alone, installing a Palm Creek is continually being improved to meet the ex-fire pit. Pickleball, bocce ball and shuf- Florida and other states across the Sun- new swimming pool, patio area, pectations of the growing number of snowbirds it attracts.fleboard courts are also available, along belt.newlandscapingandotherwith a winter activities program. Other They also anticipate that snowbirds amenities to modernize the re-amenities include a dog park and dog will stay at existing parks that continue sort, which was originally devel-washing station with hot water. to make improvements. oped in the late 1980s.We added a really cool bistrowith fire pits. We put in tall resort-style date palms and wrappedthem with lights. Its very resort-like, said Roberts, adding, Theresort experience in the 80s wasdifferent from the resort experi-ence of 2020. Weve got to step it up. acquired in 2018, is being completely reno-Roberts added that he sees other RV re- vated with $1 million worth of improvements.sort companies, including Chicago-based The Watsons plan to build a new clubhouse,Equity LifeStyle Properties(ELS) and South- check-in area and swimming pool, whichfield, Mich.-based Sun Communities Inc., they hope to have completed by January.making major improvements at Arizona re- They are also adding 14 more pull-throughsorts as well. RV sites. Upriver RV Resort caters to snowbirds that may still be We continually put money back into theDeserts Edge RV Parkin Phoenix: Theworking, while also trying to enjoy the snowbird lifestyle. properties every year, said Scott Houle, Watson brothers recently completed aboutwho oversees two Sun Communities resorts $250,000 in improvements to this park, whichEd Mayer, of Plaza Lodge LLC, ex- Much of Floridas RV site inventory in Arizona, including the 2,500-site Palm they acquired in late 2017. They have up-pects to break ground on Little Orange is 25-plus years old, and there is a fairly Creek Golf & RV Resortin Casa Grande and graded the parks electrical infrastructure,Lake RV Resort in Hawthorne, Fla., next sizeablegroup(ofsnowbirds)that the 283-site Leaf Verde RV Resort in Buck- remodeled the pool area, office and club-fall with the first phase of the resort would prefer to be in a newer resort that house, installed new land-opening by spring of 2021. The 600-site offers larger sites, better security and an Deserts Edge has undergone significant up- scapinganddogparks,luxury RV resort will be built on 377- amenity package that is useful and re- grades, including the addition of 22 sites. added22campsites,andacres of undeveloped land bordering sort like, Harvey said. resurfaced the parks roads.Little Orange Lake. HeaddedthatsnowbirdsliketoFriendly Acres RV Re-This is going to be a beautiful resort, know what their options are. sort in Yuma: The Watsonsaid Mayer, who is managing partner of There are always some snowbirds brothers have made aboutPlaza Lodge LLC. We have 4,000 linear that want to move around during the $1.5 million in improvementsfeet of shoreline along the lake. winter, Harvey said. We see that its to this 400-site park, whichThe resort will include 40 by 80-foot usually those that are in their first year, theyacquiredtwoyearsRV sites as well as modular cottages, all or two, of enjoying the Florida Snowbird ago. In addition to renovat-of which will be available for rent. Lake lifestyle. The idea is that they want to see ing the parks swimming poolamenities will include a fishing pier and different parts of the state and/or differ- and the interiors of five dif-a boat launch area, as well as a scenic entpropertiesbeforetheydecideto eye, which it acquired last year. ferent buildings, including the park office,gazebo on the waterfront. Plans are also build a nestso to speak. Then, once With Leaf Verde being a new acquisi- dining hall, recreation room, billiards roomunderwaytodeveloprecreational theyve found a nest, we still see a size- tion, were doing a ton of upgrades, Houle and bathrooms, the Watsons have restuc-amenities, including ziplines and all- able group of snowbirds moving around said. coed and reroofed the buildings and up-terrain vehicle trails on the 377-acre based on where their friends are, or if ELSs Monte Vista RV Resortin Mesa re- gradedalloftheelectricalconnectionsproperty. they have become unhappy with a cer- cently completed a new section with 237 RV throughout the park to 50-amp service. NewHarpaz, Harvey and Wallace, for their tain property in some way. sites in addition to adding a new check in of- pickleball,bocceballandshuffleboardpart, are busy building Torrey Trails RV While some snowbirds may be too fice and pool area, while the companys courts and a new dog park are also beingandGolfResort,whichwillinclude tiredortoooldtoconsidermoving Verde Valley RV Resort in Cottonwood is installed and the parks roads are beingmany amenities. again once theyve settled into a park adding 62 new sites. resurfaced.The resort, built on the site of the Tor- they like, the younger ones are always Park operators Jimmy Watson and hisPalm Drive Mobile Home and RV Parkrey Oaks golf course, will feature a nine- on the lookout for better options.brothers, Joe and George, are seeing such in Wickenburg: The Watson brothers havehole golf course with mature oak trees For the most part, Harvey said, the high demand for quality RV sites for snow- invested more than $200,000 in improve-as its marque amenity. The park will also resorts with better amenities will attract birds in Arizona that they are actively buying ments at this 100-site park.WCMhaveastate-of-the-artfitnesscenter the newer, younger snowbirds. WCMWOODALLSCM.com January 2020-19'