PHOENIX-Phoenix-based Del Webb Corp., the nation’s leading developer of planned communities for active adults, is changing its business model in hopes of luring aging baby boomers into its fold.

A new strategic business plan, presented to investors on Wednesday in New York City, calls for new business models, operational efficiencies and levering its brand into ancillary businesses. “This plan is a substantial change in the way the company conducts business,” says LeRoy Hanneman, Del Webb president/CEO. “Del Webb is unquestionably the leader in the most attractive segment of the housing industry. We did not win or sustain this position by resting comfortably upon the cushion of one good idea.”

Historically, Del Webb has built huge communities with thousands of homes, exclusively for people aged 55 and older. Hanneman says that his company will continue to add to its 17 large-scale Sun City and other active-adult communities, while expanding on its newer, already popular multi-generational, country club community concept.

With the first of 76 million boomers entering the company’s 55 plus target market next year, the firm is now considering new business models for communities that appeal to the mindset of a grown-up hippie generation, which vastly differs from that of current Del Webb-community homeowners. Concepts under consideration include: smaller active-adult communities, ranging form 1,000 to 3,000 acres; communities with greater emphasis on country club amenities, new “specialty” multi-generational communities with amenities that appeal to boomers still raising families, and master-planned communities that offer lots to selected homebuilders or joint-venture partners.

Del Webb is also exploring various ways to extend its brand to new business ventures, such as building broadband infrastructure to provide related services in the firm’s large-scale communities and developing commercial real estate adjacent to its properties. Additionally, the company is looking at partnering with other brand-name providers to offer financial services and wellness programs targeted at its 55-plus market and establishing strategic alliances with organizations that provide other services aimed at the demographic profile of its customers.

“The company will pursue joint venture arrangements with other real estate companies that can create ‘win-win’ opportunities across the country” says Hanneman. John Spencer, Del Webb EVP/CFO, adds, “In the future, we will implement off-balance sheet land acquisitions through joint ventures, seller land financing and land options. We have always been an innovative company and today that innovation is focused on delivering shareholder value. This strategic plan will undoubtedly position Webb as the industry leader for decades to come.”

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