Last weekend Shea Homes came to town to give an invitation-only crowd a sneak preview of its upcoming Trilogy at the Vineyards resort community. Inside the tents it was clear that capitalizing on, not concealing, far East County's landscape - visually, culturally and historically - was vital to the builder's plan.
Trilogy at the Vineyards will be built on 481 acres between Concord Avenue and Marsh Creek Road, adjacent to the historic Marsh Stone House and the proposed Pioneer State Park. The community's gated neighborhoods will comprise 1,100 homes nestled among active vineyards and olive groves.
Its club will be a locus of activity, offering a fitness facility, resort-style spa and wellness center plus gourmet studio. Plans also include an adjacent 18 acres of commercial and retail development, boutique winery and outdoor amphitheater.
Shea Homes will be putting Brentwood's Trilogy community on sale starting in September. Its models are expected to be open for touring in mid-October and construction on its club completed by October of 2007. The entire buildout will take approximately four years.
Last weekend's "Flavors of Living" Wine and Lifestyle Celebration was no whispering promise of things to come, but a tour de force of promotion, information and inspiration. The event accommodated more than 2,000 invitees, requiring a staff of 60 drawn from the local area and another 40 brought in from Trilogy's Arizona offices.
KRON 4's Doug McConnell, host of "Bay Area Backroads," jump-started the presentation by reminiscing about his far East County connections (his grandfather was born in Brentwood back in the 19th century) and emphasizing his affinity to the baby-boom generation - Trilogy's target demographic.
McConnell turned the stage over to Dan O'Brien, Trilogy Area President of Northern California, and Stephen Tindle, General Manager of Trilogy at the Vineyards. The execs passed the mike back and forth, explaining the Trilogy philosophy. "Our mission," said O'Brien, "is to enhance people's lives" through the trilogy of exploration, connection and wellness.
To that end, added Tindle, Trilogy resort communities (of which Brentwood's will be the eighth nationally) incorporate programs forlearning and travel, encourage interpersonal relationships in a well-knit community, and provide athletic clubs, spas and recreational opportunities to Trilogy residents.
Guests then retired to the second tent, where "experiential vignettes" designed to give them a taste of the Trilogy lifestyle lined the walls. In one, actors portraying East County icons John and Abigail Marsh regaled guests with anecdotes emphasizing the area's rich history. In another, food enthusiasts were invited to try their hand at gourmet pasta preparation under the guidance of chefs from Tracy's Bartoni's Trattoria.
The Sawa Spa gave visitors a deep massage, while the community's future Delta Athletic Club demonstrated proper workout techniques. And Brentwood Golf Club put a putter in guests' hands and offered tips on how to drain those pesky five footers.
Indicative of the geographical draw of Brentwood's Trilogy community was San Ramon resident Norma Armtrout, recently retired from the staff of St. Mary's College. "This would be close enough to let me see my grandkids," she said. Like many event guests, Norma wanted to "hear more specifics on models and prices," but was nevertheless impressed with the presentation. Brentwood residents Tom and Joyce State, whose experience with property in Discovery Bay and Palm Springs gave them a special perspective, were "attracted to the resort lifestyle flavor" of Trilogy. "We're past boats," said Joyce. "But we play a lot of tennis."
Shea Homes' choice of Brentwood is far from random. "This is one of the last pieces of prime land in the area," said Tindle as he strolled through the Club Los Meganos booth. "That's how we create unique communities, by tying them back to the local area," he said, citing Brentwood's John Marsh connection, agricultural profile and proximity to regional beauty and recreation as important factors.
Sunday night the tents went down, and a couple thousand people began considering their response to a thousand new houses about to go up.