Moonlight Canyon at Saguaro Ranch

‘Its Own World’

By Tara Kirkpatrick

The ambitious new community, Moonlight Canyon at Saguaro Ranch by Miramonte Homes, radiates outward from a luxurious stone clubhouse in the nature preserve-like Saguaro Ranch.

And, as its developers say, the unspoiled vistas and canyons that serve as the majestic backdrop for these homes make Moonlight Canyon at Saguaro Ranch perhaps the last project of its quality in the region.

“This is its own world,” said John Angelini, VP of sales for Miramonte Homes and a designated broker. “We are taking this piece of Tucson and building quality, beautiful homes. You just don’t see this anymore. I don’t think anything compares to Saguaro Ranch.”

Located in northwest Tucson, the 1,200-acre Saguaro Ranch development is singularly accessed through a magnificent tunnel burrowed into a mountain. It’s unique to any other community in the region. “It really piques your curiosity,” Angelini said. “Once you go through that tunnel, it’s like you are not in Kansas anymore. It’s a dream location.”

Through a gated reception center, beautiful custom homes begin to line a roadway that ultimately winds back to Moonlight Canyon and the new Saguaro Ranch Club, the former home of the popular McClintock’s Restaurant. Now, the refurbished yet glamorously rustic digs serve as the heart of Saguaro Ranch – along with an expansive lap pool, jetted spa, fire pits, custom pickle ball and bocce ball courts and a rooftop fitness facility that offers unrivaled views of scenic Southern Arizona.

“This is the last project of this quality left in Southern Arizona,” said Miramonte Homes founder and CEO Chris Kemmerly. “It’s like Saguaro National Park.” That’s taking into consideration the numerous other high-end neighborhoods throughout Tucson, including Dove Mountain, Pima Canyon, Stone Canyon, La Paloma and Ventana Canyon. “This is really the last of these,” he said.

As one of the larger, private local homebuilders here since he launched Miramonte Homes in 1992, Kemmerly clearly has the vantage point to know. Miramonte announced its partnership with the Saguaro Ranch developers in August.

“Saguaro Ranch and the Moonlight Canyon community offer a unique opportunity for homebuyers to live in an environment with 80% open space,” Kemmerly said. “The infrastructure improvements that have been made in the community are so extensive that it is unlikely this would be repeated in any other location in Tucson.

“It is truly a one-time opportunity for homebuyers to live this close to natural open space while still enjoying the benefits of the infrastructure that has been invested in Saguaro Ranch.”

Moonlight Canyon at Saguaro Ranch offers 43 one- to two-acre lots with a choice of four, single-story models, ranging from 2,934 to 3,800 square feet, each thoughtfully designed by Robinette Architects, the firm instrumental in the design of the newly renovated Saguaro Ranch Club. Each home offers base pricing for contemporary, modern territorial or modern ranch styles and there are two options for adding casitas. 

“I was fortunate to have been asked to be involved in the design and conceptualization of the Moonlight Canyon lots, street layouts, clubhouse and model homes,” said Ron Robinette, a distinguished Tucson architect whose award-winning footprint here has spanned almost 40 years.

“During the land planning of the lots in Moonlight Canyon, I grew to appreciate and understand the beauty and ruggedness of the setting. Moonlight Canyon offers lots that are rich in character,” he said.

“The lots include hilltop lots with seemingly endless views – lots that are hillside settings to overlook the canyon and still other lots that allow a homeowner to enjoy the privacy of the canyon. All of the lots are characterized by dense vegetation and rugged boulders and cacti.”

Because these are semi-custom homes, the construction timeline is shorter than that of a traditional custom home − on average 12 to 18 months – compared to more than two years for a fully custom home.

“We are really doing the heavy lifting for the buyers,” said Angelini. “We are trying to make the whole building process more efficient for them.” That’s especially helpful for out-of-state buyers unable to travel to oversee a complex, custom build.”

The Moonlight Canyon semi-custom homes certainly offer the elegant finishes of a full custom home – such as oil-rubbed bronze hardware, brushed nickel ceiling fans, gas fireplaces in the master bedroom and great room, Kichler light fixtures and Emser tile in the entry, kitchen, baths and laundry, granite countertops and more. They are also energy efficient, have tankless water heaters, zoned AC and include smart home compatible features. 

Award-winning designer Lori Carroll, who has established herself as the region’s preeminent purveyor of luxury desert living over the past three decades, provides 10 hours of design consultation. She has won more than 100 local, national and international awards for her work, has been the focus of more than 200 features in 50-plus publications, appeared on regional and national design shows, and just released her new book, “Circle Square Balance Hue.”

Describing the environment as “absolutely incredible,” Carroll said she is looking forward to working with each new buyer. “For me and for our team, this makes a wonderful setting to be creative with rustic and contemporary design elements. With 43 homes, each of the interiors needs to have its own special reflection of the homeowner.”

The combination of Kemmerly, Robinette and Carroll is truly Moonlight Canyon’s “dream team” with the trio’s breadth of experience and years of respect across the region. 

“I think that Ron is incredibly talented and creative. What he has accomplished during his career in Tucson is remarkable.” Carroll said. “And Chris − the knowledge, professionalism and leadership he brings to the table is energizing. As I have moved through my career, it’s special to be working with such talented individuals.

“There are so many new and amazing products that have been introduced during COVID that aid in creating dramatic ambience so each residence is a true reflection of the each homeowner. They are smaller homes requiring delicate balance that is daringly different and infinitely beautiful which provides endless creativity.”

“Having worked with both Lori Carroll and Ron Robinette for over 30 years on a variety of projects, it is exciting to be partnering with them again on such a unique project as Moonlight Canyon,” Kemmerly said. “Lori, Ron and their respective teams have many years of experience and expertise in designing luxury custom homes. They understand what features are important to the luxury homebuyer and design homes to fit that lifestyle.”

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