La Bella Vita at Solterra.

The Solterra development -- already offering deals amid the real estate apocalypse

The ongoing fiscal crisis means that fewer people are in the mood (or have the means) to plunk down big bucks to purchase a home -- which presents a particular challenge to the entrepreneurs behind Solterra, a spectacular luxury community being developed on a sprawling tract near the newly constructed West Alameda Parkway exit on C-470 just east of the foothills. (Read earlier Westword coverage of the project here, here and here.) I strolled the grounds days after Solterra's September 20-21 grand opening celebration to find quite a number of homes completed and others in the midst of construction. Yet a flier I grabbed for one home, dubbed La Bella Vita, suggests that even developers attempting to appeal to those on the upper end of the economic scale are adjusting their expectations in these tight times.

The flier aptly describes La Bella Vita as a "charming two-story estate complete with towers, red-tile roof, flower beds, natural wood accents and arched windows. Visitors will appreciate a courtyard with a central water feature and a wine terrance with an overhead grape arbor, and cozy fireplace... Decks along the southern exposure of the house not only boast spectacular views but create an indoor/outdoor flow that capitalizes on the estate's drama." Other features include 4,388 square feet of space on the main levels, 2,386 square feet on the lower level, 671 square feet on the upper level, four "flexible space" bedrooms, seven baths and an oversized three-car garage and shop.

How much would you pay this "little slice of Tuscan paradise"? The flier originally set the cost at $2,599,500 -- but no more. The sum had been crossed out with Magic Marker, with a new price -- $2,450,000 -- handwritten underneath in green ink.

That's a savings of almost $150,000 for an abode whose subdivision is officially just over a week old. Call it a real-estate sign of the times. -- Michael Roberts

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