Piazza and Front Sight in
A BUILDER WITH A TARGET
AUDIENCE: GUN LOVERS
Section: NEW HOMES
In the course of my duties here, I've come across residential
enclaves that appeal specifically to golfers, airplane owners,
horse lovers and even to Latvians. But a development that's
in the works near Las Vegas surely sets a new standard for "specialty
To be precise, developers have received initial approval from
planning officials for a gated community to be called Front
Sight, which eventually will have 177 custom homes and 350
condominiums on 550 acres. What it will also have is more than
a dozen shooting ranges.
Front Sight is the brainchild
of Ignatius Piazza,
who for several years has run a firearms training school near
Bakersfield, Calif., also called Front
Sight. When he began plans to expand his school to the Las
Vegas area, he said his students gave him the idea to create
a vacation resort for gun enthusiasts. "The next request we
got from them was, 'This would be a great place to have a vacation
home,' and one thing led to another," he said.
Ignatius Piazza said the
initial land development has begun on the parcel, which straddles
two counties in the middle of the desert, about 10 miles from
the nearest town, Pahrump. The residential portion of Front
Sight will be on one side of the development, the shooting
ranges (and the gunsmith facility, armory, gymnasium, rappelling
wall, defensive-driving track and, oh, yes, the SWAT training
tower and storm tunnels that double as a subterranean rescue
training course) will be at the other. Plans for the various
stages of the community include a landing strip as well as a
community center, a private school for kindergarten through
12th grade, and retail stores.
He says the residential portion of Front Sight should be open by the end of next year, but, initially,
at least, you can't just buy a lot there: Front
Sight is selling memberships, and those at the "platinum"
level pay $240,000 in return for lifetime access to all the
facilities and events, plus a one-acre lot that they can build
a home on. Piazza told me earlier this month that he had 25 platinum members already,
with one more likely to join soon. There are also varying degrees
of memberships available, ranging downward to $7,200, he said.
the concept to a high-end private golf club, except without
the golf. He said the condominiums wouldn't be for individual
ownership, but for visitors who want to spend a week or more
at a time using the shooting facilities or taking classes, which
tend to be heavy on handgun and riflery skills but include seminars
on submachine guns.
"We're taking the idea of a Pebble Beach kind of golf resort
and applying it to the firearms-training industry and giving
it a first-class, resort-quality facility," he explained.
Unsurprisingly, he says he has gotten a lot of attention since
he announced his plans a couple of months ago. "The response
has been overwhelmingly supportive, but we've had a few people
who don't understand it," he said, explaining that his development
and company have no connections to any political or militia
"The people who are interested and are purchasing here are
doctors, attorneys, accountants, successful business owners,
and upstanding, law-abiding citizens who are very successful."
Still, I'd count on the homeowners' association meetings being
pretty lively. If you want to know more, Front
Sight's toll-free number is 800-987-7719; Web site is http://www.frontsight.com/.