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Tucson To Get First Lesbian Housing Development

Jim Burroway

August 14th, 2008

Olivia Community I’ve often remarked to visitors about how open Tucson is for LGBT people. We really don’t have anything resembling a “gayborhood” here, but you see gay people everywhere you go. I once manned a booth at our local gay pride where we asked people to place pushpins on a map of Tucson representing where they lived. By the end of the day, there was nary a street or neighborhood untouched, and there were very few recognizable clusters in between.

One familiar company wants to literally build on that spirit:

Olivia Communities will be a 334-unit resort-style living community in Tuscon, Ariz. Although anyone can purchase a home, the company is targeting lesbians. “My whole vision of this has always been about creating community and creating a place where we can not only be free… but also the kind of community where you’re really connected with the people there and feel comfortable and happy in your environment,” said Judy Dlugacz, president and founder of Olivia Companies.

What makes this community unique, Dlugacz said, will be the social aspect. Women from their 20s to their 80s have put down deposits on condos in the development, though the most women fall in the 55- to 70-year-old age group. Olivia plans to have a full-time events coordinator who will bring in live entertainment, including comedy events and film festivals, and who will coordinate tea dances and other parties. Group excursions will be arranged to nearby locations like Las Vegas and Mexico.

Interest in the new development has been fairly high so far. Olivia has received 40 deposits and hundreds if inquiries since announcing the project in July. Construction begins when 400 deposits have been received.

Cindy Jordan-Nowe, co-chairwoman for City of Tucson Commission on GLBT issues, believes this will be a good fit for Tucson. “Tucson is a very inclusive community, years beyond other places in the country as far as embracing diversity and accepting and protecting LGBT people,” Jordan-Nowe said.

Update: The proposed development will be at the intersection of Williams and Craycroft. It appears to be the site of an already existing apartment complex, which I presume they intend to renovate and turn into condos. In the greater scheme of things, it’s not a particularly scenic part of town, but its central location could be a draw — and it’s just three and a half miles from Tucson’s favorite saphic bar, Ain’t Nobody’s Bizness.



William T Walker
August 14th, 2008 | LINK

So – you will segregate the lesbians into a small (but nice) ghetto. How thoughtful. I am waiting to see if their rights are improved.

August 14th, 2008 | LINK

I don’t think anyone could call this development a “ghetto”, but I do have personal reservations about the whole concept. . .a gated community like this is reverse “seperate but equal” mentality.

I understand the concept, but I think it’s a little self-serving.

Ben in Oakland
August 14th, 2008 | LINK

no, it’s just making sure that hwen you are old, you can live iwth people whom you are ocmfortable with. Getting old is enough without adding homophobia to the mix.

Patrick ONeill
August 14th, 2008 | LINK

All that I can say is that any lesbian couple that spends their money buying a house in a State that is planning on amending their constitution to take away their rights gets what they deserve.

Buyer beware.

This looks like it would be a great idea in California or Mass or ….

But just because Tucson is friendly doesn’t mean that the State is

Jason D
August 14th, 2008 | LINK

Hate to point out the obvious, but folks are free to live wherever they choose. If someone wants to start a welcoming but lesbian-centric sub-development, and people want to buy homes there, I don’t see what the problem is.
It’s funny, I live in Chicago. It has various neighborhoods started by certain members of various ethnic groups. There’s Chinatown, Greektown, Boystown attracts the young hip gays, Andersonville the lesbians and gay men who’ve retired from the party scene as well as young families. Ravenswood and Humbolt Park are primarily latino, The artists & indie types live in Logan Square and Wicker Park. Anybody and everybody is permitted to live wherever in the city they can afford to, but everyone knows and acknowledges the history and populations of these various neighborhoods. They started organically, no one really mapped out the areas, but I don’t see what the hub-ub is of creating a lesbian-friendly environment — why this would be considered “ghetto” in some weird way, i have no idea.

August 15th, 2008 | LINK

I know this development is for people of all ages, but personally, if I had the means to live in a beautiful home where being gay was accepted, I like the idea of living in gay/lesbian housing when I’m old. Older gays and lesbians are often isolated. Although, I certainly wouldn’t live in a state with a anti-gay marriage amendment if I could choose.

August 15th, 2008 | LINK

Give me a remote island in southeast Alaska and I’ll start my own little gay community.

August 15th, 2008 | LINK

I kinda have to agree with the first two posters. While not a ghetto, during times of opression, banning togetherm sticking together, etc. makes sense and has a sense of pride. But as acceptance settles in, integration should be the main idea. I think another entry on here noted that some area was so gay friendly because gay residents were so numorous, spread out, and not clustered. People need that day-to-day interaction with gay people to remind them we’re normal, as odd as that sounds. Going into a seperated community is moving against that, in my opinion, though you have the right to live were you wish.

As to Jason D, they’re all still located in Chicago and the amount and diversity of the ‘hoods are enough to drive an idea of equality of many. seclusion of one group, I think, drives a different message

Jason D
August 16th, 2008 | LINK

“As to Jason D, they’re all still located in Chicago”

And this community will be placed in Tucson. Nothing indicates they are starting some lesbian town on the outskirts.

” and the amount and diversity of the ‘hoods are enough to drive an idea of equality of many.”

How does that also not apply to the situation in Tucson? I don’t see the difference.

” seclusion of one group, I think, drives a different message”

Such as the Amish? I don’t see a lot of people up in arms about forcing some artificial diversity on Amish country.

I just don’t think that every time a group of people decide that they’d like to live together that this is some type of isolationist attempt, or some sort of bigoted decision.
And it says right in the article, anyone can buy a home, but the company has decided to target lesbians. That’s hardly seclusion.

The goal of diversity, from my understanding, is to be open and accepting of others. But THIS almost sounds like, “oh, you can’t buy houses together in the same area because you have something in common.” I don’t think the goal of diversity is to keep people who have common interests from freely associating with each other.

August 17th, 2008 | LINK

Hey – this sounds like a great thing! Olivia has always been in the forefront of creating new possibilities for us in the women’s community. I for one will be calling to see if I can be part of this. For those of you who don’t know Olivia, they do incredible travel for women and have been around over 30 years. It’s just another miracle they are putting together for us. So thanks, Olivia…for taking another incredible leap of faith for us. I don’t think Olivia plans to exclude or ghettoize…sometimes it’s just more fun and meaningful to have a special space. Now a living community. It’s just more fun that way!



August 19th, 2008 | LINK

It will be very interesting to see how this plays out in a place like Tucson, which, as Jim pointed out, doesn’t really have identifiable gayborhoods despite having a few clusters of gay-friendly businesses. I wonder if they’ll get the hundred deposits they set as the minimum to make the project a go, and if that means Risky Business will no longer be a reliable place to get a table on a Friday night.

September 28th, 2010 | LINK

This is a dream come true for lesbians who just want to be around women like themselves. We live in a world of lonliness because of being different from most people. This will help make up for it.

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