Rooftops will start going up next year in the Rocking K master-planned community near Saguaro National Park East.

Pulte Homes, Lennar and KB Home will build 558 houses in the first phase, with models expected to open late next year at Valencia Road and Old Spanish Trail, Tucson-based Diamond Ventures announced Friday.

Work on the 5,000-acre community is expected to begin soon and will include a park and a new K-8 Vail public school.

“Years ago, my father Donald R. Diamond recognized Rocking K as a gorgeous piece of land with an exceptional foothills location,” said Helaine D. Levy. “Our family, Diamond Ventures, and a team of experts have carefully planned for this day. It’s an exciting day for us.”

More than 30 years in the making, the Rocking K development’s amenities and scope have changed over the years.

“We appreciate all the work that has gone into getting to today and look forward to continuing that collaboration so that Rocking K will be our region’s premier master-planned community for years to come,” said David Goldstein, president of Diamond Ventures.

Rocking K is located in Vail, near the Rincon Mountains.

The first phases, south of Old Spanish Trail, will be only single-family homes. No commercial or multifamily development is planned, said Priscilla Storm, vice president of Diamond Ventures.

Although a golf course is allowed north of Old Spanish Trail, no land planning is underway for future phases at this time.

Asked what finally moved the needle on this development, Storm said it was “the market and builder interest.”

She expects the Rocking K site to rival the beauty of homes in the Catalina Foothills and those around the Ritz-Carlton at Dove Mountain in Marana.

“We’re going to work with the natural beauty that’s there,” Storm said.

“It is absolutely historic,” said Will White, of Land Advisors Organization, who brokered the homebuilder sales for Diamond Ventures. “It really is a game changer in so many ways, from the strong tone it sets for the Tucson market to the positive impact it has on the Vail area.”

Amy McReynolds, president of KB Home Tucson division, and her local team are all native Tucsonans and have eagerly awaited Rocking K’s opening.

“Our ability to be part of this pioneer stage is fantastic,” she said. “It’s an iconic piece of property that is a Diamond legacy and for us to be able to put our name on it feels surreal.”

KB Home’s neighborhood will be next to the park with single and two-story models. Home pricing will be determined at a later time.

Representatives from Lennar and Pulte Homes could not be reached for comment Friday.

Records from the Pima County Recorder’s Office show KB Home paid $8.1 million; Lennar paid $9.6 million and Pulte Homes paid $19.6 million for their lots.

That revenue, Storm said, is committed to infrastructure on Valencia Road, the spine road through the development — Rocking K Ranch Loop Road — the park and utilities.

More details on the future community are expected to be announced in coming weeks.

Contact reporter Gabriela Rico at grico@tucson.com or Facebook.com/DailyStarBiz.

Reporter

Gabriela's newspaper career began at the Tucson Citizen in '86 as the "movie-times girl" where she'd call local theaters for showtimes. Since then, she's written about crime, education, immigration, trade and business. She's been with the Star since 2007.