Desert Carmel began in the early 1960's when ten investors began the Desert Carmel Development Corp. The main purpose of Desert Carmel Development Corp. was subdividing, developing and selling real property in Pinal County, Arizona. The original development plans included roughly three-thousand aces. One of the original ten developers for Desert Carmel was Pat Boone, who was Desert Carmel's first president as well as a board member. Although Mr. Boone owned just under twenty percent of Desert Carmel, his involvement appears to have been strategic, as he had gained a reputation for being an honest, wholesome and religious man. The original investors planned to capitalize on Mr. Boone's reputation and trusted name to attract and lure buyers from all over the nation, for the sole purpose of purchasing lots located in Desert Carmel. In fact, the project itself was billed as "Pat Boone's Desert Carmel." Mr. Boone made radio commercials, appeared in film strips, movies and slides, made endorsements in news paper ads, and appeared on a large billboard advertisement at the property site welcoming prospective purchasers to the Desert Carmel development. Within three years of Desert Carmel's start, these marketing and advertising activities were carried out on a national basis, with Mr. Boone's name being inextricably connected with the Desert Carmel development. Despite pouring roughly 100K of his own money into Desert Carmel, the project failed due to slow sales and a lack of working capital to cover its expenses.
Pat Boone's name proved to be inconsequential to the development, as the investors continued to struggle to sell lots located within the Desert Carmel subdivision. Eventually, the Desert Carmel Development Corp. closed its operations. It is rumored that Desert Carmel Development Corp. filed for bankruptcy, however, I have been unable to substantiate that information. What is certain is that the "dream" the original investors had was never realized.
Since its birth, Desert Carmel has gone through a variety of owners. Some of these owners had good intentions, while others did not. As Desert Carmel passed through these various entities, little to no progress was made. On the contrary, we see that Desert Carmel only suffered rampant decay and erosion. The community pools were closed and filled with dirt, and the two community club houses were eventually abandoned. The lovely palm trees that once lined the community are dead and vegetation has overtaken the land.
Under the previous majority owner, the association was forced into receivership because the majority owner and other board members were accused of misappropriation of funds. Although the previous majority owner was never charged for any criminal activity regarding his role on the Desert Carmel Association board, he was eventually convicted of federal crimes, and as a result of that conviction spent time in a federal prison.
Currently, there are many Desert Carmel homeowners who take pride in their homes and the Desert Carmel community, but have struggled to find anyone who will care enough to listen and address their concerns. This year's annual member meeting, held on Saturday February 24th, 2019, showed just how concerned and apprehensive many homeowners are. They have been abused, ignored and taken advantage of in the past and their scars are obvious. Along with the condition of the land, property values have eroded over the years of neglect. Despite many homeowners efforts to keep their neighborhoods and properties clean and well kept, others who live within the community continue to flood it with trash and rotting cars. These homeowners long to see change, more transparency and honesty, but fear all they will see is the same inactivity and complacency they have come to experience over the years.
As of the start of 2019, not much has changed in the Desert Carmel community. The decay and erosion remain unchanged and the community remains deserted. However, with a new majority owner at the helm, one who has compassion and is moved by the plight of the Desert Carmel owners, perhaps the potential of Desert Carmel can finally be realized and the community will start to see growth in place of the decay it has known for so many years.
The information provided on this site was gained from the following resources, in addition to interviews with individuals knowledgeable of Desert Carmel's long history.