Development Feature: Unaweep Heights
Energy Star adds value to homes in one Orchard Mesa subdivision
Although construction has slowed down across the Grand Valley, it’s still occurring in some neighborhoods where new homes continue to sell, especially when they offer great value in an inviting area. Unaweep Heights, an Orchard Mesa neighborhood that was originally began by a different builder, is now a Western Constructors and RE/MAX 4000 development where homes have been selling slowly but steadily since the company purchased the 20 remaining lots in April 2008.
“We had developed lots in Fruita,” explains Bruce Milyard, president of Western Constructors, “but felt like there was an opportunity. We like the area and we liked the existing style of homes.”
The company began building as soon as they bought the lots, and has built and sold nine homes. Although new home prices have fallen since they bought the lots, the company has tried to be sensitive to those who bought earlier and has not lowered their prices on new construction, which could have caused property devaluation for existing homeowners. Instead, they have given additional amenities to new buyers, like front yard landscaping, tile flooring and vinyl fencing. Homes built today are also Energy Star.
“Even though Energy Star costs more to build, we’re absorbing that cost,” says Milyard.
Together with his Western Constructors partner, Dennis Phillips, Milyard attended a green home building class offered at Mesa State College in the spring of 2009. The partners made the decision to become Energy Star builders.
“We’re pleased with the results,” says Milyard. “Frankly, we’re building a better home than we were before, and we’re proud of that.”
Energy Star homes provide buyers with the confidence of knowing that their home is built to provide superior performance. Although any home provides shelter and comfort; an Energy Star home provides shelter and more comfort, at a significantly reduced cost. Energy Star homes are rated and given a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) score, which indicates how much of a savings the homeowner can expect to see on their annual utility bills.
Homes in Unaweep Heights must be at least 1,400 square feet, which is larger than the homes Western Constructors has been building at Red Rocks in Fruita, but smaller than some of the homes that were built in Unaweep Heights before Western Constructors bought the remaining lots. Smaller homes cost less to build and are often more attractive to today’s buyers, many of whom have realized that smaller homes take less time and money to maintain.
“We’ve made the shift from building a 1,500 to 1,600-square-foot home to a 1,400-square-foot home,” says Milyard. “We have a different mindset today than we had a year ago. I don’t care who you are; as builders and developers, our mindset has to change about what we’re going to bring to the market.”
There is one spec home currently available at Unaweep Heights. It has three bedrooms and two baths in 1,423 square feet. Lots are large at Unaweep Heights, and this one is no exception, with plenty of room for RV parking. The kitchen has maple cabinetry and tile flooring, and the covered patio off the kitchen gives additional room for outdoor entertaining. The home has a HERS score of 66, which means the utility bills will be almost 35 percent less than a home built according to standard building codes.
Unaweep Heights is less than a half-mile from the 29 Road Bridge, giving it great access to Riverside Parkway or Highway 50. Schools for the area include Lincoln Orchard Mesa Elementary, Orchard Mesa Middle School and Central High School. For more information about Unaweep Heights, contact any of the real estate agents that make up the Milyard team: Amy Swain, Joe Tripoli, Mandy Harter or Toni Milyard, at 241-4000. Those interested in touring the spec home can also contact Trish Sommers, the model home rep with Western Constructors at 260-2251.