Activity heating up in the north area
The residential construction activity in the north area has quietly increased in the last year or two. While no one would consider the level of activity to be anywhere near boom status, new homes that are attractively priced and in nice areas aren’t staying on the market for long.
“We’re building houses like crazy,” said Ron Sechrist with Bray Real Estate, the listing agent for homes in Blue Heron Meadows subdivision off G 1/2 Road between 26 and 26 1/2 Road.
Blue Heron Meadows is filling a void in the market right now. The upscale neighborhood features large lots, from one-third to one-half acre, with new homes that are priced below $400,000.
“There’s a lack of inventory in that price range,” Sechrist said. Right now, there are two pre-solds under construction, as well a spec home that’s about to come out of the ground. Lots are also available if buyers have a builder, with lot prices ranging from $90,000 to $120,000.
Darren Davidson with Davidson Homes has also found quiet success in the north area at Garfield Estates, where he’s been building a few homes at a time since 2008.
“We’ve had real good luck,” said Davidson. “People also look at foreclosures, but they come back to buy here.”
Davidson Homes is finishing two pre-solds in the subdivision and has plans to start two more spec homes. Prices at Garfield Estates run in the $300,000 range.
At Halls Estate, Senergy Builders built nine homes on lots where there was existing infrastructure. Now the company is working with the city on plans for phase two in the development. There is no infrastructure for phase two, which will be a factor in the decision-making process.
“It’s definitely an area we want to build,” said Joan Lowe with Senergy Builders. “It depends on the cost. If they end up being $50,000 lots, it doesn’t make sense to do it.”
Senergy Builders wants to continue offering affordable homes that make sense for entry-level buyers or anyone looking for an affordable home that also comes with affordable home ownership costs, thanks to the Energy Star rating. At Halls Estate, the homes have been in the mid-170s up to the 180s.
Horizon Drive is the largest business district in the north area, and businesses in the area have formed an improvement district for the purpose of improving safety and improving the aesthetics of the area.
“If you walk from one end of Horizon Drive to the other, it’s not pretty and it’s not safe,” said Clark Atkinson with Shaw Construction, and the president of Horizon Drive District (HDD). “We have a plan, we have a budget and we have a proposal to the city.”
The district would like to make Horizon Drive safer and more pedestrian-friendly by eliminating signalized intersections and replacing them with roundabouts and creating a landscaped middle lane, similar to those on Seventh Street south of Grand Avenue or 12th Street near the university.
According to Clark, about 70 percent of the hotel rooms in the Grand Valley are off Horizon Drive. The interstate exchange and adjacent airport make it a huge gateway to Grand Junction. HDD wants to create an environment that’s safe, welcoming and attractive.
“There have been numerous close calls and a few serious pedestrian accidents,” said Clark. “In its current configuration, it’s only a matter of time before someone gets killed.”
The district is hosting an open house on April 19 from 4-6 p.m. at the Marriott campus, 765 Horizon Drive, to showcase the current design. Visitors, business owners and anyone who’s interested in the future look of the area is welcome to attend the open house.
“We want to make sure people see what’s happening and get their feedback,” Clark said. “It’s not just for Horizon Drive, it’s for the entire town.”
A second open house will be offered May 23 at noon at a yet-to-be-determined location in hopes of making the plans available to those who can’t attend the April meeting.
Those who can’t attend either open house can still see the plans at the district’s website, http://www.horizondrivedistrict.com, which will be updated on April 19 with the newest plans.
Elsewhere in the north area, Caprock Academy is also making plans for growth.
The state charter school had more than 600 students enrolled this school year and is expecting enrollment to hit 700 next school year.
The school was able to build a gymnasium, science labs, offices and music rooms through a private bond and is applying for a state grant to build the classroom portion of the campus. The school must have matching funds for the grant, which Headmaster Kristin Trezise hopes to have arranged within six months of notification of the grant application’s success. In a best-case scenario, construction of the academic classroom portion of the building could begin by the spring of 2014.
New homes, a new look for the business district and a school that offers a different approach to education are just a few of the reasons why the north area continues to be a popular place to live.