Poised for a comeback? Builders find success in southeast area
Construction activity in the southeast area has been fairly limited in the past few years to a few homes in neighborhoods that had existing infrastructure. That could be changing, however, as some builders have worked their way through existing developments and have been able to demonstrate that there is a demand for new homes in that part of town.
“We built the last house (in Swan Meadows, at C 1/2 and 30 Roads) earlier this year,” said Kim Kerk, development manager with Blue Star Industries. “Everything we built has sold.”
Out of the economic chaos of the past few years, Blue Star Industries has emerged as a much stronger builder. The company built 67 homes in 2011, which was the equivalent of its largest year in 2006. The difference was that in 2006, the company had more people on staff and was building in Rifle, Grand Junction and Montrose. Now, all efforts are on the Grand Valley.
“It wasn’t fantastic for a couple of years, but we kept the lights on and reduced overhead,” Kerk said.
Blue Star is building at Cameck subdivision, a nine-lot subdivision at 30 1/2 and D 1/2 Roads that already had streets and sidewalks when the company purchased the land in late 2011. Three homes are currently under construction and are listed with Amanda Potter with Keller Williams.
“We’ve gotten to a nice product,” said Kerk, who said homes will have three bedrooms, two baths, with a three-car garage for around $170,000 to $200,000.
At Briarwood, a planned 28-home subdivision near 32 1/2 and E 1/2 Roads, Blue Star will start with raw land rather than another builder’s abandoned subdivision. There is also an existing home on the land that will get remodeled before the company begins building new homes for the development, which is still in the planning stages.
“We haven’t discussed the infrastructure schedule for Briarwood,” said Greg Dahl, construction manager for Blue Star, “We’ll probably start in the fall.”
Senergy Builders has also found success with new homes in the southeast area. The Energy Star builder purchased KC Farms, an 11-lot subdivision in late 2011 and has been building and selling two spec homes at a time since then.
“Our houses sell quickly once they’re complete,” said Joan Lowe with Senergy Builders. “At the rate we’re going, we’ll should be done in less than a year.”
Homes at KC Farms are around 1,400 to 1,500 square feet, with prices ranging from $165,000 to $180,000. All the homes at KC Farms are Energy Star-rated and built according to continually changing and more demanding guidelines designed to give consumers confidence that their new home will be comfortable and more affordable to heat and cool.
Senergy is also making plans for a new project in the southeast area, although Lowe couldn’t give specifics yet.
“It’s going to be a new and exciting product,” Lowe promised.
Hunting enthusiasts will be excited about a large commercial project in the southeast area. Jerry’s Outdoor Sports, which has been in its current location at 507 30 Road, has purchased and is in the process of remodeling a larger building across I-70 B at 30 Road, the former home of Freight Damaged Furniture. The specialty sporting goods store concentrates on firearms, safes and firearm accessories and will be adding a gunsmith to the staff when it moves from its current 4,600-square foot location to its 10,800-square foot home.
“Now’s the time to do it,” said Jerry Stehman, about the move. The building had been on the market for four and a half years, and Stehman had watched both the price and interest rates drop until they got low enough for him to feel confident.
“I have great sales help,” Stehman said. He currently has three full-time and two part-time employees and plants to hire an additional five to eight employees.
The remodeling project has also served as a local economic stimulus package, with FCI Construction acting as the general contractor and dozens of workers contributing to get the building finished before hunting season is in full swing.
The southeast area is easily accessible from multiple points, thanks to the 29 Road viaduct over the railroad, which connects North Avenue to the area, and the continuation of 29 Road with the bridge over the Colorado River to Orchard Mesa.