The NORTH Area
New construction under way, supporters hope road improvements follow
There are pockets of new housing construction activity in the north area, with spec homes selling before they’re finished in some neighborhoods and custom home activity in others.
“We have just been clipping right along,” said Ron Sechrist about construction activity in Blue Heron Meadows, off G 1/2 Road near 26 1/2 where builder Ebe Eslami has been building and selling semi-custom spec homes.
“There was a resold that he built; the owners had been in it for maybe a year,” Sechrist said, “they sold it for more than they paid for it and it went under contract within a week.”
Two brand new homes are currently under construction and available at Blue Heron. Most of the homes that have sold are larger, with four bedrooms and up to 3,500 square feet. Prices have ranged between $390,000 up to $420,000 for most of the homes.
“We can go down to the $350,000 range to do a smaller rancher, but the bigger ones are what’s selling,” Sechrist said. Lot sizes are also generous at Blue Heron, ranging from between a third to half an acre.
Some buyers aren’t interested in a big house on a lot they have to maintain, and Summerhill, a development that first saw construction in 2001, provides a great north area neighborhood for them.
“It’s a quiet, semi-retirement-age community,” said Nate Porter with Porter Homes, who is building several homes in the subdivision. Although there is no age requirement for the neighborhood, the newer homes with upper end features and without exterior maintenance or yard work have appealed to those who are done with four-bedroom houses on half-acre lots.
Dennis Lucero, the original builder in Summerhill, has also started building single-family homes in the subdivision again.
Buyers are also flocking to Heritage Estates, a Blue Star Homes subdivision off 24 3/4 and F 3/4.
“We sold out of the first filing,” said Amanda Potter with Landmark Realty, the listing agent for Blue Star. “We’ve put five out of 11 in the second filing under contract.”
The homes in the second filing have ranged from about 1,600 to 2,000 square feet, with prices ranging from $194,900 to $229,900. The company hopes to begin working on filing three within 60 days. Lot sizes are slightly bigger for the third filing.
Blue Star is also building in Graystone Estates, a subdivision that came into the market in the spring of 2009. The two-acre lots didn’t sell, and John Davis, the owner of Blue Star, is petitioning the county to put twice as many homes in the subdivision as was originally planned by splitting from one to two-acre building lots.
“Some of the neighbors aren’t happy about that,” said Kaye Simonson, senior planner for Mesa County. “We’re somewhat constrained by the density that the master plan allows in that zoning.”
Businesses in the north on Horizon Drive, one of the major gateways to the city with a major economic impact as well, are hoping to start a construction project in 2014, dependent on funding.
“The city of Grand Junction sponsored us in making a CDOT grant application on Horizon Drive,” said Clark Atkinson, president of Shaw Construction and board member of the Horizon Drive District (HDD).
The $4 million grant would pay for improvements at the I-70 interchange. The HDD would like to remove the traffic lights and build roundabouts at the off and on ramps.
“They would be like those at Vail or Edwards,” Atkinson said.
A roundabout would improve the aesthetics of the interchange, but improving the look of the intersection isn’t the main goal.
“This is a safety issue,” Atkinson said. “It you look at statistics, of all the I-70 exits, Horizon Drive has the majority of accidents.”
Atkinson said it’s also an economic issue, with roundabouts providing a solution to long-term traffic movement.
“Horizon Drive is a 40-year old plan. It doesn’t handle pedestrian activity, but it does facilitate panhandlers,” Atkinson said. “The new roundabouts won’t be such a good place for panhandlers.”
If the HDD is awarded the grant and receives support from the city council, Atkinson said it may be able to the entire corridor improvement plan at once, with planning completed this year and construction starting in 2014.