Homes are being constructed at the northeast corner of Harmony Road and County Road 13 just north of Windsor on May 1, 2017. The Ridge at Harmony Road is a 425-acre lot, with a 1,200-lot master-planned community in Weld County. Joel Blocker for BizWest

Colorado Springs developer finds hot residential market in Northern Colorado

The Landhuis Co. continues to do its part to increase the supply for residential and commercial property shoppers in Northern Colorado.  The Colorado Springs-based real estate investment, marketing, development and property-management company is actively developing nine projects in Northern Colorado, with more in the works in other parts of the state and beyond.

Landhuis bought 430 acres for The Ridge at Harmony Road, which includes the northeast corner of Harmony Road and Weld County Road 13 in Windsor, about four years ago, said Jeff Mark, company president.  The process included a partial annexation of about 80 acres from Weld County. 

To date, the company has developed about 420 single lots, with more still in process.  Multi-family residential and commercial development are part of the future plans. 

Five companies are constructing and selling buildings on the different projects developed by Landhuis: Bridgewater Homes, Horizon View Homes, Richfield Homes, Richmond American Homes and Saint Aubyn Homes.

Steve Balliet, an independent broker, sells new construction for builders, including Saint Aubyn Homes.  “The market is evolving quickly — it’s unreal,” he said. “I sold four houses on Wednesday between 4 and 6 p.m.”

Whereas that rate isn’t the common number every day, it’s certainly high and moving fast.  “An atypical market is typical today,” he added.  “Stats are impossible to find because it’s real-time data but about six months behind.  I’ve had four calls since we’ve been on the phone.”

Balliet echoes what analysts are saying about the housing market.  “There’s just not a quantity of houses — it’s a big lack.”

The fact that potential homebuyers are driving around looking for available properties makes his marketing efforts pretty straightforward.  “It’s simply a matter of supply and demand. When there aren’t enough houses, and new construction comes up — people run out to buy as soon as it comes online.”

Another current Landhuis project — Carriage Hills — is in Frederick, east of Interstate 25 and north of Colorado Highway 52.  “We’re in the last phase of developing about 190 residential lots, and we’re sold out,” Mark said.  This last phase involves completing work on the park and landscaping.

The scope of Mark’s work includes contract negotiations through entitlement to construction plans, managing development, and then seeing the projects through to sale of lots.

Every deal is different.  “Some jurisdictions can get you through in five or six months and others in one to two years,” he said.  Landhuis bought the Carriage Hills land in two closings in 2015.

Typically, it takes the company about six months to develop land that’s in the range of 100 to 200 lots before it sells them to builders.

“We bought Hidden Valley in Severance — over 200 acres — three to four years ago,” Mark said.  “We developed 250 lots in three years time and will continue to develop about 100 lots a year.

“We just finished 86 lots, and half are already sold.”

Homes are being constructed at the northeast corner of Harmony Road and County Road 13 just north of Windsor on May 1, 2017. The Ridge at Harmony Road is a 425-acre lot, with a 1,200-lot master-planned community in Weld County. Joel Blocker / For BizWest

The plan for Hidden Valley Farm, which is on the northwest corner of County Road 21 and County Road 70 in Weld County, includes more than 600 future residential lots.

Fisher Farm, at the southeast corner of County Road 5 and County Road 42E in Larimer County, is also on the Landhuis docket.  “It was annexed into Timnath, and by the end of the year, we hope to have our first plats approved,” Mark said.

Plats subdivide raw land into residential or commercial lots.

The plan is to develop about 600 residential lots with mixed-use.  There will likely be a school included in the development.  “School districts look at the capacity and future expectations to determine what’s required,” Mark said.

“For schools, you either dedicate land and get credits for the fees you would have to pay at the permit stage, or you don’t dedicate land and simply pay the fee,” he added.

School districts treat all new developments the same whether they’re two lots or 1,000 homes, said Stephanie Watson, assistant superintendent of business services for Weld RE-4 School District.

“When we look at a new development, we look at the area’s student yield per household and acres needed for sites for three levels of schools: elementary, middle school and high school,” she said.  “I look at what our generation of students would be to determine if we’d like a school site.

“If it’s not the right location or right space, the developer would pay a fee.  Those fees go into a separate fund that can only be used to purchase or develop school sites.

“It’s not unusual for a school site to be ready, but we need students ready and then need to go to a bond election to build the school,” Watson said.  “We just maintain the site while waiting for the next elementary generation to come.”

Additional projects Landhuis is working on are in Fort Collins, Longmont, Mead and Berthoud.

The company recently annexed land for the Mountains Edge development on the northeast corner of Drake and Timberline roads in Fort Collins.  The plan includes more than 100 townhouses and about 20 single-family lots.

Landhuis is gearing up to develop Hansen Farm, also in Fort Collins.  “We’re going to have over 200 residential lots, a couple of different sections for multi-families and a pad site for commercial,” Mark said.

Longmont Gardens on the northeast corner of Colorado Highway 66 and Hover Street in Longmont will include about 200 apartments and a storage facility.

Landhuis developed more than 100 lots at the Liberty Ranch subdivision on the southeast corner of Highway 66 and County Road 5½ in Mead.  About 11 acres are still available for commercial development.  “We just need a user to want to get in there,” Mark said.

The company recently completed about 86 lots at Hammond Farm on the southwest corner of Taft and County Road 10E in Berthoud.  “And we’re ready to kick off another 200 lots in the future.”