Construction continues on the Village Cooperative complex in Loveland that will offer residents shares of the co-op. Ken Amundson/BizWest

Migration of baby boomers drives uptick in 55-plus housing projects

Real estate developers have found a growing niche market in Northern Colorado: baby boomers who want maintenance-free housing in communities that are near their adult children.

Called many things — active adult, 55-plus, age-restricted or active lifestyle communities — these communities can be made up of larger apartments with upscale common areas or neighborhoods of smaller homes for people over the age of 55 who don’t need any assistance in getting along with life.

While these types of neighborhoods have been around for years, like Anthem Ranch and Skyestone in Broomfield or Affinity at Fort Collins as well others sprinkled throughout the region, there now is a flurry of projects in the construction stage in Northern Colorado capitalizing on the growing, aging population that is evolving here.

Most notable current developers of the 55-plus concept in Northern Colorado are L3 Development LLC based in Timnath and Real Estate Equities Development LL based in Eagan, Minnesota.

A rendering shows what the Greeley 55 Resort property was expected to look like. Courtesy L3 Development

L3 Development recently constructed 55 Resort in Windsor and is building a smaller version in downtown Greeley. Real Estate Equities Development recently completed the Village Cooperative in Fort Collins and has similar projects under construction in Greeley, Longmont and Loveland.

Brad Florin, CEO of L3 Development, told BizWest in November that the company is trying to fill a housing gap for people who are close to retirement age and don’t want the responsibilities of maintaining a home, but don’t need the support of an independent-living or memory-care facility.  Florin added that retirees in particular are relocating to the Front Range to be closer to their children or grandchildren.

Shane Wright, a principal with Real Estate Equities Development LLC, said there has been a large migration of people to the area, many who are in the company’s target age group of 60s, 70s and 80s. He attributes this migration to the region’s strong economy and growing workforce.

“This region has developed a very diversified and strong workforce, and parents of people who make up that workforce are moving here to be near their children and grandchildren,” said Wright, echoing Florin’s assessment.

People looking for this type of housing can rent or own.

For example, 55 Resort’s rents in Greeley will average $1,900 per month, with all utilities except for phone landlines included, compared with the $2,175 average price in Windsor.

Instead of renting, tenants at a Village Cooperative become owners because they are required to buy a share in the cooperative. Wright explained that each owner in a 50-unit community would have a 1/50th share of the building and the property it is on. Owners also pay a monthly fee that covers the cost of an administrative staff, activities, and maintenance inside and outside.

In Northern Colorado, the company charges between $160,000 and $175,000 per share and between $1,700 and $1,800 per month for the monthly maintenance fee.

Wright said the company looks for large, self-contained cities that are well-established. Real Estate Equities Development entered the Colorado market in 2016 when it bought property in Fort Collins for its first community in the state. Wright said that Real Estate Equities Development is proposing to build a Village Cooperative in Grand Junction as it continues to expand its footprint.

Wright had flattering descriptions of the cities in Northern Colorado in which it is developing communities.

“Our research shows that Fort Collins is an eye-popping market for being underserved for our community senior-housing concept,” Wright said, adding that Fort Collins is “a college town with a cute Main Street, Greeley is “charming and affordable with a unique college atmosphere,” and Loveland is a “little gem.” He said Longmont has the demographics and atmosphere the company desires, “but it is a little more difficult to work with because they are proponents of slow growth.”

The community in Fort Collins opened in 2019 and was sold-out within six months. Wright said communities in Greeley and Longmont that are under construction are already sold-out and waiting lists are growing, and the company’s most-recent project, in Loveland, is close to selling out before construction is complete.

“Most of our projects across the country have a wait-list to buy in,” Wright said. “Our cooperative corporation handles the resale on behalf of an owner.

“Owners can sell their share when they want to. There are always more people wanting to buy in than want to sell,” he said, adding that the average turnover rate for all of the company’s communities is 5 percent annually.

Each Village Cooperative in Northern Colorado is either a three- or four-story building with 50 to 60 units and underground parking. Each building features community areas, including a community room with kitchen, guest suite for friends and families, club room, reading areas, raised outdoor gardening beds, workshop, fitness center, internal storage area and underground heated parking with a car-wash bay.

Units range in size from approximately 900 square feet to 1,600 square feet. Options vary from one-bedroom and one-bathroom plans up to two-bedroom and two-bathroom plans with a den. Each home has its own private laundry room, storage area and balcony.

“Our company started developing Village Cooperative communities in 2003 because we saw the demand for this type of dynamic lifestyle,” said Keith Jans, founder of Real Estate Equities Development. “These communities give active adults and retirees an excellent option of home ownership with a hassle-free lifestyle.”

Real estate developers have found a growing niche market in Northern Colorado: baby boomers who want maintenance-free housing in communities that are near their adult children.

Called many things — active adult, 55-plus, age-restricted or active lifestyle communities — these communities can be made up of larger apartments with upscale common areas or neighborhoods of smaller homes for people over the age of 55 who don’t need any assistance in getting along with life.

While these types of neighborhoods have been around for years, like Anthem Ranch and Skyestone in Broomfield or Affinity at Fort Collins as well others sprinkled throughout the region, there now is a flurry of projects in the construction stage in Northern Colorado capitalizing on the growing, aging population that is evolving here.

Most notable current developers of the 55-plus concept in Northern Colorado are L3 Development LLC based in Timnath and Real Estate Equities Development LL based in Eagan, Minnesota.

A rendering shows what the Greeley 55 Resort property was expected to look like. Courtesy L3 Development

L3 Development recently constructed 55 Resort in Windsor and is building a smaller version in downtown Greeley. Real Estate Equities Development recently completed the Village Cooperative in Fort Collins and has similar projects under construction in Greeley, Longmont and Loveland.

Brad Florin, CEO of L3 Development, told BizWest in November that the…