The Colorado Condo Comeback

11/10/2017

Colorado condo development is rapidly ramping up and has re-emerged with an explosion of new and varied architectural designs, construction techniques, features, and amenities. Our Senior Vice President of Advisory, Mike Rinner, reveals the latest condo trends such as leased parking, elevator accessible condos in the suburbs, and new buildout of failed projects.

This is a dramatic change compared to the past decade when Colorado condos had practically disappeared due to a series of controversial and expensive court awards and settlements (see graph from Zonda iPad app below). Meanwhile, Denver’s home prices skyrocketed and are now at 41% above pre-recession peak prices, which is the highest increase of all metro areas surveyed by the Case-Shiller Home Price Index. The reason Colorado condo development is ramping up is because of two boosts this year in May/June 2017: The Colorado legislature passed House Bill 1279 and The Colorado Supreme Court ruled in favor of the builder in the Vallagio condominium lawsuit. Courts must now recognize a provision in a project’s condo declarations requiring arbitration to resolve disputes, and a majority of homeowners now must approve a construction defects lawsuit by their HOA.

 

Exciting opportunity and growth has set the stage for developers to be more innovative and futuristic with new projects in Colorado. Below are 5 of the biggest trends we’ve seen so far:

 

TREND #1: FAILED SUBURBAN CONDOS ARE BEING BUILT OUT

Some of these projects were distressed property acquisitions by long-term investors who have held them for years, while others are recent land sales by lenders who have been unable to find buyers until now. The builder of Prairie Walk Condos has been challenged to keep up with strong demand, which provides only open surface parking for residents at the price range shown.

Prairie Walk Condos, Parker (Base Price Range: $202-$284/SF)

 

TREND #2: SELF-DRIVING CARS MAKE PARKING OPTIONAL

Developer East West Partners is planning for the day when owners no longer need a car. The Coloradan is Denver’s largest condo development under construction with 334 units, and it includes the right to lease a place to park in the price of a condo rather than including a dedicated parking stall. Downtown Denver condo garages typically only have 60% occupancy, so shared parking will provide more space for retail customers, and residents can use extra stalls for family and guests. After The Coloradan’s first six weeks of being open for sale, 183 of the 301 market-rate units sold.

 


The Coloradan at Union Station, Denver (Price Range: $610-$1,025/SF)

 

TREND #3: CONDO TOWERS ARE BECOMING MORE INNOVATIVE 

Now under construction, Lakehouse on 17th has a total of 196 flats and townhome styled units in a building with striking architectural design. The project is large enough to justify its extensive amenities including fitness, sauna, community kitchen and dining room, lounge, and media den as well as its open-sky pool, hot tub, and landscaped sundeck with indoor/outdoor fireplace and organic farm. Lakehouse is Colorado’s first project to pursue WELL Building Standard Certification, with building attributes that consider air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind through the use of design and construction techniques to create an environment to support human health and well-being.


Lakehouse on 17th, Denver (Price Range: $664-$900/SF)

 

TREND #4: PRIME LOCATIONS STILL HAVE THE BIGGEST DEMAND

Laurel has shown incredibly high demand with 13 of 71 units placed under contract in the first two months after opening, and completion still 18 months away. This demand demonstrates the continued strength of the high-end market first addressed by the success of 250 Columbine in Denver’s Cherry Creek neighborhood in 2014-2015. Laurel will include an attended lobby/reception area and a well-designed rooftop entertainment deck with saltwater pool. Residences will feature very high-end finishes and designer kitchens.


Laurel, Cherry Creek, Denver (Price Range: $740-$1,418/SF)

 

TREND #5: SUBURBAN CONDO BUILDINGS NOW HAVE ELEVATORS

In the past, nearly all suburban condos had walk-up access to upper levels – elevator buildings could only be found in dense urban environments with structured parking. These production homebuilders have now introduced two and three-story condo projects with elevator access in suburban locations, like the Westown Urban Flats by Century Communities. Note that some residents will have attached garages in both projects, but others can purchase an optional detached garage in lieu of open surface parking.


Westown Urban Flats, Arvada (Closing Prices: $241-$290/SF)

We always keep up to date and track the progress of successful condo projects like these. Contact us to learn what unique building and unit designs, features, and amenities you should be considering for your upcoming projects.

 

Mike Rinner, Senior Vice President, Advisory
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