High-end living in downtown Boulder in high demand
BOULDER — Luxury living evokes images of towering homes with opulent interiors for some people, but for others it means the opportunity to live a lifestyle they love.
Several new building projects in downtown Boulder aim to offer high-end homes in a community setting enabling owners to pluck connection and unique experiences from the heart of the city.
“This type of development really helps build community bonds, where neighbors meet each other sitting on their front stoop, and this leads to all sorts of connections,” said Scott Holton, principal and co-founder of Element Properties in Boulder.
Developments include five units at 21 Pearl Street, four detached units known as Dwell 22 at 1838 22nd St. in the Whittier South neighborhood, and four units called The Treehouses at Walnut Creek at 2056 Walnut St.
Each project, sometimes known as an “infill,” works within the confines of a city and promotes positive development, Holton said.
“It’s really the opposite of sprawl,” he said, and offers residents easy walkability to downtown Boulder and Pearl Street.
Demand is there
The five units at 21 Pearl Street sold out in March prior to construction beginning, said John McElveen, marketing associate for Re/Max of Boulder Inc., and construction is currently underway. Each 1,400-square-foot unit comes with a roof top deck, small backyard and a detached, single-car garage. The three-bedroom and two-bath condos sold for $789,000 to $825,000 to people from a variety of backgrounds.
“It’s a combo of Millennials and empty nesters who are common to all of these projects,” McElveen said. Both groups, while from different generations, value the walkability the locations affords them. Construction should complete in early 2015.
The 21 Pearl condos sport a Brownstone-like exterior, with a warm, comfortable and modern aesthetic, McElveen said. Boulder-based Surround Architecture Inc. designed 21 Pearl Street and several other recent downtown housing additions.
“These are great projects and a real asset in Boulder,” said Dale Hubbard, principal at Surround Architecture. The eight-person firm has been designing in and around Boulder for 10 years.
The firm also designed the housing at 601 Canyon Blvd., a recently completed development that pre-sold out as well, McElveen said. Hubbard wanted to augment the natural appeal of the location by creating unique character.
“We were really working with the design to form a clean and fresh view of what a downtown condo can look like,” Hubbard said. His firm designed Dwell 22 also.
All slated for a modern aesthetic, some units include transitional elements such as concrete floors and Caesar stone countertops, Hubbard said, with others including open, steel staircases.
“In a way, this makes it feel a lot cleaner and allows for a great background for people … highlight their art and furniture,” Hubbard said. The designs nod to the past by incorporating elements of Boulder history with a modern twist, he said, citing the use of raw steel coupled with black brick honoring Boulder’s mining past at the 601 Canyon project.
The East Pearl developments cater to clients interested in blending indoor living space with the outdoors. Such blended spaces have appealed to homeowners for years, but recent technological advances allow for increased flexibility of the concept.
“I think it’s always been big and in the last five years or more we have the ability to put in larger openings that are very functional,” Hubbard said, such as NanaWalls, larger aperture sliding doors or even garage doors, all of which still meet Boulder’s energy-efficiency standards.
Each of the four Dwell 22 homes are stand-alone structures, including a rebuilt farmhouse. The farmhouse — an original structure built in the 1920s and now remade with modern tweaks — offers 1,300 square feet with three bedrooms and two baths.
“I think I’m particularly proud that we’re renovating this historic structure and integrating it into the project,” Holton said. “It’s a one-of-a-kind little gem in the neighborhood.”
The farmhouse and two of the new homes sold already, with the final unit remaining for $749,000. The new-from-the-ground-up units are 1,500 square feet and contain three bedrooms and two-and-a-half-baths.
Treehouses on Walnut
Tucked into a wooded lot between Walnut and Canyon, the final phase of an additional project should complete in 2015. Known as The Treehouses on Walnut and located at 2056 22 St., Mcelveen said the development is so named for the over-the-treetop views accessible from third-floor decks. The development will include two separate buildings, each housing two units of 1,800 square feet. Projected pricing should be between $900,000 and $1 million each. The Treehouses likely will attract families due to the slightly larger floor plan, and McElveen anticipates potential buyers will want to see the final outcome, design and quality before purchasing.
“You don’t often see pre-sale contracts coming from families because they want to touch it and feel it and kick the tires and let the kids see the future bedrooms first,” Holton said.
The Treehouse units will include multiple decks with stunning views of the Flatirons foothills, McElveen said. The well-treed lot gives the property a wooded feel coupled with city access.
“You have this naturally idyllic setting but in the heart of downtown Boulder,” Holton said.
Holton doesn’t just promote “infill” projects. He lives a similar lifestyle.
“I really value knowing lots of my neighbors or hearing the jazz rock band play in their apartment a couple of doors down,” he said. It builds neighborhood diversity, with demographics ranging from young professionals to families with young children to baby boomers looking for a lock-and-leave lifestyle. With such varied stakeholders in a neighborhood, community sustainability increases, he said, and the neighborhood tends to thrive. And while easy access to downtown businesses attract buyers, it’s not just the business itself that draws folks, Holton said.
“People often say they enjoy being close to the coffee shop, the little neighborhood bar or the gourmet shop, and those things are true. What they really mean, I think, is that they like being near people. The people are what make places great.”