Boulder Creek Builders, in Louisville and Longmont, hits pay dirt with low-maintenance ranches and townhomes

Posted February 3, 2012 In The News

Courtesy of Mark Samuelson, The Denver Post

Two years ago, builder David Sinkey of Boulder Creek Builders was on the phone to the big Denver developers, trying to convince them to work some of his low-maintenance patio ranch designs into their large master-plans. Now a half dozen of those developers are talking with him, wanting to rub some of the same magic into their own communities that just since November has attracted 18 sales in the $400s and $500s.

You can see those sharp, traditionally styled patio models (from the low $4s) today at Steel Ranch in Louisville (they were packed with visitors when I toured Wednesday). And you can tour some Boulder Creek townhomes near the Longmont Diagonal Highway that offer the same low maintenance and high energy efficiency, at half the price.

Kingsbridge Townhomes, off Airport Road in Longmont, is a little hard to find and gets a fraction of the traffic that Steel Ranch does – but has such a high conversion rate that Boulder Creek has already gone through well over half of the 109 townhome sites it took over there from a California builder in 2010.

“We don’t restrict any of our communities to 55-and-older,” said Sinkey — one of four principals in a company that dates from one his father launched in Boulder in 1976. We left headquarters in Louisville’s scenic downtown, surrounded by shops and dining that helped earn Louisville the number-1 national ranking in Money Magazine’s annual ‘Best Places to Live’…and headed for Steel Ranch, a mile north.

Nevertheless, Boulder Creek’s buyers seem to ‘self-restrict’ into that older, downsizing demographic. Along with a few single females, empty-nest buyers dominate sales at Steel Ranch (and are catching the attention of those large developers, anxious to tap into that market).

Those downsizers are also a factor at Longmont’s Kingsbridge (it has four 2-story townhome plans, including one that could go main-floor master)…however, buyers there also find three schools within walking distance including Longmont’s Silver Creek High, rated 9-for-10 stars at GreatSchools.net. The schools and the prices (from the very low $200s for 2- and 3-bedrooms that are nine miles from Boulder, four miles from IBM) also lure single moms and dads, and another demographic you don’t hear much about: ‘never-nesters’ – ones who have rented for years and years, and now have plenty of cash to make a purchase.

What Boulder Creek DOESN’T see at Kingsbridge are first-time buyers; and that, says Sinkey, doesn’t make any sense. After all, these large plans have attached 2-car garages, roomy storage spaces, extra-outdoor private storage for bikes; and optimal energy features (blown-Fiberglas insulation that earn HERS scores under 60, so low they were featured by Channel 9 News). The smallest, a 2-bedroom ‘Florence,’ delivers 1,490 square feet for $205,000 – with a bright-and-light interior that comes standard with wood kitchen floors, nicer birch cabinets in a choice of colors, and ceramic tile bath surrounds.

They also show something all Boulder Creek’s buyers, young and old, agree on: Despite the low-maintenance, they want manageable HOA fees. “Our people say, ‘Give us walking-biking trails; but not a pool, that means higher dues,'” Sinkey added. Boulder Creek keeps track of its buyers’ preferences through a ‘Founders Group’ that reviews new models. When the group was asked what they’d be willing to pay for the new Steel Ranch patio plans, their estimates were so high, Sinkey says, that company planners knew they had a winner on their hands.

You can see Steel Ranch off 95th Street in Louisville; from the Turnpike take Northwest Parkway north, jogging onto 96th, and continue north 5 miles, just past Baseline. Kingsbridge in Longmont is off Airport Road between Diagonal and Nelson Road; from Boulder take the Diagonal north 6 miles to Airport, then left a mile to Venice Lane.

If you go…

WHERE: Kingsbridge Townhomes in west Longmont by Boulder Creek Builders, low-maintenance 2-&-3 bedroom townhomes near trails, 4 miles to IBM. 1656 Venice Lane, Longmont; take I-25 north to Exit 240, Colo. 119; west 7.6 mi., continue west on Nelson Rd. 1.9 mi to Airport Rd.; left 1 mi. to Venice Lane.  Or from Boulder’s Foothills Pkwy take Diagonal north 6.6 mi. to Airport Rd, left 1 mi. to Venice

PRICE: From $205s; Steel Ranch from the low $400s

WHEN: Today & Saturday 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.; Sunday 11-5

PHONE: 303-772-3063 Steel Ranch, 303-745-1091 WEB: LiveBoulderCreek.com