When John Hinkelman moved to Boulder, John F. Kennedy was President, U.S. 36 was still a toll-road, and the place he has called home for the past 48 years was a sleepy college town.
“Boulder has changed a lot,” said Hinkelman, who is now an 8z Real Estate broker focusing on the Dakota Ridge area in the northwest quadrant of the city.
“For one thing, it is about three times the size,” said Hinkelman, who moved here from the East Coast when he was 12, after his father, who had retired from the military, landed a job with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration center in 1963.
“When we first moved here, it’s population was about 35,000 and now is about 100,000,” Hinkelman said. “There also is a lot more employment here. IBM came to Boulder, Gunbarrell sprung up in northeast Boulder. Physically, Boulder has changed, but in other respects it has not grown outward that much. Partly, that has to do with the planning policies of the city.”
When it comes to planning policies, Hinkelman is the expert.
After earning a major in geography and a minor in geology from CU-Boulder, Hinkelman went to UC-Denver to earn a master’s degree in urban planning.
He then began a career working in urban and transportation planning, mostly in Boulder and Boulder County, with a short stint with the City of Louisville.
“Basically, after 20 years in the public sector, I decided it was time for a change,” Hinkelman said.
While a number of planners go to work as developers – after all, they know how the public process works and what it takes to get a project through the system – Hinkelman decided to take a different route.
Always fascinated by real estate
“I had a lot of hands-on experience on projects, housing projects, and the real estate side of it always fascinated me,” Hinkelman, 59, said. “I felt that sales fit my personality better than being a developer. And I didn’t have all that much money to start up a new business, and it is not that terribly expensive to get started as a real estate agent.”
Also, the “Boulder housing market was just exploding,” in the late 1990s and early 2000s, said Hinkelman, who joined RE/MAX Alliance in early 2000 and joined 8z Real Estate in March 2010.
“I joined 8z because it is a very innovative and technologically savvy company,” Hinkelman said. “I see real estate more and more moving toward web-based operations and the technological support at 8z is the best.”
He quickly found that his planning background served him – and his clients – well.
“I found it was a very good fit,” Hinkelman said. “My knowledge as a planner was very helpful. As a planner, I was familiar with all of Boulder County and all of its different communities. I knew about everything from the housing stock to recreational amenities to access to Denver. I understood how people lived their lives and what would be important to them when looking for a home.”
Hinkelman knows zoning
Even now, he sometimes will find that a client will ask him a zoning question.
“For example, here in Dakota Ridge a prospective buyer might say, “I really like this home, but it’s a little too small. Can I add on to it? The short answer is no. Other people will ask me is zoning allows them to scrape and rebuild. I know about the building envelope and what can be done to the interior of the house and the exterior. And I know about the process. I know how to get things done.”
The area that he “farms,” or specializes in, is Dakota Ridge, where also lives.
“Dakota Ridge, right now, has about 400 homes and the development plan call for about an additional 40 homes, that will be mostly the custom-home types. So it about 90 percent done,” Hinkelman said.
Dakota Ridge 90% built out
Dakota Ridge got it start in 1994, so it a newer neighborhood than much of Boulder.
“Single-family, detached homes are priced from about $400,000 to about $1.8 million in Dakota Ridge,” Hinkelman said. Homes range from about 2,000 square feet to 6,000 square feet.
Dakota Ridge is bordered on the south by Lee Hill Road and Broadway way on the east.
But perhaps its biggest selling points are its western and northern boundaries – open space.
“The appeal here are all of the trails and open space,” Hinkelman said. “You kind of feel you are at the end of the city and closer to the mountains. Yet, you are only a five-minute drive to downtown. And we have shops, restaurants and coffee shops that are only four or five blocks away.”
Because of the price points and size of the homes, Dakota Ridge is “a very family oriented neighborhood,” he said.
He has found buyers to be a mix of those moving up from other neighborhood in Boulder, or those being transferred to Boulder from out-of-state who are looking for newer homes.
Just based on people who live near him, people in Dakota Ridge are an eclectic bunch.
His neighbors include a professional photographer, a person who works in sales out of his home, a contractor, a tech guy, a marketing executive and a banker.
“I would say that market values have been stable, but sales are probably off by 50 percent from their peak in 2007,” Hinkelman said.
Although he said the median price of a home sold in Dakota Ridge is in the $700,000s, he said they are bargain-priced compared to other neighborhoods a bit closer to downtown Boulder.
“Consider this home,” Hinkelman said about a 3,900-square-foot, six-bedroom, five-bath home he is listing at $799,000.
“It was built in 1999, but it has new appliances and has a great look and feel to it,” Hinkelman said. “It really is a new home. If you could pick up this home and move it to Wonderland Hills or Newlands, it would be priced much closer to $1 million.”
Open space a big draw
Yet, Hinkelman wouldn’t trade Dakota Ridge for any other neighborhood.
“Basically, you are tucked into the northwest corner of Boulder and you are surrounded by open space. Dakota Ridge has a lot of outdoor enthusiasts, like runners and bicyclists living here. You can get around here without driving. We have great public transportation and you don’t have to get into a car to drive to open space. We just walk out our doors and go for a hike.”
To contact John Hinkelman, please visit this link. To find out more what is happening in North Boulder, or NoBo, please visit this link. A view of a neighborhood through the eyes of an 8z Real Estate broker is a monthly feature of InsideRealEstateNews.com. 8z Real Estate is a sponsor of InsideRealEstateNews.