For the past 60 years, Denver-based Koelbel & Co. has been a leader in suburban development, playing key roles in the early residential growth in Cherry Hills Village, as well as launching luxury communities such as the Preserve in Greenwood Village.
But it’s latest development is an infill townhome community in the trendy Lower Highland, or LoHi neighborhood in Denver.
At 10 a.m. on Saturday, Koelbel Urban Homes, will hold a pre-sale event at 3140 Vallejo St. on the 18-unit LoHi Court community it is building at Vallejo and West 32nd Avenue. Reservations will be taken on a first-come, first-serve basis. A refundable deposit of $1,000 is required to reserve a unit. Units are priced from $385,000 and range in size from 1,503 square feet to 1,634 square feet.
Each unit has an attached two-car garage, roof top decks and a green, hybrid water heating system.
Carl Koelbel, the grandson of the company’s founder, Walter Koelbel Sr., who founded his namesake company in 1952 and died last December at age 85, said the company began to shift to urban from suburban when he joined the company about two years ago. Carl joined the family firm, headed by his father, “Buz,” after he received his Masters in Real Estate and Business Administration from the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Urban trumping suburban
“A lot of our land and suburban assets were illiquid, but we wanted to maintain our home building company. We did not want to shut it down,” said the 28-year-old Koelbel. “Frankly, what really fascinates me more than suburban development, what really jazzes me, are these infill, urban sites.”
The company was developing some infill homes in the Platt Park/Harvard Gulch area when it was approached by a group that had assembled the land in LoHi and ran into some financial problems.
“So we purchased it from them and at that point we branded an urban division of our company,” Koelbel said.
It’s a neighborhood that Koelbel knows well.
“Every time I go there, it seems like I discover a new bar or restaurant,” Koelbel said. “There’s the Highland Tap & Burger, LoHi Steakbar is great, there’s Linger, Amato’s and that place that looks like a speakeasy (Williams & Graham.) Of course, there’s Little Man Ice Cream and the nearby pedestrian bridge across I-25 makes it an easy bike ride to Union Station and downtown.”
Perfect pads for Millennials
He said he expect that LoHI Court will draw mostly young professionals.
“They may be first-time buyers or first-time move-up buyers, but I think it will definitely be aimed at the Y-generation or Millennial generation. I think a lot of the buyers will be people about my age. I’m going to buy one of the units myself.”
The community is being designed by BcDc Designs and Kephart Architecture. Each home will have a fireplace, wood floors on the main level and European-styled kitchen.
Big selling points, Koelbel said will be the rooftop decks, two-car garages and the contemporary architecture, he said.
“You don’t necessarily find full-sized, two-car garages in even some of the newer product in the area. And, of course, many of the older homes only have one-car garages. A lot of our buyers probably won’t have two cars, but they might have a big SUV they need for going up to the mountains or want the extra space for their kayaks or bikes. It was important that we’d be able to do two-car garages and architecture that suggests what we offer on our more expensive homes, while keeping prices low.”
For the environmentally minded, one green features will be the GE hybrid water heaters that use electric pumps and ambient air to heat water. A Consumer Reports’ article found the GE hybrid system uses less energy than even tankless water heaters that it tested.
Sweet spot for prices
“These systems are really good and they are not too expensive. It was important for us to keep the price in that $380,000 to $420,000 range. We think the price is right.”
Lydia Lin, owner of the nearby One Realty firm, agreed.
“That seems like a very good price,” Lin said. “There’s really nothing available in the price. A development that is basically across the street sold very quickly and they are in the $500,000 range.”
Rachel Gallegos, of Live Urban, also like the development and expects they will all sell before construction is completed.
“I think it is a phenomenal project,” Gallegos said. “I think it is priced right, the square-footage, the two-car garages and the rooftop decks are exactly what LoHi buyers are looking for. They are being built at the right now in what is probably the hottest neighborhood in all of Denver. There is no question in my mind that they are going to sell very fast.”
Koelbel said he expects they will be ready for occupancy in late December or early next year. He noted that Koelbel Urban Homes is looking for other infill development opportunities in Denver. “I can tell you we are looking in Congress Park right now.”
To learn more about this development, please visit LoHiCourt.
To learn what else is for sale in the LoHi area, please visit COhomefinder.com
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