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Brookfield launches Midtown community

Brookfield Residential Colorado next week will start constructing its first homes in its Midtown community it is developing minutes from Denver neighborhoods such as Sunnyside, Berkeley and Highland, but at a much lower price point than those trendy neighborhoods.

Eventually, the Midtown development on 184 acres at West 68th Avenue and Pecos Street in unincorporated Adams County, could have 1,300 to 1,400 single-family homes, apartment units and attached housing such as condos, along with some retail and commercial space. Homes initially will be priced from the $200,00s.

Brookfield, whose parent is a large Canadian company, is the developer of Tallyn’s Reach in Aurora and Solterra in Lakewood. Midtown will mark the debut in Colorado of houses built by Brookfield Homes.

Currently, the other builder in the community is Houston-based David Weekley Homes, which recently began constructing single-family detached homes in Midtown. Those homes will range in size from about 1,900 to 2,400 square feet and will have a more urban style than most of the homes it currently build in the area.

“Midtown is a shining light,” said Tom Morton, a senior vice president at Brookfield Residential Colorado. “There is really nothing else like it in the metro area. You don’t find property of this size so close to everything available in the metro area. You just don’t find infill sites like this in the Denver area. This is a true infill site. The prices are much lower than you would find in Denver’s urban neighborhoods, but it’s not the suburbs.”

The community is less than 15 minutes from Lower Downtown, yet also is an easy drive to the U.S. 36 corridor and Boulder.

A big attraction of the homes in Midtown will be an opportunity to buy a larger energy-efficient home with a modern design for less than what older homes in the nearby trendy neighborhoods in Denver, he said.

“Our resale competition is really these small, 1950s bungalows,” Morton said. “They look nice from the outside, but they don’t live very well. I really liked that ad a builder used to run in the early days of Stapleton, showing an older home and one of its home, that said, “Every one of our homes comes with closets.”

He said that the homes in Midtown will be priced from the low $200,000s and to around $400,000. All the homes will be Energy Star rated. “Right now, we’re looking whether to offer solar on some of the homes,” Morton said. “Certainly, if someone wanted solar on their home, we could accommodate them. All the homes will be built so that solar panels could be added later.”

He expects of the 1,300 to 1,400 housing units, 850 of them will be single-family detached homes. In the first phase, two-thirds of the homes are being built by David Weekley and a third by Brookfield. It’s possible that Brookfield might sell lots to other builders in the future, he said.

The development will include a 47-acre park, a community center called the Garden Shed, community gardens and an off-leash dog park. Brookfield is talking to YMCA about opening a storefront center in a little retail strip is it planning, as well as operating its swimming pools.

Midtown is bordered by West 68th Avenue on the north, Clear Creek on the east, West 66th Avenue on the south, Clay  Street on the west, with Pecos running in the middle.

It is within walking distance from the future Light Rail Gold Line and Northwest Line that are both expected to be completed in 2014.

By one commonly used definition, a transit oriented development is within a half mile of a light rail station.

“By that definition, we are a TOD, as we are close to two light rail stations,” Morton said. “Plus, because a portion of our property abuts the Clear Creek path, you can hop on your bike and ride to the Platte River trail or to Golden. There really is no place else in Denver that has such close proximity to I-70, I-25, I-76 and U.S. 36. We have easy access to all major highways and with the bike bath and light rail stations, we have every mode of transportation covered.”

From 1955 to early 2004, the home was site to a Hamilton-Sundstrand manufacturing and component testing facility for the aerospace industry. Hamilton-Sundstrand announced it was going to start to shut down the facility over the next two years.

“A cleanup company called Arcadis brought it to our attention five or six years ago,” Morton said. “There was some new technology to clean up the ground water and other environmental problems.”

Initially, he said that Brookfield looked at doing a joint venture with Sundstrand, “But it turned out to have a little too much risk to be a project for them. After about a year of looking at it and getting to understand what a Brownfield cleanup would require, we ended up buying it around 2007,” Morton said.

The cleanup included razing the remaining buildings and completing the environmental remediation, which included going 40 feet below the surface to making sure the groundwater was clean.

“Really, the timing worked out pretty well,” Morton said. “Maybe we could have come to market a year earlier, but given the shortage of homes in the market, this is a very good time to be providing new product.”

Housing consultant S. Robert August, not only agrees, but if anything is even more enthusiastic about Midtown’s prospects.

“I think Midtown is going to be one of the most successful master-planned communities in the entire metro area,” August said. “Midtown is the right product, at the right price, at the right location at the right time. And Tom Morton has assembled a truly excellent team, which is really an important component, which people often overlook.”

August said Midtown’s “excellent location” is ideal for home buyers who might work in different parts of the metro area.

“Location-wide, Midtown is close to major employment centers,” August said. “Let’s say you work downtown and your spouse or significant other works at Interlocken – it’s a 15-minute drive or less for both of you.”

The other thing that Midtown has got going for are its views

“Pecos rises where we are and we have some very nice views of the mountains to the west, as well as some nice views of Denver’s skyline,” Morton said.

To see what homes are available in the Highland area, please visit COhomefinder.com.

Have a story idea or real estate tip? Contact John Rebchook at JRCHOOK@gmail.com. InsideRealEstateNews.com is sponsored by Universal Lending, Land Title Guarantee and 8z Real Estate.