More than 900 single-family residential homes will sprout up in rural Elbert County over the next seven years as part of a new master-planned community.
Craft Companies LLC broke ground Thursday on its Independence development in the northwest corner of the county. Tim Craft, principal of the Denver-based real estate firm, said more than $100 million is being spent on infrastructure alone to prepare the 1,011-acre site on Hilltop Road.
Homes will vary in size, with more entry-level residences starting at 1,400 to 1,500 square feet. Those homes will start in the $300,000 price range, Craft said. Size and prices go up from there, he said, with the option for purchasing custom homes on larger acreage lots.
Home construction isn’t slated until August 2019, Craft said. The development’s earliest tenants could move in during the first quarter of 2020 as the entire community is being built out over seven years, he said.
The real estate firm remains in talks with a number of homebuilders, Craft said. That decision will ultimately impact housing prices in the new community.
Nearly 4,000 jobs — mostly for construction workers — are expected to be created, according to the firm.
Demand for more affordable housing — Denver’s median home sale in recent months is north of $430,000 — was a driving force behind the development. Craft expects interest from Denver workers who may be priced out of that market to make the roughly 30-mile commute, and possibly students or past residents in and around Elbert County to return home to a more affordable option.
“Houses [in Elbert County] are largely ranches on larger acreage lots that many people couldn’t afford,” Craft said.
Plans are in place to offer more affordable houses in the new community for Elbert County teachers and first responders — a major need for those public employers who want to keep workers closer to their jobs, Craft said.
The real estate firm is banking on the density of the community and its commitment to sustainability to be more attractive than similar-sized housing developments in Castle Rock and Parker.
Craft also plans for the community to have the highest level of water recycling in Colorado, a solar energy aspect and feature smart-home technology.
Craft said the community features "expansive setbacks" from neighboring residences and local roads to reduce any impact on current residents.
The community will also include a rehabilitated and preserved homestead, community center and museum. Plans are in place for a new school, fire station and sheriff’s department office to be built in the development.
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Construction on the homes starts next summer.