The last of 129 lots at Silver Spur Estates sold March 30, about 3 1/2 years after the first one was sold.
"The market was better than we expected," Developer W.C. White said from the living room of his own Silver Spur home. "Most of the houses up here have average prices close to $400,000. At first, we thought it was going to be $150,000 to $200,000, but we hit the in-between market and didn't even realize it.
"We saw it as an affordable subdivision that Steamboat really needed, so there was a lot of demand. The land price was unheard of at the time."
The first lots sold at $65,000, but as the demand grew, that price rose. The last lot sold for $140,000.
Charmayne Ricks and her family were living in Broomfield two years ago, and they wanted to escape the urban hustle and bustle to a mountain town. They wanted to buy a lot to build their own house, and Silver Spur was the only way to afford that, Ricks said.
"It's a good family-oriented community for our kids, and it's close to town," Ricks said.
Randy Dodd, who previously lived in Milner, also built a home in the subdivision after more than 20 years in Routt County.
"I bought it when it was affordable 2 1/2 years ago," Dodd said. "It's closer to town, I have a nice view of the mountain, and it's a good neighborhood. I wish I had bought two or three lots, though. Now they're all gone."
Others did buy lots and profit from resales, White said, but most of the lots were sold to first-time or family buyers.
The rising cost did not turn people away from the subdivision, but rather raised its quality, White said.
"The quality of houses and architecture was more than we expected," White said. "Obviously, people like what they see, otherwise sales wouldn't have gone as well as they did."
In 1999, the subdivision was 110 acres of hayfields and sagebrush. An initial developer took the proposal for the 129-lot subdivision through the Routt County planning process and received approval before deciding to sell it. White ultimately purchased it.
The subdivision is now about 80 percent built out, White said.
Strict covenants were put in place, which also contributed to the aesthetic quality of homes, White said.
One covenant requires every home to have 20 percent of its front elevation broken up with different angles to prevent a flat appearance. Another covenant requires covered entryways.
"We went to other subdivisions to see what we liked and didn't like," White said. "We wanted nice architectural control, and for the most part, I think we achieved that."
The subdivision also boasts more than 35 acres of open space, including a playground, an irrigated soccer field and a three-mile, soft-surface walking trail that serves as a maintained cross-country ski trail in the winter.
White and his wife, Sally, originally from Texas, have lived in Evergreen and Steamboat Springs the past 20 years, developing several projects in Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada. In Granby, they also are completing an 80-lot subdivision, where just four lots are left. At Silver Spur, White said he would love to expand and continue the project but that land is tough to come by.
"This is it for now," he said.
White wanted to thank all the key players involved with the success of Silver Spur, including the Routt County Planning Department, Civil Design Consultants and the various real estate brokers that helped promote sales.
-- To reach Nick Foster call 871-4204
or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org