Steamboat Springs Undeterred by the difficulty of selling high-end building lots in a recession, the developers of Barn Village at Steamboat say two significant construction projects will go forward this summer.
Residential subdivision developer Bob Comes said last week that the owners' amenity building, complete with an all-season swimming pool and exercise room, will be built this summer. Jay Czarkowski, of Construction Design Group, is the general contractor. He said he also will break ground on a 10,000-square-foot duplex building at the same time his crews begin the amenity building.
To date, Barn Village has closed on 11 of 54 lots in the subdivision, Comes said. The sales process got off to a fast start during Labor Day weekend in 2007 when 53 lots were reserved with refundable deposits. However, as the time to make the contracts approached in late 2007, it became clear to the developers and their representatives that many of the buyers had been speculating and didn't intend to follow through.
Still, Realtor Chris Wittemyer, of Prudential Steamboat Realty, was pleased with 17 reservations thought to be solid, representing a 30 percent conversion rate. Ultimately, the 17 turned to 11 sales, and Czarkowski accounted for two of the duplex lot sales.
Comes said he thinks his development group has the financial ability to ride out the recession.
"We have strong continued interest and with the improvements and the amenity building, we are optimistic the strong success we experienced in the past will continue," Comes said. "And we're fortunate - I've done well, and my partner, Eric MacAfee, has funded 11 public companies. We're going to have the financial capacity to do what we need to do."
Czarkowski said his favorite part of the new amenity building at Barn Village is the exercise room.
"It has a wall of windows looking out over the ski area," he said.
Czarkowski, based in Boulder, has built large spec homes on Val d'Isere Circle and AprÃs Ski Way on the hillsides just south of Steamboat Ski Area. His crews also are drying-in a large townhome/duplex project on Steamboat Boulevard. Like Comes, Czarkowski said he capitalizes each project for the long haul.
"We bring in several partners on each project," he said. "There's enough horsepower behind each project to carry it indefinitely. We've converted the house on AprÃs Ski Way to high-end rentals."
Barn Village is a residential subdivision bordering Fish Creek and Pine Grove Road, between the Central Park Plaza commercial center and Yampa Valley Medical Center. It is notable for the historic More Barn, which stands at the Pine Grove Road entrance to the neighborhood. The barn and 4 acres surrounding it were given to the city for use as a public park.
The subdivision approval allows primarily three types of housing. There are 12 duplex lots, 34 small lots for single-family homes in a neo-traditional neighborhood with back-loaded garages, and larger lots for larger single-family homes. The neo-traditional lots, measuring between 0.14 and 0.21 acres, sold for $451,000 to $575,000, according to Wittemyer. He has the remaining 43 lots co-listed with colleagues Pam Vanatta and Cam Boyd.
The duplex lots like the two that Czarkowski bought were the most expensive in the subdivision, beginning with one lot priced at $995,000 and continuing in small increments as much as $1.15 million.
Czarkowski said that during the peak of the construction boom in Steamboat, he was unable to build relationships with subcontractors here because they were so busy, so he used companies with which he had a relationship in the Boulder area. Now, he said, he hopes to work with a number of Steamboat subcontractors on the Barn Village amenity building and the new duplex, including electrical and plumbing work.
We want to use predominantly local subs and suppliers," Czarkowski said.
The Construction Design Group duplex on Steamboat Boulevard is dried in but has not been listed for sale. Czarkowski said he doesn't like to list a spec home for sale until it is complete, staged with furnishings and ready to show.
Czarkowski and Comes each have purchased lots from the development entity, with the intent of building family homes for themselves. They said those projects may be next on the calendar at Barn Village.