Steamboat Springs The 47 unsold home lots in Barn Village at Steamboat will return to the active real estate market at reduced prices in early May.
The foreclosed lots, just east of Pine Grove Road opposite the Central Park Plaza shopping center, were purchased at foreclosure auction in December by Gibraltar Capital and Asset Management LLC for a reported $5.6 million.
Realtor Chris Wittemyer, of Prudential Steamboat Realty, has been associated with Barn Village from the beginning and expects to sign a listing contract with Gibraltar this week to continue in that role. He predicted that construction on new homes there would begin this construction season.
“We see increasing demand for homes priced from $600,000 up to $1.2 million, and there is only a four- to five-month supply” in a portion of that price range. “I think people have been watching Barn Village to see what will happen with it. I have a significant number of people, including builders, get in touch and ask about it recently.”
The subdivision is behind the iconic More Barn, known to most people as the Steamboat barn since it first appeared in a poster in 1972 promoting Steamboat Ski Area. The recently restored barn now is part of a small park donated to the city of Steamboat Springs by original developers Bob Comes and Eric McAfee.
“It has an amazing location where it’s shielded from Pine Grove Road by the barn and has Fish Creek and the hospital on the other sides. There’s no through traffic,” Wittemyer said. “But you can walk to the grocery store or a movie or to Strings” Music Festival.
Gibraltar is the private equity arm of luxury home builder Toll Bothers, which has developed Front Range subdivisions like Anthem Ranch in Broomfield, Backcountry in Highlands Reach and Tallyn’s Reach in Aurora. However, Wittemyer said Toll Brothers has no plans to build homes at Barn Village.
“That creates opportunity for other people,” he said.
In recent discussions with representatives of Gibraltar, Wittemyer said they studied where to price the lots so that they would represent about 20 to 25 percent of the total cost if a well-appointed home in the target range were built on them.
“We worked backward to come up with lot values so that on the smaller lots, at $140,000 to $200,000, the prices would support building a 2,000 to 3,000-square-foot at (construction costs of) $200 to $250 per square foot,” Wittemyer said.
He acknowledged that throughout 2012, real estate buyers have been able to acquire homes at prices below replacement cost but pointed out again that inventory has been reduced, and there aren’t any more opportunities to develop high-end residential subdivisions within city limits.
Barn Village, which is fully complete including a clubhouse, has two existing homes. The roads are paved, sidewalks are in and utilities extended to all of the relatively flat building sites.
The subdivision along Fish Creek — with a mix of 54 housing sites, including small, single-family lots, duplex lots and larger estate lots — came through the city planning process in 2006. When the lots went on the market in late 2007, buyers lined up to reserve them — in most cases there was more than one buyer in line for each lot — but as the time to close arrived in June 2008, the deals weren’t consummated. Prices began at about $522,000 for the small residential lots of less than 0.2 acres and original asking prices for duplex lots along the creek were just more than $1 million.
The developers announced that they were cutting their original asking prices in half in May 2010, and a few lots sold in the range of $250,000, but there was no real resurgence of interest for the product.
New lot prices have yet to be finalized, Wittemyer said, but a recent blog post by Realtor Jon Wade, of Colorado Group Realty, in which he wrote that the new price structure would represent about a 70 percent discount from original 2008 prices was not out of the range being discussed.
Wade, who was close to the foreclosure sale because of another prospective buyer he represented, said he expects prices for the smaller family lots to come in from $140,000 to $200,000. Large single-family lots likely will be in the range of $230,000 to $240,000, and large single-family lots with creek frontage on the east end of the subdivision would be priced at about $450,000. Duplex lots along Fish Creek could come in between $350,000 and $450,000.
The outstanding debt on the subdivision when it went into foreclosure was $10.53 million.
Wade said Barn Village fits into a triumvirate of ready-to-build subdivisions just removed from the base of Steamboat Ski Area.
It includes The Range at Wildhorse Meadows, just south of the completed Trailhead Lodge, where just one of 41 lots have been built. All of the lots in The Range are individually owned.
The third subdivision is Graystone on the Green, bordering Rollingstone Ranch Golf Club. Graystone was acquired by a division of Fortress Investments several years ago. With one developer home in the late stages of construction there and two more expected to begin construction there this summer, according to Wade, the business plan seems to have shifted to developing and selling custom homes.
To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com