Harvey Street seeks to create vertically integrated neighborhood concept
September 28, 2013
Steamboat Springs — In a tough development climate for Steamboat Springs, a partnership including Routt County residents and nationally recognized developers and professionals is trying to create a neighborhood concept using high-efficiency logistics to deliver midlevel prices.
But Aileen Sandstedt, a principal in the project who has lived in Routt County since 1999, said the group doesn't want its Harvey Street concept to sound like just another development.
The project planned for a parcel on Anglers Drive across from the Sundance at Fish Creek shopping center is modeled off another project by StreetScape Development LLC in Libertyville, Ill., called SchoolStreet.
SchoolStreet featured a show home from architect and best-selling author Sarah Susanka based on her book “The Not So Big House” and generated a large amount of media attention for its semi-custom homes and neighborhood concept. StreetScape also was featured in Leigh Gallagher's book “The End of the Suburbs” for its embrace of urban living.
The same approach is being taken with StreetScape's partnership with Colorado Partners Realty Group in Steamboat.
John McLinden, a principal of StreetScape, first visited Steamboat in December 1979 and said he's loved skiing here with his family ever since. While visiting last year with Sandstedt, talks turned toward what McLinden was doing at SchoolStreet, and pretty soon they were looking at a site.
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The 37 houses currently planned for the Anglers parcel would open onto courtyards and have alleys running behind them. Although the intent is to allow for a high level of customization by the owner, each home would have a side entrance and a porch on its front-facing side in an effort to minimize space loss and connect neighbors, respectively.
"We're not presenting this like another development in Steamboat," Sandstedt said about the neighborhood concept. "We want these lights to be on."
Sample drawings also show details such as windows facing away from neighbors with skylights utilized for natural light, courtyards designed for privacy and garages for each single-family home.
But a large part of the appeal is the design mentality based on “The Not So Big House” and the way owners intend to use their homes. The opportunity for customization allows for different floor plans and number of stories as well as features such as courtyards, patios and detached units.
As part of a $2,500 refundable deposit to reserve a spot, Sandstedt said, a designer will walk the buyers through the process to define how they want to live rather than focusing on square footage and the number of bedrooms. Then a sample floor plan will be drawn to their specifications, with estimated sizes between 1,800 and 2,400 square feet for single-family homes.
All the homes at Harvey Street will be U.S. Department of Energy Challenge Homes, a benchmark for energy efficiency.
To hit the $369,000 to $749,000 price point, the supply chain expertise of former Motorola executive Denise Gibson and existing vendor relationships will be coupled with an entirely in-house, single-source design and build process. A local construction manager will oversee the boots on the ground.
"Internally, we have a broad mix of people and talent base here," McLinden said about StreetScape. In addition to the vertical integration of the design and building process, StreetScape will employ technologies such as Building Information Mapping, which is too expensive for most residential construction, McLinden said, but "we're looking at this in a broader way."
The project is entering the city of Steamboat Springs planning process, and the site is under contract, which Sandstedt said is noted on deposit forms.
Another project previously planned for the site left behind infrastructure like a road and some utilities, but there is some more road work to finish, Sandstedt said.
The location is excellent for the neighborhood concept, she said, because of its proximity to restaurants and grocery stores as well as its location between downtown and the mountain. The project also parallels many goals and examples in the community area plan.
"This is something the city is aspiring to get," McLinden said. "This is not an uphill battle about a product type that's not embraced by the community."
The project has not been advertised outside Steamboat, Sandstedt said. It eventually will hit the multiple listing service, she said, but for now, the hope is to reach out to residents of Steamboat who are looking to stay here.
After opening up to the public last week, the project is accepting refundable deposits and will need some level of presales to move forward, but that number is flexible, according to Sandstedt.
"We're very confident that these will sell," McLinden said, adding that having six to eight sold by the first quarter of next year would be a conservative estimate.
"We believe it's a great asset to the Steamboat market because it really doesn't exist" anywhere else, she said.