Colorado’s Boulder Creek Builders Is Geared For Growth
This Front Range builder expects to surpass last year’s record sales and closings.
Last week, Boulder Creek Builders had its first-ever all-company meeting for its 30 employees. That gathering was, no doubt, celebratory, as this Louisville, Colo.-based builder had just completed its most successful year.
Boulder Creek is capitalizing on its niche building patio homes and townhomes for downsizing empty nesters in markets along Colorado’s Front Range that didn’t teeter on the brink during the housing recession.
The number of people who visited Boulder Creek’s model centers last year nearly tripled, to 3,500 from 1,031 in 2011. Consequently, the builder’s sales revenue increased by more than 200% to $41 million, closing revenue jumped 264% to $31 million, unit sales more than doubled to 106 from 51, and unit closings increased by 81% to 78.
David Sinkey, Boulder Creek’s principal and co-owner, points to Boulder Creek’s “innovations” in aging and place and universal design as factors contributing to this customer surge.
“There’s always been plenty of demand for what we build,” Sinkey explains. “What restricted us was access to capital.”
So last year, the company—which dates back to a general contracting business Sinkey’s father started in the 1970s—explored new ways to get things financed. It now has solid bank relationships for construction and what Sinkey calls “a robust, well-cultivated group of investors” for land deals.
In 2013, Boulder Creek expects to increase its active communities to seven, from three. A few of the new communities would feature townhouses whose prices—starting in the $280s—will be lower than the $390,000 average that Boulder Creek has been fetching for houses ranging from 1,450 to 2,500 square feet.
This year, the company is projecting sales revenue of $55 million to $60 million. And if market conditions really take off, Sinkey says he has 32 other land deals “that are ready, and we could pull the trigger on.”
However, he is quick to note “we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves” in terms of expanding faster than its operational infrastructure allows.
To accommodate its anticipated growth, Boulder Creek a few years ago scrapped its “homegrown” ERP system for a new system that could handle more velocity. Last year, the builder also more than doubled its workforce. Sinkey says he’s been impressed with the quality of available talent that has gravitated to Boulder Creek from other companies, such as Dave Oyler, the former president of Melody Homes (once one of Denver’s largest builders), who left retirement to join Boulder Credit as its director of special projects.
Boulder Creek takes a different approach to marketing than most builders in that it relies on intimate, face-to-face meetings with potential buyers before it breaks ground for a community. Sinkey concedes this kind of marketing is more time-consuming than traditional ways of reaching customers. But “by the time we’re ready to open a community, we’ve come into contact with more than half of” the buyers, whom he says are “highly convertible” to owners at that point.
John Caulfield is senior editor for Builder magazine.
LOUISVILLE — It’s been a long time since developers specializing in single-family housing have had reason to be optimistic.
The companies started building last year, and both are on pace to build out — and sell out — well ahead of schedule.
“We can’t build any faster. We’ve got people on top of people. I’ve never been witness to a community built this fast,” said David Sinkey, Boulder Creek Builders’ principal and managing director. “This is a pace nobody’s seen, especially around here.”
“This is one of anybody’s most successful communities, in any market,” said Ruth Rowley, Ryland Homes’ vice president for sales and marketing.
As of mid-May, Ryland Homes sold 70 of the 84 homes it will build on its 57-acre portion of Steel Ranch, Rowley said. The prices of its homes range from $356,000 for a 1,711-square-foot ranch to about $525,000 for a 3,056-square-foot two-story home.
Boulder Creek has sold 38 of the 68 homes it will build on its portion. Prices range from the low $400,000s to $600,000. The Steel Ranch models have won awards from local and national homebuilders’ associations.
Growing demand for new homes and a sense the economy is improving are two of the driving factors behind the brisk sales, Sinkey and Rowley said on a recent tour of the development. There’s also a lack of existing homes going on the market in the greater Boulder area.
But that doesn’t explain why Steel Ranch is outselling other projects. The major reason for that, the builders said, is its proximity to Louisville, with its charming downtown.
“It’s different in a good way,” Rowley said. “You have the feeling of a small town, which is very big right now.”
The area also has weathered the recession better than have most communities, Sinkey said, and local employers are strong.
“It allowed everyone to feel they could take a chance on the area,” he said.
Louisville has been piling up awards as one of the nation’s best places to live, including taking the top spot on Money magazine’s biennial list of best small towns in 2009 and 2011.
“The Money magazine story is just the cherry on top,” Sinkey said.
Ryland and Boulder Creek benefit from offering homes targeted at different demographics. According to Sinkey, Boulder Creek’s homebuyers are predominantly empty nesters who are downsizing from the homes in which they raised their children. They want smaller homes, and the smaller lots mean virtually no yard work.
Middle-aged single women also find the patio-home concept appealing, Sinkey said.
Ryland’s homebuyers are younger, mainly families who have outgrown their first home, Rowley said: A mom and dad who are professionals in successful careers and can afford a bit extra for a good school district and small-town feel.
“It’s been nice in that regard,” Rowley said. “We don’t really compete.”
Steel Ranch never would have gotten off the ground if the companies had not cooperated in the early days. Another major national homebuilder was looking to purchase the land, but Boulder Creek and Ryland were able to put together a last-second proposal to buy the tract. The deal took two frantic weeks to put together, Sinkey said.
The success of Steel Ranch will help both companies launch new forays into the Colorado market.
Louisville-based Boulder Creek Builders LLC is a privately held company which specializes in patio homes and townhouses. It is building five communities in Louisville, Longmont and Loveland.
Boulder Creek is about to expand its reach beyond its traditional area in Boulder County, Sinkey said. He is not able to disclose the new location at the moment, but he said it will be building in major metro-Denver developments.
Boulder Creek’s growth shows small, locally owned development and building companies can survive and thrive, which seemed very much in doubt at times during the recession, Sinkey said.
Ryland Homes is part of the Ryland Group Inc., a 45-year-old national homebuilder that is publicly traded (NYSE: RYL). The company is based in Westlake Village, California, with its Colorado division headquartered in Greenwood Village.
Ryland returned to the Colorado market in 2010, and its part of Steel Ranch is helping the company regain its foothold in the state, Rowley said.
“It’s a very exciting time for us,” she said. “We’re getting back on the map in Colorado.”
DENVER — There’s at least one booming industry in Colorado right now, desperately looking for workers: the construction industry. After a decade of doldrums, Colorado construction is hot again.
Between February 2011 and February 2012, the Denver-Aurora-Broomfield area added 6,300 construction jobs, according to the Associated General Contractors of America. That’s more than anywhere else in the United States.
Right now, about 137,000 Coloradans are working in construction. Times are good.
“The first quarter of 2012, we will equal the construction volume and revenue that we had in all of 2011,” said David Sinkey, managing director for Boulder Creek Builders. His company is hard at work developing the Steel Ranch neighborhood in Louisville. But there’s a problem. He can’t find enough construction workers.
“We’re very concerned about the labor force. We’ve already reached a point in our construction that there’s a limitation on the number of framers and trades-people that are available,” he said.
The problem? When the economy tanked, and building in Colorado all but stopped a few years ago, lots of construction workers moved away, or got out of the business entirely, because times got so tough.
“Extremely tough,” said Robert Lazarony, a construction workers who was out of work for six and a half months, after the construction company where he’d worked for more than a decade folded during the downturn.
“You’re not always sure what the outcome is going to be,” he said.
But now, he’s back to work, overseeing the building of Steel Ranch homes, and he’s desperate to hire good construction workers. It’s tough to do, because they’re being snatched up by other builders.
His advice? If you’re looking to reinvent yourself… a job in the construction industry might be the way to go. There are plenty of openings. Just make sure you have a passion for building. And make sure you learn how to do it right, before you apply.
“Let them get trained somewhere else and then send them my way,” he joked.
To learn more about jobs in construction jobs, click here:http://www.constructionjobs.com/index_eng.cfm
To learn more about the 6300 construction jobs in the Denver-Aurora-Broomfield area, click here: http://www.agc.org/cs/news_media/press_room/press_release?pressrelease.id=1063
Quarry Lake in Loveland: A serene lakefront enclave of patio homes – Daily Camera – At Home Section, April 13, 2012
Tuscan-style patio homes built by Boulder Creek Builders of Louisville enjoy a perfect setting alongside the lake, just a stone’s- throw from open space and nature trails.
“All homesites back up to the lake and, beyond that, 130 acres of open space, “ says sales representative Jim Lettis.
The value of lakefront property, high-quality construction, and working with a well-known local builder make Quarry Lake a unique opportunity for savvy homebuyers. This is an intimate enclave, with just 30 paired patio homes – that is, 15 buildings. They range in price between $355,000 and $375,000. Boulder Creek Builders is currently building the model home and one home for sale, with more homes coming.
“We build for downsizers who want something very nice that’s the right size,” Lettis says. “Besides being energy efficient, these homes are low- maintenance, with snow and trash removal, so you can spend your free time enjoying your Colorado outdoor lifestyle instead of taking care of the yard.”
The homes at Quarry Lake
These homes are designed for easy living. The main floor features a master suite, laundry, study and Great Room. Each home includes a large walk- out lower level with recreation room and additional bedroom. The four floor plans to choose from range from 2,402 to 2,670 finished square feet; bonus rooms further add to the finished square footage.
“The architecture is beautiful, outside and inside, with stunning exterior materials, nine-foot ceilings, and master bedroom at the back of the house to enjoy the peace and quiet of the lake,” Lettis says. “In these patio homes everything people need day to day is on one floor, with a finished lower level for company or entertainment. Our homes allow people to live the Colorado lifestyle that everyone wants – with lock-and-leave convenience, and a low-maintenance lifestyle with no more weekends mowing the lawn or shoveling snow.”
A key element of the building process is protecting the environment and making homes as efficient as possible. All homes at Quarry Lake are built using green building technology that results in, for example, better indoor-air quality and lower utility bills. With 2 x 6 exterior wall construction, formaldehyde- free blown fiberglass insulation, R-24 exterior walls, R-49 attic spaces, and many more high- quality construction practices, the homes are built for comfort and durability.
Boulder Creek Builders
Boulder Creek Builders is an award-winning, Louisville- based homebuilder that creates innovative communities across the Front Range. The company builds homes designed around how people aspire to live, appealing to the active lifestyle homeowner, including professionals, empty nesters, semi-retired and post-children “Baby Boomers,” through the creation of low-maintenance, single-family and multi-family residential homes. Boulder Creek’s communities vary in size, price and concept, but have a common thread: they embrace quality craftsmanship and green building practices and provide an unmatched lifestyle.
Managing Director/Principal David Sinkey says of the new Quarry Lake community, “With the lake, this site is so compelling. These ranch homes are designed for this site, with back patios and walk-out lower levels. The Tuscan-inspired architecture is distinctive and upscale, with a low-maintenance stucco exterior, concrete roof tiles, lower-slung roof pitch, cupola and arches.
“These homes, on a lake, are a tremendous value if you’re willing to drive north. They would be significantly higher-priced in communities south of Loveland.”
Join the Quarry Lake interest list to receive additional information as it becomes available. And stop by for a tour of the property. The sales office is at 464 Split Rock Drive in Loveland. It is open daily except Tuesday and Wednesday. Hours are: Monday 1-6 p.m., Thursday, Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call Jim Lettis at 970.458.4440, or e-mail jlettis@livebouldercreek. com. For more details and to sign up on the interest list, visit www. LiveQuarryLake.comNo comments
Whether you call them aging baby boomers, empty nesters, or active adults, 50+ home buyers are a powerful market segment that many builders would love to tap — although getting them to buy is more difficult nowadays. The economy is largely to blame; according to a study of the 55+ market by the MetLife Mature Market Institute and the National Association of Home Builders, the housing downturn and the recession of 2008-09 made buyers more practical, with increased importance on financial rather than aesthetic reasons for choosing a new home. Read More…No comments
Steel Ranch receives national housing award
50+ Housing Council recognizes the builder for floor plans, renderings and design
Louisville’s Steel Ranch development received the Silver Achievement Award for “Best Detached Home On the Boards” from the National Association of Homebuilders earlier this month.
The NAHB 50+ Housing Council awarded Boulder Creek Builders, in conjunction with KGA Studio Architects and Osmosis Architects, with Steel Ranch’s award during the 2012 NAHB’s International Builders’ Show Feb. 8-11 at the Orlando Convention Center, in Orlando, Fla., according to a Boulder Creek press release.No comments
There is no precise timeline for progress in the Rocky Mountain Center for Innovation and Technology project, but the area surrounding the business campus has sparked hope among residential developers.
Two housing developments are under way in the area next to the former Agilent Technologies campus, and the developers are anticipating that the hundreds, if not thousands, of new jobs created by the project will help them find buyers.1 comment
Six years have passed since Loveland developer Jeryl Benner launched The Quarry, a residential project that arcs around a 20-acre pond east of Taft Avenue between First Street and Carlisle Drive. Read more…No comments
Boulder Creek Builders, in Louisville and Longmont, hits pay dirt with low-maintenance ranches and townhomes
Two years ago, builder David Sinkey of Boulder Creek Builders was on the phone to the big Denver developers, trying to convince them to work some of his low-maintenance patio ranch designs into their large master-plans. Now a half dozen of those developers are talking with him, wanting to rub some of the same magic into their own communities that just since November has attracted 18 sales in the $400s and $500s.
You can see those sharp, traditionally styled patio models (from the low $4s) today at Steel Ranch in Louisville (they were packed with visitors when I toured Wednesday). And you can tour some Boulder Creek townhomes near the Longmont Diagonal Highway that offer the same low maintenance and high energy efficiency, at half the price.
Kingsbridge Townhomes, off Airport Road in Longmont, is a little hard to find and gets a fraction of the traffic that Steel Ranch does – but has such a high conversion rate that Boulder Creek has already gone through well over half of the 109 townhome sites it took over there from a California builder in 2010.
“We don’t restrict any of our communities to 55-and-older,” said Sinkey — one of four principals in a company that dates from one his father launched in Boulder in 1976. We left headquarters in Louisville’s scenic downtown, surrounded by shops and dining that helped earn Louisville the number-1 national ranking in Money Magazine’s annual ‘Best Places to Live’…and headed for Steel Ranch, a mile north.
Nevertheless, Boulder Creek’s buyers seem to ‘self-restrict’ into that older, downsizing demographic. Along with a few single females, empty-nest buyers dominate sales at Steel Ranch (and are catching the attention of those large developers, anxious to tap into that market).
Those downsizers are also a factor at Longmont’s Kingsbridge (it has four 2-story townhome plans, including one that could go main-floor master)…however, buyers there also find three schools within walking distance including Longmont’s Silver Creek High, rated 9-for-10 stars at GreatSchools.net. The schools and the prices (from the very low $200s for 2- and 3-bedrooms that are nine miles from Boulder, four miles from IBM) also lure single moms and dads, and another demographic you don’t hear much about: ‘never-nesters’ – ones who have rented for years and years, and now have plenty of cash to make a purchase.
What Boulder Creek DOESN’T see at Kingsbridge are first-time buyers; and that, says Sinkey, doesn’t make any sense. After all, these large plans have attached 2-car garages, roomy storage spaces, extra-outdoor private storage for bikes; and optimal energy features (blown-Fiberglas insulation that earn HERS scores under 60, so low they were featured by Channel 9 News). The smallest, a 2-bedroom ‘Florence,’ delivers 1,490 square feet for $205,000 – with a bright-and-light interior that comes standard with wood kitchen floors, nicer birch cabinets in a choice of colors, and ceramic tile bath surrounds.
They also show something all Boulder Creek’s buyers, young and old, agree on: Despite the low-maintenance, they want manageable HOA fees. “Our people say, ‘Give us walking-biking trails; but not a pool, that means higher dues,’” Sinkey added. Boulder Creek keeps track of its buyers’ preferences through a ‘Founders Group’ that reviews new models. When the group was asked what they’d be willing to pay for the new Steel Ranch patio plans, their estimates were so high, Sinkey says, that company planners knew they had a winner on their hands.
You can see Steel Ranch off 95th Street in Louisville; from the Turnpike take Northwest Parkway north, jogging onto 96th, and continue north 5 miles, just past Baseline. Kingsbridge in Longmont is off Airport Road between Diagonal and Nelson Road; from Boulder take the Diagonal north 6 miles to Airport, then left a mile to Venice Lane.
If you go…
WHERE: Kingsbridge Townhomes in west Longmont by Boulder Creek Builders, low-maintenance 2-&-3 bedroom townhomes near trails, 4 miles to IBM. 1656 Venice Lane, Longmont; take I-25 north to Exit 240, Colo. 119; west 7.6 mi., continue west on Nelson Rd. 1.9 mi to Airport Rd.; left 1 mi. to Venice Lane. Or from Boulder’s Foothills Pkwy take Diagonal north 6.6 mi. to Airport Rd, left 1 mi. to Venice
PRICE: From $205s; Steel Ranch from the low $400s
WHEN: Today & Saturday 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.; Sunday 11-5
PHONE: 303-772-3063 Steel Ranch, 303-745-1091 WEB: LiveBoulderCreek.comNo comments
We love to point out the benefits of Boulder County life…and great jobs is one of the best reasons to make our beautiful county home. The Boulder Daily Camera just published an article on the area’s 50 top businesses, which include IBM, Ball Corp., Level 3, Oracle, and other nationally-recognized businesses in tech, pharma, and so much more. It’s a great reminder of the prosperity and prospects of a community that’s not just another pretty face along the foothills.
New to Boulder County? Ready to own instead of renting? Boulder Creek has many great options, from breezy townhomes in Longmont to ranch-style patio homes in award-winning Louisville and so much more. Click here to learn more about our Boulder County offerings and the benefits of Boulder Creek’s green, right-sized homes.No comments