Last month, I attended NAHB’s midyear meeting in Miami and had the pleasure of sitting in on a presentation by Daniel Swift, president and CEO of Des Moines-based architecture group BSB Design.
Colorado Town Catches New Urbanist Wave
Buena Vista, Colo. is home to a new 400-home New Urbanist community called South Main.
No doubt the world-class white-water park will be a big draw, but home buyers will find other reasons to move to South Main in Buena Vista, Colo. Take, for instance, the location. Buena Vista, a small town about 120 miles southwest of Denver, boasts breathtaking views of the Rocky Mountains, and it's right smack on the banks of the Arkansas River, a hot spot for kayaking and white-water rafting. South Main will also have its own commercial district.
The developers, Jed Selby and his sister, Katie Selby Urban, conceived South Main as a pedestrian-friendly, New Urbanist community where residents chat with their neighbors on the way to the food market or coffee shop. The community will consist of 400 homes, including custom
residences, live/work units and Katrina Cottages — small, efficiently designed homes with 8-foot-deep front porches. Designed by New York City architect Marianne Cusato, the cottages are also being built at four sites in Louisiana for families who lost their homes to Hurricane Katrina.
South Main's first phase of 35 lots sold out in six weeks. Now that the streets, white-water park and walking trails are complete, houses are going up and the next release is being planned. Buyers can purchase a lot and have a home designed by one of the community's approved architects, or snap up a package deal: home and lot. Prices currently range from $110,000 to $165,000 for a custom lot and $185,000 to $260,000 for Katrina Cottages of 544 to 1,200 square feet. Live/work units start at $550,000 for 2,400 square feet.
Selby Urban, co-founder and director of community affairs for South Main Development, points out that all New Urbanist projects run into some roadblocks because they're unique. But by far, the process has been a happy one. The Selbys donated the land adjacent to the river park to the town, ensuring this stretch of water will always be open to the public.