Meritage Homes, with bullish view of Northern Colorado, arrives at resort community with golf, lakes

By Mark Samuelson

Meritage Homes, with Colorado’s best production-built energy efficiency package, likes the temperature of the water in Northern Colorado – with a great economic outlook, and buyers that have a special liking for environmental features. Meritage already had three neighborhoods open around Fort Collins (ranked by Forbes as 7th best place in the nation for business) when it unveiled its newest Northern Colorado offering last month: two models including a roomy ranch, for a resort styled-community wrapped around 27 holes of semi-private championship golf, and five large lakes.

Meritage's new ranch in Water Valley Meritage’s new ranch plan in Waer Valley.

Water Valley in Windsor, 15 minutes southeast of Fort Collins and around 45 minutes from Broomfield or Westminster, has amenities that sound more like Florida’s Fort Myers than Fort Collins: water features that average a 20-to-25-foot depth, some of them with sand beaches, and wrapped by 7.5 miles of trail that are slated to connect someday with Fort Collins via the Poudre Trail system. The two golf courses are anchored by the 18-hole Pelican Lakes course with a 4-star rating by Golf Digest — among the top-five semi-private courses in the state, according to Golf Digest.
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ZEN: At Stapleton’s Conservatory Green, homes Japanese builders had a yen to see

By Mark Samuelson

Which Denver homebuilder has new models so cutting-edge that a team of Japanese builders flew in last month, just to preview them at Stapleton? Not some big national builder, but rather Denver’s own New Town Builders – with a grand opening this weekend that’s so revolutionary, you could save a sizable chunk of a kid’s college education over the life of your mortgage, just in the saved energy.


New Town Builders’ Gene Myers (center) and his team at the ZEN models, opening this weekend. From left, Bill Gleeson, Bill Rectanus, Kipp Grange and Susan Elovitz.

New Town’s ZEN (Zero-Energy Now) models at Stapleton are good looking, too – and although you’ll get one of the first chances to see them finished, 12 designs have already pre-sold to families in Stapleton’s new Conservatory Green neighborhood (north of I-70 at Central Park Boulevard) before tomorrow’s formal opening. more »

A 45-minute drive from downtown, solar dream retreat with an amazing view

By Mark Samuelson

Bruce Campbell is a genuine Renaissance man – jetliner captain for United Airlines; architecture degree from CU; skilled woodworker – and not surprisingly, he and wife Julene have designed and built their own 5,245-square-foot Swiss retreat, straight out of Zermatt or Champéry, 30 minutes up 285 from 470.

Bruce and Julene Campbell
Bruce and Julene Campbell show their Swiss-style retreat near Conifer.

“I looked from Boulder to Sedalia,” Campbell recalls of a 2-year hunt for this site; and when you arrive you’ll see why he stopped here. The ground falls away to a stunning panorama of the craggy sentinels in the upper Platte Basin, backstopped by Pikes Peak. more »

Parade at Midtown has a house that could be heated by a blow dryer

By Mark Samuelson

Midtown, the new community by Brookfield Residential, has two reasons to place it at the top of your list of what to see during the Parade of Homes, running through Labor Day. Besides being a new-urban master plan only ten minutes from downtown, it’s the only place to see the very newest concept in energy-efficient/solar design – one that gets a little of its magic from solar energy, but even more from novel energy conservation and heat recovery systems.


Brookfield’s models at Midtown, close to Passive House.

Brookfield’s ‘Passive House’ (it was started too late to be registered as the official Parade home at Midtown, but you can tour it along with several others that are) gets a little of its energy from solar – a 1.2-kilowatt solar electric panel on the roof, and plenty of south-facing windows that bring in sunlight. But its other energy systems are so effective, says Brookfield’s General Manager Perry Cadman, that you could actually heat this home during winter using nothing more than a blow dryer.
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Trend-setting custom from Lowry’s debut, back on the market at $799,000

By Mark Samuelson

Back when the annual Parade of Homes still showcased a single street in a brand new community, one of the best was 1998’s Parade introducing Lowry, newly transformed from a 3-square-mile Air Force Base into a new-urban master plan. If you were at that show, you also remember the best home featured – by Boulder-based McStain Enterprises, one that looks even better now than it did then, back on the market at $799,000.


Parade of Homes custom design in Lowry, on market at $799,000.

“McStain chose something different that set themselves apart from others in the Parade,” said Gail Wheeler of Coldwell Banker Devonshire, who’ll open the home once again today, 1-4 p.m. Up the block, builders were showing big Tudor and Colorado contemporaries with massive masonry and darker colors, styles that were dominant in custom areas; while McStain went for something novel: an urban-look Victorian detailed in bright, Queen Anne colors; a bright-n-light interior; and spaces more in line with what buyers seem to be looking for right now – less grandiose, better planned.
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