June 22, 2017
After a lengthy lull in new development, Grand County's construction sector is on the rebound with new homes and developments cropping up from the Fraser Valley north to Grand Lake and out to points beyond.
Through the end of May this year, the Grand County Building Department, which provides building department services for all of unincorporated Grand County as well as the communities of Grand Lake and Hot Sulphur Springs, has issued 29 permits for single-family dwellings.
The department has issued 139 other permits for all other construction, totalling 168 permits. The project permits represent a total over $14.25 million in value.
Through the end of May last year, the county department had issued 21 permits for single-family dwellings and a total of 181 permits for all construction.
“I think Grand County is doing really well in terms of real estate. Our advantage is we are not overgrown. It is not crowded everywhere you go here.”
— Paul Chavoustie
While overall more permits were issued by this time in 2016, the value of the projects permitted in 2017 is greater.
The total value of the projects permitted by the county through May 2016 was just over $12 million, that's more than $2 million less than the valuation of this year's projects.
And that's only the beginning as the overall trend in the county is moving towards more construction and pricier projects.
The jump in development for the county seems to have kicked off in 2016.
In 2014, a total of 56 permits were issued by the department for single-family dwellings, while in 2015 that figure increased slightly to 59. In 2016, however, there was a significant jump, with the total number of single-family dwelling permits jumping to 77.
The total valuation of all projects jumped significantly from $33.28 million in 2015 to $42.34 million the next year.
Several large-scale commercial developments across the county are either almost finished or construction is underway.
The Sitzmark North and South properties in Winter Park are nearing completion, anticipated sometime in November if not earlier, while the Boardwalk Lofts project in Grand Lake is moving ahead.
With new homes going up in subdivisions, more than a few developers are dusting off their development plans for the first time in years.
One such developer is Paul Chavoustie, Granby Mayor, who owns the Edgewater housing subdivision on Granby's south end.
He purchased the property in the mid-200s and began selling riverside cabins in 2007. With the 2008 recession, the market for high-end vacation and recreation homes mostly evaporated.
"From 2008 until now we basically shelved this project," Chavoustie said. "It just kind of sat on the shelf. We were waiting for the right market."
And now, according to Chavoustie, is the time to strike.
After nearly 10 years with little action, Edgewater is now ramping back up and looking to take advantage of current market conditions. One of the most significant new trends, as Chavoustie explained, is a movement by retirees settling back into the area. He also noted that the increased ability to work remotely has allowed more white-collar professionals to relocate to the area while still working or operating businesses.
The new offerings at Edgewater are mountain contemporary cabins that emulate the recently popularized tiny-home movement. Chavoustie noted many of the new wave of buyers he sees are looking for recreational amenities and lifestyle options as much as vaulted ceilings, high-end appliances or any of the tactile construction elements of a home. He also said most of the buyers he sees fall into one of two categories: folks close to retirement looking to escape the city, and families with children in their early 40s looking for a home away from home.
"I think Grand County is doing really well in terms of real estate," Chavoustie said. "Our advantage is we are not overgrown. It is not crowded everywhere you go here."