Sterling Ranch growing fast, selling fast in Douglas County

On a sweltering July afternoon, the freshly paved streets that make up the landscape-changing Sterling Ranch in Douglas County were abuzz with activity.

Landscapers laid irrigation lines near the master-planned community’s information center. Inside, a handful of prospective homebuyers talked with staff members in air-conditioned comfort, perusing pamphlets popping with colorful photos of potential homes. Vans for cabinetry companies, roofers and other contractors lined the main road.

After years of planning — and some controversy — Sterling Ranch is sprouting from the mostly wide-open pasture between South Santa Fe Drive and Roxborough Park. In a county that grew by an estimated 8,770 people in 2016, demand for housing is high and excitement is palpable.

“There hasn’t been a master-planned community in the southwest suburbs that has had this access to parks, trails and open space in a long time,” said Frank Walker, Colorado division president for Lennar Homes, last week while showing off one of his company’s model homes.

Lennar, one of the largest home builders in the state with sites in Stapleton, Longmont and elsewhere along the Front Range, is one of eight builders signed on in Sterling Ranch. It will offer homes in eight floor plans, ranging in price from $564,9000 to $673,900. The largest is dubbed the “SuperHome,” a 4,155-square-foot two-story housewith a separate entrance and garage for a 1,200-square-foot mother-in-law apartment. The layout is popular among homeowners with aging parents, those sharing quarters with adult children and parents of children with special needs, Walker said.

All told, Lennar has 280 home sites reserved in Sterling Ranch’s Providence Village, the development’s first and flagship neighborhood. Lennar hopes to begin pouring foundations in August, once infrastructure work is completed and the parcels work their way through the county’s sequence of inspections. As of last week, Lennar had sold seven yet-to-be constructed homes, and 16 sites were reserved, Walker said. 

“We want to be here for a long, long time,” he said.

Providence Village will eventually include about 800 homes, Sterling Ranch spokesman Randy Pye said. Those 800 homes will be the first of more than 12,000 dwellings planned in the 3,400-acre community in the next 20 to 25 years, potentially bringing more than 30,000 residents to the area south of Chatfield Reservoir and west of Highlands Ranch.

Crews will break ground on Friday on the community’s first non-residential building: a 35,000-square-foot structure that will house a civic center and an urgent care facility, among other services.

Still, it took longer than originally anticipated to build the cluster of roughly 40 model homes that showcase the future community. Sterling Ranch faced challenges in recent years. Builders didn’t get a green light until a Douglas County district court judge ruled in 2014 that construction could begin before developers secured all the water Sterling Ranch will eventually need.

Eighty-one percent of residents who responded to a 2017 citizen survey say Douglas County is growing too fast.

That sentiment is far from what’s expressed by house hunters stopping by the Sterling Ranch information office, Pye said.

“It’s so amazing to see the enthusiasm of the people who come out here,” he said. “There is a huge demand for homes in Colorado, especially in the metro area.”

Beyond the dearth of new homes on the Front Range, Pye attributes some of the interest in Sterling Ranch to the way parks and open space will be woven into the community. Plans include 85 acres of open space and 5 miles of trails in Providence Village alone, he said. Also, the community will feature cutting-edge technology. Each home will have a computer-linked thermostat and security system. Some models will include a system that shows real-time water and electricity use and provides tips to cut costs and other handy features, Pye said.

Monica Bauer is a sales associate with Richmond American Homes. The first resident in Sterling Ranch history closed on a Richmond home July 12, she said. Of the 40 to 50 homes Richmond has built there, 32 have sold. On a recent weekend, 500 people visited the company’s Sterling Ranch sales office, she said.

“The flood gates have been opened,” Bauer said. “It you want to get good equity in your home, now is the time to buy.”

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