Looking for a Place to Live in Northern Colorado?
WE’VE GOT YOU COVERED.
By Dan England and Angie Grenz
OK. Let’s be honest. Magazines LOVE to make lists. And, because we can’t help ourselves, we are presenting five desirable categories and giving you a few examples in Northern Colorado of neighborhoods that fit them. We did this with the help of town and city planners because they seemed to be the most unbiased source (most, in fact, didn’t want to speak on the record because they were wary of “selling” one area over another, as that’s not a planner’s job).
Ultimately, we made the final decision on these, so don’t yell at the planners. Please think of this list as a starting point. Maybe it’s a way to narrow down the hundreds of choices of where to look if you’re searching for a specific category. Also keep this caveat in mind next month, when we’ll probably present you with another list, such as “250 beers you can’t live without.” We can fight over who gets to write that one.
One of the market trends of the last few years are neighborhoods designed for seniors, either single or empty-nesters, who don’t want to take care of a big house but don’t want to live in an apartment next to partying college students or buy a motorhome and travel the country listening to Willie Nelson. They also value their independence and blanch at the idea of living in a nursing home.
These places are quiet, small and usually located near amenities that may appeal to those 55 and older.
NEIGHBORHOOD: OAKRIDGE CROSSING
LOCATION: FORT COLLINS
Why we picked it: Seniors must be 62 or older and on a fixed income; there are maximum income limits. The apartments are nice and fit into a planned community along the Harmony Corridor in Fort Collins, with access to Colorado State University, two hospitals, grocery stores, neighborhood retail, restaurants, parks and bike trails. The complex itself also has storage space, a picnic area, a library, fitness center and laundry facilities. Oakridge-crossing.com
Why we picked it: The Loveland Housing Authority developed this area as an affordable planned development for seniors with a variety of housing, including two apartment complexes, 55 single-family homes and duplex units and six skilled nursing homes. A three-story apartment building with 60 units recently completed construction. There are services, such as activities and outings, as well as amenities such as a gym, salon, therapeutic massage, a coffee bistro and a community garden. MirasolSeniorCommunity.com
This was the trickiest category, partly because the word “affordable” has a stigma and partly because the word really depends on individual income levels, and yet many cities do have a goal to present more affordable housing in their housing plans. We tried to present some options here based on value, though homebuyers may have to travel a little outside Northern Colorado’s main city hubs.
NEIGHBORHOOD: WELLINGTON VILLAGE SOUTH
Why we picked it: Established in 2017, the area includes a clubhouse with an indoor and outdoor pool, sauna, community area and gym. Homes include townhome-style and ranch condominiums featuring two and four bedrooms and attached garages. They start in the $260s. Fr-corp.com
NEIGHBORHOOD: NORTH POINT
Why we picked it: The North Point community is very centrally located in Evans, near U.S. 85 and U.S. 34, and close to shops and schools in Greeley. The homes feature innovative floor plans from Baessler Homes. Single-family homes are offered in the low $300s and start at 1,341 square feet. Baesslerhomes.com
Why we picked it: The Conestoga community by Baessler Homes is nestled in the quiet town of Ault, just 20 minutes from Fort Collins. The development offers ten floor plans, with approximately 1,200 to 1,900 square feet and a price range in the low to mid $300s. Ten acres of commercial land will bring grocery, restaurants and retail to the development in the future. Baesslerhomes.com
This category, without a doubt, could have listed dozens of neighborhoods in Northern Colorado, regardless of income levels, single- or multi-family or location. Yet many of the neighborhoods for families of small children aren’t as prevalent, and that’s because the market is changing, says Brad Mueller, director of community development for the City of Greeley. Maybe a fourth of all households contain children, a drastic decrease from the 1950s, when half were run by June and Ward Cleaver.
“We’re recognizing that the single-family house designed for a family to be raised in is really not accommodating a lot of family anymore,” Mueller says. The market now offers smaller homes, creative multi-family areas and places for seniors as well as professionals.
Mueller and other planners now prefer the term “complete” neighborhoods, ones that offer amenities enjoyed by everyone, not just parents of small children. These neighborhoods, many of them classic, tend to be occupied by people of all types, from seniors to professionals to parents. “As planners, we love that,” Mueller says. “That’s how you have a society that gets to know each other.”
Why we picked it: RainDance is a neighborhood made for families who are active and want a little bit of everything nearby. Amenities include a massive pool with lazy river, clubhouse, event lawn, fishing pond—and that is just the beginning. The neighborhood is also very conveniently located close to Poudre Trail, Pelican Lakes Golf Course and two miles from I-25. RainDance offers plenty of bang for the buck. Raindancecolorado.com
LOCATION: WINDSOR LAKE
Why we picked it: The brand-new subdivision is planted near Windsor Lake and the city’s downtown area, so it has a surprisingly urban feel with the amenities of the large lake. Many of Windsor’s events are held a stone’s throw away, the dog park is nearby and there are miles of trails to play on. Windmill Homes offers several floor plans with large square footage in the subdivision. Greenspirewindsorlake.com
NEIGHBORHOOD: LAKES AT CENTERRA
Why we picked it: This master planned community offers a mix of single-family detached homes, townhomes and multifamily homes. The development incorporates the High Plains Environmental Center and the Thompson Valley School District K-8 High Plains School. There is also an extensive trail network nearby, an HOA clubhouse and pool, and the development sits just west of Equalizer and Houts Reservoirs. LakesatCenterra.com
These neighborhoods are for people who prefer living in active, hip places that feature shops, amenities and, of course, a good coffee place all within walking distance. They feel like they belong in the city, even though they are now located in Greeley, Fort Collins and, yes, Windsor.
“It represents a new kind of urban living lifestyle,” Mueller says of Greeley’s contribution below, although he could have been talking about the trend. “It’s not new for downtown property, as some have apartments above them, but those were built decades ago. What’s old is new again. The world is rediscovering the benefits of being on a busy street.
NEIGHBORHOOD: OLD TOWN NORTH
LOCATION: FORT COLLINS
Why we picked it: This 45-acre, mixed-use subdivision is six blocks north of Fort Collins’ Old Town (its famous downtown area). A short bike ride can take you to cultural events, concerts or a plethora of dining and drinking (including 20 craft breweries). The Poudre River Whitewater Park, a place to hang as well as raft and tube, beckons nearby, along with open space and family-friendly parks. The project is getting ready to develop three more townhomes and a coffee/winebar in the highly desirable neighborhood. Ncoloradobrokers.com
LOCATION: RIVER DISTRICT FORT COLLINS
Why we picked it: The 26 loft condos in the mixed-use Confluence development are selling fast, with only a handful left. They feature nice finishes, common spaces and a proximity to Downtown Fort Collins that can’t be beat. Studio, one- and two-bedroom units are still available. Confluencefc.com
NEIGHBORHOOD: 8TH AVENUE CORRIDOR
Why we picked it: A decade ago, the city of Greeley spent millions to enhance 8th Avenue, especially the area around the University of Northern Colorado. The city not only widened the street and spruced up the divide between north and south but added decorative trees designed by artists and other artwork. “The city’s hope was by reinvigorating the area, private interests would come,” Mueller says.
It worked, as now there’s the new, upscale Apartments at Maddie, designed more for professionals than students who can either work downtown or use 8th Avenue for a quick exit to Denver or Fort Collins. The studio, one- and two-bedroom residences are loaded with amenities. MaddieApartments.com
These high-end neighborhoods are exceptionally nice, high-quality and offer amazing amenities, generally in a setting with great views, lake living and more.
NEIGHBORHOOD: THE ENCLAVE AT MARIANA BUTTE
Why we picked it: This brand-new planned development was designed in conjunction with the City of Loveland’s open lands division. The city purchased 17 acres along Boedecker Reservoir for protection of natural wildlife habitat. The developers worked with the Prairie Dog Coalition to protect and relocate the animals: They were housed and cared for in a barn in Berthoud and then moved back to another area in the subdivision once construction was complete. The homes are beautifully constructed by American Legend Homes, and the neighborhood has access to walking trails, Boedecker Reservoir and Mariana Butte Golf Course. Amlegendhomes.com
NEIGHBORHOOD: KECHTER FARM
LOCATION: FORT COLLINS
Why we picked it: The Kechter Farm master planned community offers amazing views and amazing amenities in this resort-style development. Amenities include a clubhouse with fitness area, swimming pool, spa and more, almost 30 acres of open space and trails, and is in the Poudre School District. Homebuyers can personalize homes located in The Enclave, The Preserve and The Estates. Tollbrothers.com
NEIGHBORHOOD: HERON LAKES
Why we picked it: Hundreds of acres along Lonetree, McNeil and Welch reservoirs, plenty of open space and a world class golf course are just a couple of the amenities at Heron Lakes at TPC Colorado. The homes feature modern designs that allow for lots of natural light and match the area’s mountainous yet luxurious feel. Buyers can choose from a list of top-end builders to customize their home. Heronlakescommunity.com