By Laurel Thompson
A new development has broken ground in southwest Berthoud, but it’s not a typical cookie-cutter project. It’s actually quite the opposite, with custom homes on quarter-acre lots that served as a local family’s farmland for well over a hundred years.
Swan Peter Johnson and his soon-to-be wife, Sophia, immigrated to the U.S. from Sweden in the 1880s and purchased 160 acres of farmland near a small town that had been recently established as Berthoud, Colo. Growing crops and raising livestock was the Johnson way of life for several generations, and the land was eventually divided evenly between four grandkids—Marjory, Charlene, Bill Jr. and Art.
All kinds of farm animals were raised on the Johnson farm over the years, including chickens for The Wayside Inn, a famous fried chicken joint that was a staple in the Berthoud community until it closed its doors in 2009. After decades of farming, Art and his wife, Lynn, decided to make new use of his 40 acres as they focused on their next level of retirement. He was put in touch with local developer and Berthoud resident, Alex Hoime, by a mutual friend.
Art, Lynn and Alex got to know each other quite well over several years of planning the proposed development, which pays tribute to the Johnson family that has called the land home since the late 1800s. “We’re creating something that Art and his family will be proud of and that the people who come to live there will also love. We want them to feel connected to the agricultural history of the land while they’re building their own future here,” says Christine Torres, the RE/MAX Realtor who represents Hoime and HT Land Partners.
And so, the vision for Harvest subdivision emerged, a name that pays homage to Johnson’s share of the homestead. The street names speak for themselves—Art Drive, William Way, Sophie Street, Swan Peter Drive and Sara Lynn Lane commemorate the farmers that tended to the land, and it all borders a home Art and Lynn built to raise their family in the late 70s, which will remain a prominent part of the neighborhood.
Once Phase 1 is underway with the builders, Phase 2 of the project will transform the 1.5 acres in front of Johnson’s house into a park. “Growing Community,” the development’s tagline, has a special meaning to Alex and Christine. “When planting crops, it’s important to properly prepare the ground and tend to the field in the early stages,” Hoime says. “We’ve taken a similar approach with the project. The design, the builders and the financial structure all play key roles in making this not only a highly desirable place to live but a place that will continue to make the homeowners highly satisfied with their decision to call Harvest home for years to come.”
It was important to Hoime that Harvest would create a strong sense of community, so his team found ways to incorporate local work in every aspect of the development’s design. They hired a local graphic designer, Nicole Jenkins of Aer-o Studio, to create the perfect Harvest logo with a graphic of winter wheat grown on the farm and incorporation of the “Growing Community” tagline.
The custom Harvest font was created from lettering out of a Berthoud newspaper ad from over 80 years ago. A Berthoud metal artisan, Charlotte Zink, was brought on for the creation of the subdivision’s entrance sign and art. Only small, local builders are involved. The civil engineering, planning and survey was performed by TAIT & Associates’ office near Johnstown, which Hoime also manages.
Not only that, but the team opted to forego one hang-up that makes homeowners—particularly families—think twice about buying new: metro district tax. “We really wanted to create a subdivision without a metro district because we didn’t want the people who live here to be burdened by increased property taxes in order to pay back the developer,” Torres explains. She also notes that they would rather have future tax increases go toward funding schools in the community, which Hoime has also actively supported in the past few years. Instead of a metro district tax, there will be a reasonable HOA fee to cover ongoing maintenance and upkeep of the park, trails and open space. The HOA also gives homeowners more control over what happens in their subdivision.
With the Unified Trail running alongside the subdivision and setbacks of 20-plus feet between adjacent houses, the community offers a lifestyle that allows for personal privacy yet ease of connectivity to local amenities. Torres describes the feel of architectural guidelines as modern-rural meets mountain. The price range for lot and built to suit custom home is $700-$900k. There are four local custom builders ready to create a unique design or tweek a current floor plan per their client’s request.
The Harvest community has three phases to release, with a total of 97 homes. The first phase, which is under construction, has 31 lots scheduled to be done for builders in June 2021. Builders are taking reservations on their lots currently so they can begin working with clients in preparation to move forward in a timely manner. Laura and Alex Hoime with Art and Lynn Johnson.
The town of Berthoud has a new recreation center that will be opening fall 2021 that is within a few miles of Harvest. There is a planned pool, basketball court, workout facilities, large outdoor playground, trails, and fields for soccer, tennis and pickleball. In addition, there are outdoor community gathering areas for planned Friday food truck evenings, farmers’ market on Saturdays and many more local events. Harvest is also close to downtown, so folks can relish in Berthoud’s small town charm. Three local parades wind through Mountain Ave. in typical years, and multiple breweries, restaurants and quaint shops are waiting to be explored.
One of the local builders is Bronze Door Custom Homes, which is owned by Mike Primeau and represented by Torres. A smaller builder, Primeau takes on a limited number of projects at a time to ensure attention to his clients and the details of their build. Mindful design concepts are created, from the front door being hand crafted to the placement of windows to capture that site’s specific views. Primeau has long-standing relationships with his team from the architect to the design team, who bring additional expertise and creativity to every build.
“Mike creates homes that are timeless.” Torres says. “He combines exceptional finishes with mindful energy-efficient building practices. Clients can tie in multiple home automation features for ease of use at their fingertips. One of the most appreciated aspects of working with Mike is his ability to listen to his clients and bring to fruition their inspired vision of lifestyle and home.”
Bronze Door currently has 10 lots available for custom builds at the Harvest community, and Torres can help homeowners choose a site in Phase 1, the upcoming Phase 2 or discover other opportunities to design and build their dream Bronze Door residence.
Contact: Christine Torres at 720.320.1405 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here to watch a video introducing you to the town of Berthoud.