Challenge of purchasing a second home
December 16, 2003
One of life’s most daunting challenges is purchasing a home. Even more daunting, perhaps, is the purchasing or building of a vacation home. One Vail Valley-based company with extensive experience in residential resort properties is East West Partners (EWP).
A Colorado fixture for more than 15 years, East West Partners has developed a wide range of residential communities and properties. Those such as Mountain Star and major components of Beaver Creek Village were designed for the high-end market, while such EWP projects as Eagle Ranch were designed for a broader market.
In neighboring Summit County, East West Partners has been responsible for The Reserve at Frisco, a family-oriented community of more than 100 single homes, and the redevelopment of The Village at Breckenridge (now Main Street Square and Main Street Station).
More recently, East West entered the downtown Denver market with the development of the highly acclaimed Riverfront Plaza. It is also involved with projects at Lake Tahoe’s NorthStar resort.
Among current Vail Valley projects are several at Bachelor Gulch, exclusive on-mountain resort community situated midway between Bachelor Gulch Village and Arrowhead Village. Directing the Bachelor Gulch developments is Jim Telling, a partner with EWP who joined the company in 1987. Telling has served as project manager for several of EWP’s Vail Valley residential projects, including the 40 single-family homes of Bentgrass at Cordillera.
Telling’s Bachelor Gulch projects are varied, including the single-family clustered homes of Deer Trail, the condominium residences of Bear Paw Lodge, the townhomes of Buckhorn and Quartermoon, the condominiums of Bachelor Gulch Village’s Snow Cloud, and the proposed Horizon Pass, a mixture of townhomes and condominiums.
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Of the finished projects, virtually each sold out shortly before completion. And the two remaining projects still under constructio – Bear Paw Lodge and Snow Cloud – are rapidly selling out. Bear Paw Lodge, for example, has only four of its 53 residences available.
Through his extensive experience with a variety of successful East West
Partners’ residential projects, Telling and his team have become attuned to buyers tastes and market trends in the Vail Valley. His experience has been enhanced by the feedback he constantly receives from veteran Vail Valley Realtors, architects, designers and, above all, clients.
Many of Telling’s observations can be helpful to those considering building or purchasing a property in this region. Telling said East West Partners has some basic tenets it follows when deciding to embark on a new project, and many of these would be just as applicable to an individual buyer or builder.
LOCATION: Factors considered when East West embarks on a new project begin with the actual piece of ground. “‘Location, location, location’ is the primary factor that still applies to successful development,” said Telling. The homes of Bentgrass, for example, border the first and 18th fairways of the Mountain Course. As well, the clubhouse is in easy walking distance and each home enjoys magnificent golf course and mountain views. At Bachelor Gulch, all East West projects feature direct ski/in ski out locations, along with spectacularly long views of the Gore Range and Vail Valley.
VIEWS: Views are always a crucial element in East West developments. “Views are paramount out here,” said Telling. “We sell views. People come here and want to look at the wonderful mountains.”
LARGER SPACES: Size is another important consideration. And at the moment, larger is better, according to Telling. Deer Trail homes, for instance, range in size from approximately 4,500 to more than 6,000 square feet. The demand for larger homes occasionally has resulted in East West enlarging floor plans after the first phase of a multi-phased development. For example, following the sales of the first six homes in one of Telling’s projects, feedback came in from Realtors and buyers that people wanted larger spaces, so the square footage of the homes of future phases was increased by approximately 20 percent. The focus of the enlargement were the living areas of the main level; in so doing, the bedrooms on the lower level also increased in size. Space can be added in creative ways, noted Telling.
“For instance, the roof over a certain room might be coming down at a certain pitch,” he explained. “Most architects would normally stop it at a seven foot head height. But you could gain a lot more room by taking it down to a five foot head height and place some furniture in that area. That would free up the living space of the room. That’s what we did at Deer Trail.”
THE ANYTHING ROOM: Another item that increasingly is in high demand is what Telling calls the “anything room.” This is a space maybe over a garage or in an unused area of the home that can be converted to most any use: media room, additional bedroom, game room, or office. It’s one more place where residents can have their own space when they want it.
GREAT ROOM: “Another of our key concepts is that of the open great room, one that includes the living room, dining room and kitchen areas, all under a vaulted ceiling if possible,” explained Telling. “People are here on vacation and desire gathering areas for family and friends. In the open great room they can congregate and interact. No one has to be left out, including whoever is cooking in the kitchen.”
MAIN LEVEL MASTER SUITE: Telling has also discovered that people like having the master bedroom on the main level, with guest and secondary bedrooms either below or above.
BIG WINDOWS: And not just in the major living areas. People want windows as big as possible to soak up the views from every room. Telling, who noted that corner windows are especially effective for optimizing views, said that he has to be on constant vigil to ensure that the design of a home’s windows are as large as possible.
FINISHES: In general, Vail Valley vacation property owners seem to prefer the rustic western finishes, such as rough hewn beams, rock bases, timber siding, and hardwood floors. “They want to feel they are in the West and in the mountains,’ Telling said. He recalled that buyers of the first few homes of one of his projects thought the wood beams were too refined for a mountain home. Thus, future homes in the development featured more rough-looking finishes.
Of course, tastes and trends can change, Telling said. But, in general, the above observations have formed the core of a solid foundation for East West Partners’ success in residential resort real properties for over a decade. Concluding, Telling said that sensitivity to consumer and professional feedback will undoutedly result in the addition of more guidelines and the alteration of current guidlines in the future.