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Teardowns mean larger homes

Kimberly Nicoletti High Country Business Review

As Summit County and Vail Village deal with buildout, some properties simply warrant larger homes.Brian Wray, owner of Mountain Log Homes of Colorado, helped tear down or scrape and haul away a cramped, poorly planned three-bedroom house in Breckenridge for $17,000. The home sat on a ski-in, ski-out parcel, so the owners built a 6,500-square-foot log home.Wray said that scrapers, additions and remodels will become common in the near future. Casey Kellermann of Slifer Smith & Frampton in Breckenridge predicts vacant land will sell out in four to six years in Summit County. Already, property values are rising in an accelerated manner as lots diminish, said Dave Koons, owner of Kodiak Enterprises and president of the Summit County Builders Association.Were right on the heels of Aspen and Vail in terms of that property-valuation situation, Koons said.So its not surprising that in Frisco teardowns range from downtown multi-use developments to single-family residences in Bills Ranch, because Frisco doesnt have any more land to speak of. Granite Street in Frisco began transforming from small hotels to luxury condos a couple of summers ago. Mostly local developers oversee the projects, as opposed to huge companies. For example, the owner of Sky-Vue Motel chose to scrape the modest motel and build duplexes, because real estate prices are so high. Hes an example of a resident who has owned property for a while, built equity and now wants to get more out of the land.Amy Smits and her husband looked for a teardown on Ptarmigan Mountain in Silverthorne for three years before they found one in December. They paid $165,000 for an A-frame on two-and-a-half acres a price nearly unheard of for vacant land in Summit County. Smits figures that if they dont build on it, the land will still appreciate. Since Smits is a real estate agent (at Keller Williams in Silverthorne) and a homeowner on Ptarmigan, she might be biased when she says the price is absolutely worth it, but she makes a good point: Ptarmigan is one of the few communities where houses often sit on lots of an acre or more.Frisco Coldwell Banker real estate agent Ronda Campbell agrees that a $250,000 teardown is worth it, but she questions the financial viability of something like a $450,000 teardown.But in the past year, Smits has seen teardowns begin, and she believes it will become a trend if its not one already. ReMax real estate agent Henry Barr said it all ties back to diminishing land availability, saying there just arent many lots priced at $300,000 or less.Alhough Vail Village is a bit newer than some shacks in Summit County, it too is experiencing the teardown phenomenon.Four to five prominent buildings in or near Vail Village have been torn down or significantly remodeled in the past few years. Even outside of Vail Village and Lionshead, Josh Lautenberg of Sonnenalp Real Estate, said hes starting to see more teardowns. But unlike Summit County, the farther one gets from the ski resorts, the more new construction one sees. Most teardowns occur three to five miles from the village and can sell for $8 million to $16 million for townhomes.


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