El Jebel luxury townhouses buck market | AspenTimes.com

El Jebel luxury townhouses buck market

Scott Condon
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

EL JEBEL ” Luxury townhouses will continue to sprout like spring flowers this year in El Jebel.

Plummeting sales activity in the Roaring Fork Valley’s real estate market hasn’t cooled down a project called Shadowrock yet, according to the listing brokers. The developers are holding steady on prices, closing contracts and constructing more units, said Tom Banner a broker with Aspen Sotheby’s International Realty and a listing agent for Shadowrock along with Jennifer Neary.

Shadowrock is a 100-unit project between the El Jebel Plaza building, where Bella Mia restaurant is located, and the Wind River Tree Nursery. Many observers were surprised last year when multi-colored townhouses popped up at the site, across Highway 82 from the El Jebel City Market. The construction left many people scratching their heads, wondering where the project came from.

Shadowrock emerged from a different project called Blue Ridge, which former landowners Kevin and Tammy Tucker tried unsuccessfully to develop in the mid-1990s. Eagle County commissioners in 1994 approved Blue Ridge’s 45 multi-family units, five single-family homes, 80-unit hotel and nearly 22,000 square feet of commercial space.

The approval was changed to 100 townhouses later in the 1990s, Banner said. Madison Partners LLC, a Dallas real estate development firm, acquired the site in 2005 and broke ground the following year.

So far, 30 townhouses have emerged from the ground ” less than a third of what ultimately will be built on the El Jebel hillside. Foundations have been poured for another 22 units.

Neary said 26 of the 30 townhouses in the first phase of the project are under contract. Five units were sold earlier in the winter and another five were scheduled to close by the end of last week.

The first units sold for more than $600,000. The success of the project and escalating real estate prices, at least until recently, drove the prices higher.

Now the prices range from $875,400 to $1.437 million, Neary said. That ranges from $394 to $524 per square foot. Prices vary because of the size, location and timing of delivery.

Prices are likely to continue increasing. The later phases will be higher on the hillside, offering views of Mt. Sopris as well as up and down the valley.

Banner likened Shadowrock to the Mercedes Benz of midvalley developments. Buyers are getting Aspen quality without Aspen prices. “If you want something like this in Aspen, it’s $5 million,” he said.

The sizes range from 1,664 square feet to nearly 2,600 square feet spread on three floors. There are four floor plans available, three that come with interior furnishings. That suggests marketing to second-home owners.

Banner said Shadowrock is bucking the general market trends right now because it delivers “phenomenal value” for the midvalley. The developers also have the advantage of being able to wait out market trends, if sales start to slip.

“If we think demand isn’t there, we’ll stop building,” Banner said.

The project demonstrates how far El Jebel has come from the days when it was a collection of trailer parks and entry-level subdivisions.

The units are proving popular because they are close to the dining and other amenities at El Jebel and Willits Town Center, Neary said. They anticipate the popularity will get another boost when Whole Foods Market opens in Willits in late 2009 or early 2010 and likely attracts a bevy of national and local retailers.

“From my perspective, it’s a fabulous place already and it’s only going to get better,” Neary said.