Nearly a decade after Durango City Council enthusiastically approved preliminary plans for what has been called a model project, property in Twin Buttes will finally go on sale on Aug. 1.
As properties sell, a wave of needed home construction will sweep through next spring at the project site, two miles west of town on U.S. Highway 160.
Phase one will include about 50 lots, aptly named Tipple after the structure used to load minerals for transport at mines, for single-family and multifamily developments.
Price points for multifamily lots for structures such as townhomes are to be determined, but single-family properties will range from $140,000 to $220,000.
Bob Delves, chief operating officer of the project, said interest in the lots is high.
“I think there’s just not much land left available, and here you can buy land and build what you want to build, and we’re so close to town,” Delves said. “You have city amenities at the front door and wilderness in the back door.”
Twin Buttes has idled for years as an enticing promise of mixed-use development and open space.
In 2008, then-city Councilor Michael Rendon said in a meeting that he had stayed up all night eagerly perusing plans for the project, which boasted housing diversity, multimodal trail systems, designated agricultural uses and guidelines encouraging sustainable building.
As construction plunged in the throes of the Great Recession, Twin Buttes likewise came to a standstill. On the other side of the financial disaster, the city gave final approval for the first phase of development in March 2011.
By 2013, 25 lots were reserved for $5,000 each in anticipation that the lots would come online next year, but no progress was made (the retainers were ultimately refunded and the program dissolved).
Project leaders said a restructuring of ownership and management got the development back on course. Glenn Pauls still owns the land, though Eric Flora is no longer a partner in the project. Delves came on board a year ago.
Delves would not disclose specific reasons for the prolonged delay, only that the project is at last making headway and has secured a loan from Alpine Bank.
“We don’t really need to dwell on the past, but I think the answer really is, it’s a complex, expansive project,” he said. “It got to the point where a pause was necessary to re-plan and restructure and get ourselves to the point where we have high confidence to move forward.”
Delves declined to disclose the cost of the project.
When complete, it will include 655 single-family and multifamily units, 140 accessory dwelling units and about 140,000 square feet of civic and commercial space, mixed in with 775 acres of permanently undeveloped space with 10 miles of new trails.
Two sites are also dedicated for Durango 9-R School District and public charter Animas High School schools.
Kevin Hall has worked in the city’s community development department since the project’s inception and said the goals haven’t changed.
“They made some affordable and attainable housing commitments, and sustainable building commitments, and I think those still hold true today,” Hall said.
As of last week, utilities were installed and roads and sidewalks were graded, with asphalt scheduled to be laid within a couple weeks.