Developer Eric Flora last week put 26 vacant home lots in Edgemont Highlands on the market, kicking off a new round of buying and building in the subdivision about six miles northeast of downtown Durango.
The lots are relatively large – 0.34 acres to more than 2 acres – and are surrounded by pines. Red-tailed hawks and other wildlife are a common sight.
Along with Three Springs, Edgemont Highlands is where many of La Plata County’s new homes are being built this summer.
“There’s very little vacant land right now,” said Flora.
In Edgemont Highlands, construction companies can buy a vacant lot, build on it and resell it to the eventual homeowner. Flora hosted an open house Thursday as demand for buildable lots appears to be strong.
With local demand high, in-town homes have been fetching high prices as buyers show their willingness to pay for proximity to downtown and other amenities. But Flora argues that Edgemont Highlands offers better value.
“It’s price-driven, that you get a lot more quality, more space, a better environment, for a lot less money than in town,” he said. “You just get a lot more bang for your buck, simply put.”
The previous phase has 24 lots. Of those, 15 are sold, and a few more are under contract, Flora said.
Flora took over Edgemont Highlands last year from Tom Gorton, who expressed a desire to retire from the business. Flora was the public face of a local investment group that included seven other veterans of the Durango-area housing industry.
Among them was Jeff Perino, a longtime business partner who followed Flora from Twin Buttes.
Flora declined to provide the names of the other investors.
Flora said he left Twin Buttes after growing frustrated with the pace of the development on that project. Twin Buttes earned final City Council approval in 2011, but no homes have been built there.
“I wanted a project that I could control and do my best work, and I was having a hard time pulling that off at Twin Buttes,” Flora said.
A message left at Twin Buttes was not returned Thursday.
When Gorton told him he was looking for someone to take over Edgemont Highlands, Flora jumped at the chance. Perino followed a few months later.
Flora grew up in Southern California and became a carpenter’s apprentice at age 17. He moved to Telluride in the early 1990s and began building homes there. He moved to Durango 10 years ago to join Twin Buttes.
The property in Edgemont Highlands is represented by Tiare Flora, Eric’s wife; and Alix Rowland, both of The Wells Group.
A number of builders are busy in Edgemont Highlands, including Edgewood Construction, Classique Builders, Tailor Made Custom Homes, Silver Mountain Construction, The Bauen Group and Kevin D. Reed Architecture and Urban Design.
Seven homes are under construction in Edgemont Highlands. Pete Eastwood of Silver Mountain Construction is at work on a four-bedroom home that will be 3,936 square feet total, including a three-car garage. He’s using recycled beetle-kill wood for some of the trim and fascia.
Flora said construction within the city of Durango is moving in the direction of Telluride, where tear-downs and extensive remodels have largely replaced new developments. In Edgemont Highlands, buyers can get more flexibility.
“In town, it’s a finished commodity,” he said.