8th Annual Best Places to Live

In the Spotlight: Wheat Ridge
New development with an eye on quiet luxury could mean boon for agriculture-rich town

Illustration: Amanda Lenz

Illustration: Amanda Lenz

With no new housing developments in Wheat Ridge for several years, last year’s ground breaking at Perrin’s Row was exciting for Britta Fisher, a long-time resident of Wheat Ridge and the executive director of Wheat Ridge 2020.

“We are attracting families who enjoy the urban agriculture vibe and need a little more space than the city,” she says. “You can get more house, lovely land, great views and incredible amenities in Wheat Ridge.”

Tucked conveniently between I-70 and Sixth Avenue, the western suburb of Wheat Ridge, incorporated in 1969, has surprising pockets of luxury on its ridgelines. New developments such as Quail Hollow (starting at more than $1 million) and Fireside at Applewood (starting at $550,000) are home to some choice parcels of land that provide stunning mountain views, the quiet of a small town and the convenience of 15-minute access to downtown Denver.

If you prefer a home with mature landscaping, there are some great finds in Wheat Ridge’s existing housing stock, including million dollar views and homes in established areas such as Prospect Ridge, Prospect Valley and Applewood Knolls. Need helicopter parking? The immense Mountain Shadows Drive may provide a safe landing pad in a pinch.

Feeling the lure of the land? Partners including the Jefferson Conservation District and Wheat Ridge 2020 provide assistance, workshops and community for backyard farmers, which comes as no surprise considering this city has strong agricultural roots (not to mention the high school mascot is the Farmers). Wheatridge2020.com


Up and Coming
New Home Builds on the Horizon
Yep, the Denver metro real estate market is tight, tight, tight. But with the planning of more than 31,000 homes soon to become available through a slew of new developments throughout the area, there’s hope for those looking to make a move in the market. Here’s a look at some of the properties underway.

Aurora: Whispering Pines
Aurora is getting a little more luxurious. TRI Pointe Homes Colorado, one of the top 10 home building companies by equity market capitalization in the United States, announced the acquisition of 115 lots in Aurora earlier this year. The new development will feature two-story and ranch-style homes, with prices expected to start in the $500,000s. tripointehomes.com

Aurora: The Overlook at Wheatlands
Elacora Homes is set to launch this neighborhood in Aurora this season, that will include 60 single-family homes, a walkable community, an elementary school blocks away and a neighborhood community center with a Junior Olympic-size lap pool, children’s splash pool, playground, kitchen facilities, meeting space and barbeque/grill area. Prices begin in the $300,000s. elacora.com

Thornton: The Peaks at Riverdale
Elacora also will be launching 36 estate-sized, one acre home sites in Thornton. The community, offering single-story and two-story homes, will feature nearby amenities such as the Riverdale Dunes golf course, Adams County Regional Park and Fairgrounds, a new neighborhood elementary school and Adams 12 Veterans Memorial Aquatics Center. Homes will be three to four bedrooms with three car garages and 2,200 to 3,479 square feet and will begin in the mid $400,000s. elacora.com

Douglas County: Sterling Ranch Colorado
Sterling Ranch will be able to house 12,000 residences in nine different villages centered around an “amenity-rich” town center and civic space—all walkable, of course. With 30 miles of trails and open space, the community easily connects to Chatfield State Park, Roxborough State Park and Waterton Canyon. sterlingranchcolorado.com

Boulder County: Boulder Creek Neighborhoods communities
With inventory so low in Boulder County, and a Google campus proposed for the southwest corner of Pearl and 30th streets, home builder Boulder Creek Neighborhoods is filling the void with three new communities: YourHouse at DELO in Louisville, Lanterns at Steel Ranch at Boulder Creek and Tramonto, just outside the city. The properties, all created for active adults older than 45, offer unique retreats for work and play, with community with entertainment spaces creating an intimate feel. Prices start in the $400,000s and move up based on layout and location. This is one of the most affordable options in the county, so stay tuned. livebouldercreek.com

Unincorporated Arapahoe County: Prosper
Recently granted preliminary approval, this planned mixed-use community from Denver’s Prosper Farms would sit on the eastern border of Aurora, south of I-70 and include 5,144 acres, some 9,000 homes and loads of commercial space.
Colorado: It’s All for the Best

Colorado and its cities have been topping “best of” lists for years. Recently, BetterDoctor.com ranked Aurora No. 1, Denver No. 6 and Colorado Springs No. 16 on its Most Active Cities Index, in fact. And, with all the access to outdoor sports, trails, parks and more, we can’t say we’re surprised. Here’s a look at just some of the area’s recent accolades:

• Healthiest state: Colorado (8th), 2014 United Health Foundation annual report
• Best city for an active lifestyle: Colorado Springs (9th) and Denver (17th), 2014WalletHub survey
• Least obese U.S. communities: Boulder (1st), Ft. Collins-Loveland (3rd), Denver-Aurora (7th), Gallup and Healthways 2014 survey
• Best cities for young families: Castle Rock (4th), Apartment List 2014 survey
• 10 best counties in America: Douglas County (2nd), Movato 2014 survey
• Best American cities for sports travel: Denver (7th), Hotels.com and SeatGeek 2015 ranking
• Best airport in America: Denver International (2nd), Skytrax 2015 awards
• Best cities for single women: Denver (9th), Nerdwallet 2015 survey
• Best beer cities: Denver (2nd), Livability 2014 study
• Top 10 cities for empty nesters: Colorado Springs (2nd), Rent.com 2015 study
• Richest cities in America: Denver (9th), USA Today 2015 study
• Top-selling master plan communities of 2014: Stapleton (6th), RCLCO annual survey
• America’s fastest growing cities: Denver (6th) Forbes 2015 study
• Best places to live and work in America: Boulder (1st), 2015 Powerlytics Financial Health Index
• Best ZIP code for marriage: Littleton’s 80215 (5th), Movato 2015 study (using U.S. Census American Community Survey data from 2009-2013

$286,500: current median home value in metro Denver
$178,500: national median home value in United States; 5.4 percent increase over last year.
4,079: number of homes for sale at the end of February in metro Denver (less than a quarter of the average)
45: Average number of days metro Denver homes currently on market
$1,168: Average monthly rent in Denver at end of 2014
$1,350: Average monthly rent nationally


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