Thu May 9, 2013
Business Report

New Development Set To Bring Big Changes To Erie

A long-dormant housing development in Erie is finally breaking ground after 15 years. The large-scale development could mean big changes for the small town that straddles Boulder and Weld counties.

Around 21,000 people currently reside in Erie. The DayBreak project could potentially grow the small town's population by a third or more, says Boulder County Business Report publisher Chris Wood.

"We're talking about almost 3,000 homes on 965 acres. That could increase the town's population by another 10,000 people," Wood says - although the developer projects the increase to be closer to 7,000 residents.

Wood says the project is significant not only because of its size, but also because it is one of only two large housing developments to break ground in the Denver metro area since the housing crash in 2009.

Interview highlights:

Who is behind the project, and how and when will it be phased in?

"DayBreak is being developed by a Boulder company called Community Development Group, headed by Chuck Bellock. That company also developed the Erie Commons area, which includes housing, retail and commercial space.

Groundbreaking for the first phase will happen in the next month. That will include 724 homes to be built over the next two years. Full buildout of 2,880 homes would occur over the next 12 years. And we’re likely to see a variety of different home builders involved in the project."

How large is Erie expected to grow?

"First, I can remember driving through Erie in the late1980s, when it had probably 1,200 residents and dirt roads. A lot has changed since then, with new commercial and residential projects altering the face of the town. As for how big Erie will become, we spoke with Fred Diehl, an assistant to the town administrator. He indicated that the town has planned for a total population of more than 40,000 residents. That would be about double the current size, and double the size of Windsor."

How is the town preparing for the inevitable growth-related challenges in terms of water and infrastructure?

"In a word, planning. Erie has firmed up a variety of water sources. It’s part of the Colorado-Big Thompson project, which delivers water from Carter Lake to a treatment facility in Erie. And it will be part of the Windy Gap Firming Project, diverting water to Lake Granby, and the Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP).

But we are talking about a lot of new pipelines, roads and other infrastructure, which will be partly paid for by $110 million in building permits from DayBreak alone."

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