Originally Posted by durangoyaker
People are buying those small lots and then building monster houses on them. Jed said he built only one spec house and it was like 1100 s.f. The people buying the lots are now putting 4,000 to 5,500 sf homes. So the developer's is selling lots, not putting those monster homes on them. Frankly, those size homes would cost much more in most Co towns. Some of these developments actually restrict the sf on small lots in order to have a mix of incomes/ home products thereby making the neighborhood more inclusive of different income brackets.
Here's some data on home sizes in South Main. First, it's important to point out that in a mixed-use neighborhood like South Main, many of the largest structures incorporate commercial and/or residential spaces which the owner rents out. One of the buildings on South Main St, for example, is about 5,000 square feet total, but the whole first floor will be leased as commercial space, leaving the owners with around 3,100 square feet of living space. I'm not claiming that there aren't some large homes in South Main, and durangokayaker is right to point out that this is the owners' prerogative... it's also the owners' prerogative to build a 700 square foot (or smaller if they want) cottage like the blue one on River Park Road. We don't restrict square footage on either the high or low end.
Another interesting example on South Main St: some 30 something kayaker friends are just finishing their mixed use building which is around 2,200 square feet. They are renting the front of the 1st floor as commercial and the entire second floor as a vacation rental. For now they will be living in a studio apartment at the back of the 1st floor totalling ~385 square feet. Allowing a mix of uses and flexible rental arrangements means that folks like this can make it work in South Main with a little creative design and willingness to live small for a while.
Here are some stats:
Average square footage of South Main buildings (including commercial, vacation and long-term rentals): 2,523
Average square footage of South Main owners' living space (minus all rented space): 2,039
National Average in 2004 (according to the National Assoc. of Home Builders): 2,330
Average Size of a New Home built in the West in 2005 (also according to NAHB): 2,442
Durangokayaker is also right that the only spec home in South Main (910 South Main St) is 1152 square feet, 2 beds and 2.5 baths. $279,000.
Also, during our approvals, we worked hard to have every lot allowed an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) that can be rented. An ADU could be a basement, a guest house, an apartment above the garage- basically any rented space with its own kitchen. Many towns and cities allow only one unit per lot. ADUs not only help owners pay the bills, they also create a supply of affordable rentals.
Finally, a point on demographics in South Main. Yes, we have a number of retiree/boomer owners... generally active and great folks. And they make up 40% of our owners. The other 60% are in their 20s or 30s.