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Hood Guide: 8 North Metro Neighborhoods

Hood Guide: 8 North Metro Neighborhoods


Prospect New Town, Longmont

Photo courtesy of Amy Lane

New Urbanism,” much like art movements or political philosophies with hybrid names — Postmodernism or Neoconservativism, Classical Realism or ProtoFascism —is a compound “ism” that would likely lead to blank stares if you dropped it matter-of-factly in casual conversation. But just like those other movements, New Urbanism’s main conceit is easily distilled: Walk more.

The Front Range’s own Prospect New Town is a prime example of a New Urbanist community. Founded in the mid 1990s, New Town is defined by walkable and tree-lined streets, a variety of eco-friendly housing possibilities, and open spaces that encourage an uncommon camaraderie between neighbors.
Having everything in walking distance ( town center is never more than a five minute walk away ), means that you never need to drive anywhere. And as you amble, stroll or mosey down Prospect New Town’s tree-lined lanes, you’ll always have views of the mountains.

Prospect’s houses are getting ever greener, with solar and wind power being common, and features like radiant heat flooring gaining in popularity. Among other environmental policies codified by the neighborhood limit the kinds of plants that can be used in gardens and yards, with indigenous vegetation requiring minimal water.
Linda Keseric of Prospect New Town said that the neighborhood is “most famous for our Prospect Sound Bites”— a weekly summer event in which 10 to 12 food trucks (from pizza, to Mexican, to BBQ to Asian fusion) and local bands gather every Monday.

Size ~ 480 UNITS, 80 ACRES
Price ~ 300K’S – 1 MILLION+

Good Eats Nearby

PROSPECT SOUND BITES: Food trucks galore! Largest food truck event in Northern Colorado featuring live music and other activities. Hosted every Monday until September 4, 2017

THE RIB HOUSE: Authentic Kansas City BBQ. theribhouse.com

TWO DOG DINER: Classy American comfort food with a delicious variety of homemade sweets and treats. twodogdiner.com

URBAN THAI: Simply great Thai food with a cozy and quaint atmosphere. urbanthaicafe.com

BIG DADDY BAGELS: Extensive Selection of cream cheese flavors with tasty breakfast specials. bigdaddybagels.comcastbiz.net

Geos Neighborhood, Arvada

Photo by Chris Bjork

Just how energy-efficient can a neighborhood be? This was the question that Norbert Klebl asked himself when he conceived of the Geos Neighborhood in Arvada. Producing a quarter or half of a housing development’s energy through solar wasn’t enough in his eyes. Geos’ houses were designed such there would be net zero energy usage. But between city planning that optimizes the sun received by each individual house’s solar panels from season to season, and structures that make geothermal heating and cooling highly affordable, Geos is exceeding even that. “It’s now an energy plus community,” Klebl said in an interview. “We produce more power than we use.”

One of the unique things about Geos is the extreme attention to detail with which it was designed — from the overall layout to each individual house. Houses come equipped with charging stations (either solar or photovoltaic) to charge electric cars; a complex network of parks and public spaces are connected by paths and trails, all of which eventually connect to the Ralston Creek Regional Greenway; and while not quite at Charlie and the Chocolate Factory levels, Geos sports an “edible landscape,” with fruit trees lining many of the neighborhood’s green spaces.

Most of this is still in the development stage—only eight of a planned 300 units have been built so far. The rest of the units—combination of townhouses and single family houses—should be completed in multiple stages over the next four to five years. The next 14 homes will be ready by the first quarter of next year.

Geos is raising the bar for energy efficient neighborhoods. “We’re not only a sustainable living community, but a power generator,” Klebl said. “I would like to see more of that in the future— neighborhoods that actually power their surroundings.”


Good Eats Nearby

MALONE’S CLUBHOUSE GRILL: American fare perfect for a family outing. malonesclubhousegrill.com

HOMEGROWN TAP & DOUGH: Homemade wood-fired pizza and other baked Italian entrees. tapanddough.com

YAK AND YETI RESTAURANT AND BREWPUB: All you can eat buffet with Nepalese offerings situated in an old-fashioned aesthetic serving refreshing microbrews. theyakandyeti.com

Holiday, Boulder

Photo courtesy of Nola Chow

Until 1989, the parcel of land at the heart of Boulder’s Holiday Neighborhood was home to the Holiday Twin Screen Drive-In Theater. Whereas all of the neighborhoods profiled in this piece have affordable housing in some shape or form, Holiday is almost exclusively comprised of low and middle income families and individuals. And it is a prime example of how you don’t have to break the bank to find sustainable design and an ecofriendly minded neighborhood.

While not as walkable as, say, Prospect New Town, getting around in Holiday is still remarkably easy. Bus routes are never more than five minutes away, and the Holiday Neighborhood Eco Pass lets locals travel on all the bus and rail lines in the Boulder and Denver metro areas for free, all year long.

Many homes in Holiday are as green as they come, with features like solar-powered water heating and insulation that optimizes heat retention in houses. To achieve this standard, yet still keep homes affordable, partnerships were developed with Habitat for Humanity and Affordable Housing Alliance to defray costs.

And just as lower cost doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice energy efficient housing, neither does it mean you have to sacrifice style. The colorful, contemporary houses, and the quaint brick buildings of the business district are straight out of a movie.

Size ~ 333 UNITS, 27 ACRES

Good Eats Nearby

THE NORTH END AT 4580: Contemporary American bistro. northendboulder.com

PROTO’S PIZZA NORTH BOULDER: Fresh Brick oven thin crusted pizza. protospizza.com

BACCO TRATTORIA & MOZZARELLA BAR: Bar Specialty cheeses and Italian fare. baccoboulder.com

Nomad Cohousing Community, North Boulder

Photo courtesy of Josh Berman

Most of the neighborhoods covered here encompass tens or hundreds of acres and can have communities of thousands of people. Nomad Cohousing represents the other end of the spectrum. With just 11 homes located on a single acre, Nomad is an intentional, environmentally conscious neighborhood.

All of the houses sit around a central outdoor common space—the linchpin of the cohousing philosophy. While families have their own private spaces, once they leave the house, things are much more like an Israeli Kibbutz than your average American community. There is a Nomad Common House which has a communal kitchen, and a Nomad Playhouse where community events and meals are had. (Not every meal is shared—usually two per week.)

Neshama Abraham, a founding member of Nomad Cohousing, explained that the closeness of the community naturally gives rise to more sustainable living. “We share resources. For example, only one stove is on when we’re cooking a community meal versus 11. So there’s a lower carbon footprint.” That also leads to a cheaper lifestyle. “When you buy in bulk to cook for a big group, it only costs $35 per person,” Abraham explained.

The homes all have solar panels, recycled materials are used whenever possible, and the residents do all the upkeep themselves on community work days, whether it be digging an irrigation ditch or staining the houses’ decks.

Unsurprisingly, perhaps the most special thing about Nomad Cohousing is the close relationships everyone forms. Abraham has two daughters, and she said they have far more brothers and sisters than they would have if they had grown up elsewhere. The neighbors are family. Abraham said Nomad is truly the embodiment of the old adage, “It takes a village to raise a child.”

Size ~ 11 UNITS, 1 ACRE

Good Eats Nearby

JULIA’S KITCHEN: Organic, gluten free and vegan meals. juliaskitchen.co

WAPOS: Tasty quick eats and delectable Mexican cuisine. waposboulder.com

CHINA GOURMET: Expertly crafted Chinese meals with a huge menu. chinagourmetmenu.com

SILO, Lafayette

Image courtesy of SILO

SILO is arguably the greenest neighborhood on this list. The carbon footprint from its residents is a resounding zero.

Of course, that’s mainly because it doesn’t exist yet and so no one lives there. Yet another neighborhood based on the precepts of New Urbanism, SILO is almost a reality, with construction set to commence in early 2018. When building is complete, there will be some 480 units situated on 80 acres of land, 37 parks and public spaces, and cutting edge sustainability initiatives of all types.

SILO is intended to appeal to an older demographic, largely comprised of emptynesters and retirees. “Walkability and wayfinding is important for both kids and the elderly, so we try to keep that in mind,” explained David Kahn, one of SILO’s designers from SUN (Sustainable Urban Neighborhoods) Studio.

While SILO subdivision will feature net zero energy homes on par with those in Geos, a community supported farm, and percolation parks to help with water use efficiency, greater Lafayette is no slouch when it comes to sustainability and greenness. The City of Lafayette has sponsored programs in which residents can trade in their gas-powered lawn mowers for substantial discounts on electric mowers, installed multiple electric car charging stations around town, and implemented other programs aimed at reducing waste and conserving water.

As such, SILO will continue to push Lafayette further in its green ambitions.

Size ~ 480 UNITS, 80 ACRES
Price ~ 300K’S – 1 MILLION+

Good Eats Nearby

MORNING GLORY FARM FRESH CAFE: Fresh local ingredients, from breakfast to lunch to dinner; There will be a farm-to-table restaurant that features food from the community CSA farm. morningglorycafe.org

THE POST BREWING COMPANY: Exquisite fried chicken, inviting atmosphere, tons of cold craft beer and plenty of good times to be had. postbrewing.com

LUNADA EATERY & CANTINA: Southwestern flavor with made-to-order guacamole and happy hour specials. lunadaeatery.com

COMMUNITY: Family eatery with an authentic American grill concept.

S’Park, Boulder

Image courtesy of Geneva Bailey

Good LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certifications are something that forward-thinking developers and institutions covet for their projects. LEEDND (Neighborhood Development) is a newer certification that grades entire neighborhood designs on greenness, and, to date, no communities in Colorado have received LEEDND’s highest distinction of “platinum.”

The S’Park Neighborhood in Boulder Junction aims to change that. Not only will S’Park be Colorado’s first LEEDND platinum certified neighborhood, it will be only the third in the entire U.S. Though still in the the building phase, when finished S’Park will integrate over 200 residential multifamily units, nearly 100,000 square feet of office space, over 40,000 square feet of ground level retail space, a 271 space covered parking garage, in just 7 acres of perfectly situated real estate in downtown Boulder.

Residents will all receive Eco Passes for the Boulder transit system, but it will also be a biker’s haven. Multiple bikesharing stations will be incorporated into the neighborhood, and Community Cycle, a nonprofit working to make bicycles available to the community, will have a new bigger headquarters in S’Park.

S’Park will be a “guinea pig” for a model Ecodistrict, pioneering the way for “neighborhoodscale sustainability standards,” according to developer Sopher Sparn Architects’ website. And the S’Park website itself sums up the ethos of the envisioned community quite simply: “It’s all built on the notion that retail, office, and residential spaces work best when they can coexist and collaborate.”

The community is still being built, but people are already lining up to reserve residential, retail and office space—what are you waiting for?!

Size ~ 200+ UNITS, 7 ACRES

Josephine Commons, Lafayette

Photo courtesy of Geneva Bailey

For much of the twentieth century, the land on which the Josephine Commons neighborhood now sits was the antithesis of green. It was home to a coal mine run by the Rocky Mountain Fuel Company. The owner was Josephine Aspinwall Roche, the current community’s namesake. While sustainability was not a cause on her radar in that era, that a community bearing her name should be at the forefront of green living is fitting nonetheless: Roche spent much of her life fighting for worker’s rights, be it the right for miners to unionize and earn living wages, or speaking out against child labor.

Josephine Commons is now an exemplar of sustainable building practices. Its 153 units rely on solar panels and geothermal heating and cooling systems. Beyond renewable energy, the builders also took into account air quality when designing the development’s layout and individual structures.

And just as Josephine Aspinwall Roche didn’t discriminate between worthy causes, neither does Josephine Commons’ greenness preclude it from tackling other pressing social justice issues. The development was explicitly designed to address a dearth of housing both affordable and appropriate for seniors. To live in one of the 70 units that were part of the first phase of building completed in 2012, residents were required to be over 55 years old and earn below a certain threshold amount.

The neighborhood also sought to meld the dual mandates of affordable senior housing and sustainability. The neighborhood’s common garden is handicapped accessible, and a soft trail running through the development is easy on the joints and a pleasure to stroll along. No doubt Josephine Aspinwall Roche would be proud of the neighborhood that now bears her name.

Size ~ 153 UNITS, 14 ACRES

Good Eats Nearby

ODD13 BREWING: Grab some grub from a food truck and wash it down with a great beer from this killer microbrewery. morningglorycafe.org

SANTIAGOS: Highly regarded house made green chile and breakfast burritos from a popular regional chain. eatatsantiagos.com

BLACK DIAMOND RESTAURANT AND TAP HOUSE: Spectacular family-owned restaurant with affordable pricing and amazing craft burgers. blackdiamondretaurant.com

Kestrel, Louisville

Photo courtesy of Geneva Bailey

Despite its modest size—a humble 200 affordable homes on a 13 acre plot—the one-year-old Kestrel housing development is already having a global reach.

In early 2016, as the geothermal infrastructure of the nascent Kestrel was being built, an international delegation with representatives from both Europe and Asia visited for a tour. “They came to see the installation of the geothermal system at Kestrel,” explained Jim Williams, Strategic Communications Director of Boulder County Housing and Human Services (BCHHS). “It’s not that typical for affordable housing in the U.S. or over there to use geothermal, and they wanted to do something similar in their home countries.”

“They were pretty impressed,” Williams said.

Kestrel’s use of a geothermal system to regulate year-round temperatures in its buildings goes a long way toward BCHHS’ goal of making the neighborhood a net zero energy development. But beyond its sustainability selling points, geothermal is also critical to BCHHS’ ability to offer Kestrel’s units at such an affordable price. Williams said, “We pay for all the residents’ utilities in these places. The low energy costs help ensure that we can have affordable housing for more people.”

The development contains both family and senior housing, integrated into a single neighborhood. The community garden, much like Josephine Commons’, serves as a gathering place for young and old alike.

And if residents want to get out into greater Louisville, all they have to do is go for a short stroll. The public spaces were designed to easily connect to bike paths and trails already in the Louisville area. Walking to the grocery store and other essential services is no problem. According to Williams, that was a major consideration: “It’s part of the way we look at the work we do—how can we situate our affordable homes in a way that helps facilitate people’s access to what they need.”


Good Eats Nearby

TAJ MAJAL 3 RESTAURANT AND BAR: An authentic, classically inspired nearby Indian restaurant offering old world bistro dishes and a weekly lunch buffet. tajmahal3.com

MR. SAKE SUSHI & GRILL: Asian influenced entrees with European & American fare with gluten free options. mr.sakesushigrill.com

CHEF KING: Dine in or carry out with terrific customer service and scrumptious chinese cuisine. chefkinglouisville.com

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