Despite challenges, Evergreen Development will deliver Golden Ridge apartment complex on time.
DEVELOPING multifamily residential projects for the Denver region comes with challenges unique to most other parts of the United States. These projects must cater to the environmentally responsible, outdoors enthusiasts and the fitness fanatics while maintaining a reasonable price point to attract renters in droves.
Evergreen Development is delivering a project that meets all those demands and then some in Golden, Colorado. The company is putting the finishing touches on Golden Ridge, a 172-unit, Class A garden apartment community.
Golden Ridge is a four-story, stick-built apartment complex featuring tuck-under and surface parking. The project also is being built on a transportation-oriented development (TOD) site, which means Golden adjacent to a light rail station.
Evergreen Development broke ground on this project in March 2014 and will deliver the first units in April 2015. Final delivery of Golden Ridge is scheduled for August 2015.
Evergreen is serving as the developer and contractor for Golden Ridge, and the company hired KTGY as the architect. The civil engineer is Harris Kocher Smith, and the landscape designer is Norris Design.
Along with its proximity to a light rail stop, Golden Ridge has a variety of amenities that make it unique to other multifamily residential developments in the area. The project features a community garden, a dog park and dog washing station, a cycling and ski maintenance facility, and a Sky Deck along with traditional clubhouse amenities.
Since the site had been designated for TOD, Evergreen Development encountered a number of restrictions for Golden Ridge. According to Jeff Wikstrom, vice president – multifamily for Evergreen Development, the site also has growth restrictions.
“It’s a really special location given that it’s a combination of being in a growth-restricted community and a TOD site in the western suburbs of Denver, 90 miles from six of the largest ski resorts in North America,” Wikstrom says. “It’s also being built in the foothills, which offer spectacular views of the Platte Valley.”
The geology in the foothills posed challenges for the construction team, however. The soils in this area had some unique characteristics, so Evergreen Development treated the job site before building a foundation.
“What that required was that we perform extra levels of diligence to identify what those soil conditions were and to address those conditions in the design of the building,” Wikstrom says.
Fortunately, Evergreen Development and the construction team were aware of the soil conditions before breaking ground, so they were able to plan for the issues they would pose.
“We knew what we had and dealt with it and the associated cost implications ,” Wikstrom says. “Golden Ridge is such a special site, it was worth the extra cost, and believe we’ll get extra rent for it.”
Aside from shifty ground conditions, Evergreen Development also had to deal with a third-party contractor that filed for bankruptcy four months into the development of Golden Ridge. Instead of launching into a series of legal battles, Wikstrom says Evergreen Development decided to take over as contractor to keep progress moving on the job.
“We’re proud of that because we did not lose one day of construction and there were no liens filed,” Wikstrom reports. “We were very proactive.”
Wikstrom compares the situation to a football team losing its starting quarterback; the rest of the team (the subcontractors) was ready to proceed.
“We needed to provide the leadership to keep the ball moving,” Wikstrom says. “We were on site that day protecting the subcontractors, assets and intellectual information. We addressed issues immediately and didn’t let the job suffer.
“A lot of people in a similar situation would say, ‘Call the lawyer,’” Wikstrom adds. “We said, ‘Oh my God, let’s fix this.’”
This situation reinforced the importance of a local presence for a nationwide firm. Although Evergreen Development is based in Phoenix, the company has a team stationed in Colorado to handle its projects in the state.
“The fact that we were here and have a strong development construction team meant we were able to address the issues right away,” Wikstrom says. “It’s really important to have boots on the ground because it is hard to manage from afar. No matter where we are developing, we have the appropriate local staff.”