4th builder starts at Gold Hill Mesa; Filing 2 getting set for future homes

       J.M. Weston Homes, a new Colorado Springs company, recently broke ground as the fourth builder (third current) in Filing 1 of the 210-acre Gold Hill Mesa residential/commercial development.

Work on two Challenger Homes products can be seen in the background, along Gold Hill Mesa Drive just east of Eclipse Drive (the street running from the lower right of the photo). The alley west of Eclipse (not yet developed) marks the dividing line between Gold Hill Mesa's Filing 1 and Filing 2, which does not yet have homes on it.
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       And, in about a week, Gold Hill Mesa-contracted crews will begin laying in the gas, electrical and telecommunication lines for the recently platted Filing 2 just west of Filing 1, according to property manager Barry Brinton. Paving of the streets, which already have curb and gutter, is to begin in May. However, no lots in Filing 2 have been sold yet to builders, he clarified.
       Weston was started by John Bissett, who had worked with Gold Hill Mesa previously as senior vice president for the Colorado region of John Laing homes. Laing was the first Gold Hill builder, but the national company went under because of financial problems in 2008.
       Weston has started on two structures - a three-plex and a four-plex - across the street from the development's community center at Millstream Terrace and Gold Hill Mesa Drive. In the future, Bissett is hopeful of purchasing other lots in Filing 1, once they become available.

Gold Hill staffer Angie Preciado (green-haired for St. Patrick's Day) talks to visitors in the new Information Center, which is located next to the community center in the development's Exchange Building.
Westside Pioneer photo

       “I really like the design and concept at Gold Hill Mesa,” he said. “It's a real departure from other developments in Colorado Springs. I thought it would be an excellent place for a good community.”
       The Westside location doesn't hurt, either. “It's close to a lot of good amenities, like Bear Creek Nature Center, the Garden of the Gods, Manitou and downtown,” he said.
       Bissett is already pleased with how things are going. Even before the new structures had progressed beyond their foundation work, calls from prospective buyers started coming in. “We've had a lot better interest than we anticipated so far,” Bissett said.
       The J.M. Weston units will be from 1,300 to 1,650 square feet and priced between about $160,000 and $200,000, he said.
       The other homebuilders at Gold Hill are Creekstone and Challenger.
       Filing 1 was approved by the city for 108 lots (a potential total of 168 units) on 27.4 acres. Filing 2 has 29 lots (potential total of 37 units) on 6.4 acres. The latter filing represents a little more than a third of the 16-acre size of the original Filing 2. Because of the current global financial situation, with tighter lending practices, the original filing has been broken out into three (Filings 2, 2A and 2B), to reduce the overall risk, lead Gold Hill developer Bob Willard explained.
       2A is just west of 2, and 2B is west of 2A. When 2A gets approved, according to city approval conditions shown on the plat map, Gold Hill will need to make intersection improvements at Moreno Avenue and Eighth Street. When 2B, which is closest to 21st Street, is approved, Gold Hill will be required to widen 21st Street so that it's four lanes from Lower Gold Camp Road to Villa de Mesa Drive. There also will be a connection at that time from Gold Hill up to 21st Street, aligned with Skyview Lane.The developers have previously widened Lower Gold Camp Road next to Filing 1.
       No schedule has been set for Filings 2A and 2B to begin. “It's all market-driven,” Brinton said. Filing 2 was set in motion because of a diminishing number of available lots in Filing 1 - although about 40 of those are former Laing lots that could become available once a bankruptcy-related court action is completed.
       Located off Lower Gold Camp Road, 21st Street and Highway 24, Gold Hill Mesa is masterplanned overall for about 1,000 homes, plus office and retail on about 70 acres nearer to 21st and the highway.
       Technically speaking, Filings 1 and 2 are part of Phase 1 of the development, which was in the planning stages for almost 10 years before breaking ground on the community center (called the Exchange Building) in 2005. The first phase accounts for most of the land at the south end of the Gold Hill Mesa property. Still unplatted in that area is 7.5 acres around the northeast corner of Lower Gold Camp Road and 21st Street.

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