DIRC Homes LLC
DIRC Homes’ new West Line Village offers homeowners attainable housing with personality.
By Tim O’Connor and Alan Dorich
Sunny skies, superior skiing and an endless number of hiking and biking trails have made Denver a destination city for people who love the outdoors. It’s the 13th fastest-growing city in the country, according to the U.S. Census bureau, adding 13,028 people between 2015 and 2016. All those new residents are driving up housing demand, making Denver one of the hottest homebuilding markets in the country.
The situation has created many opportunities for builders such as DIRC Homes, but brings with it some undesirable side effects. According to real estate analytics firm CoreLogic, home prices in metro-Denver have increased 8.4 percent year-over-year. Salaries aren’t growing fast enough to keep up with escalating housing costs, pricing many first-time homebuyers – the young people responsible for much of the city’s growth – out of the market.
As a homebuilder specializing in urban infill projects, DIRC Homes is uniquely positioned to tackle the challenge head on. The company’s latest community development, West Line Village, targets millennials with attainable housing in a location that gives them access to everything Denver has to offer. The transit-oriented neighborhood, located at West 10th Avenue and Depew Street in Lakewood, Colo., will feature 175 rowhomes and duplexes. The project broke ground in October and is being built in five phases over a two-and-a-half year period. The first units will be delivered in summer 2018.
West Line Village is perfectly located to take advantage of the outdoors lifestyle that Colorado is known for. The community is located along a bike trail that runs through a gulch all the way to the South Platte River, making it a 15-minute bike ride into downtown Denver.
For residents wanting to expand their outdoor adventures beyond the city limits, West Lane Village offers convenient access to the region’s light rail service. The Sheridan Station is located less than 500 yards from the development. From there, it’s only seven stops along the RTD’s W line to the beautiful peaks and hiking trails of Golden, Colo. “It’s an accessible location that makes it easy for people to lock their front door and go adventure,” Derenne says.
With nine floorplans to choose from, homes range from 800 to 1,750 square feet. The smaller homes are ideal for people who are more likely to rely on public transportation or commuting by bike and only need a one-car garage. “We see people becoming more of that one-car or zero-car household,” Marketing Manager Michaela Derenne says.
The smaller floor plan helps DIRC Homes offer homes at a lower price. “We have new homes starting for under $300,000, which is unheard of in the metro area,” President Paul Malone says. “We’ve been able to deliver that product for many people that have been left out of the market.”
The compact size does not mean the homes will lack a sense of style. “We’re design-focused with thoughtful interior finishes,” Derenne asserts. “You’re not being stuck with a boxes that has no personality; there’s a high design to each home.”
The development follows the Dutch concept of “woonerf,” a street that is design as a shared passageway for cars and pedestrians. West Line Village uses these woonerfs to give all residents a pleasant front door experience, regardless of where they live in the community. Innovative streetscape design combines varied colors and textures, and the landscaping for each home creates individuality within the neighborhood. “With it being a larger neighborhood, you want to be mindful of how it all fits together,” Derenne says.
That desire for a neighborhood fit influenced the design of the homes, as well. DIRC Homes worked with the city of Lakewood to ensure West Line Village blended into the community by foregoing features such as rooftop patios in favor of pitched roofs. “Denver has received a lot of bad press [in terms of] architecture,” Malone says. “We took a step back with this project and focused on clean lines and simple materials.”
The partnership with city officials helped DIRC Homes find the right balance between amenities, affordability and design. Lakewood Mayor Adam Paul attended the project’s groundbreaking, touting West Line Village as a model of new housing options. His opening remarks were, “This is a big day for the city of Lakewood. It’s a big day for this neighborhood.” He continued, “It’s more important than ever, when we’re looking at infill development, to make sure you become part of the community.”
Even community organizations have pitched in. 40 West Arts, a state-certified creative district, has committed to painting a mural on the property. “We have buy-in from so many people and it really is about the people,” Derenne says.
The Lakewood community may have embraced DIRC Homes, but it’s the people inside the firm who make everything run. DIRC Homes credits its employees with creating a collaborative environment that drives success in projects such as West Line Village. “They are the key to us being able to accept awards like the ‘Fastest-Growing Private Companies,’” Derenne says, referring to the company’s recent honor as one of the Denver Business Journal’s Fast 50.