Bill Ramsey – Q&A: What’s Driving Mountain States Development Market?

Connect Media

January 28, 2019

KTGY Architecture + Planning recently tapped Bill Ramsey, AIA, NCARB, to lead the expansion of the firm’s for-sale residential practice. Based in Denver, Ramsey will manage an architecture and planning team dedicated to expanding design services for new for-sale residential developments in Colorado and the surrounding states, while complementing the multifamily and mixed-use expertise.

Connect Media asked Ramsey to share a few insights into the region’s design and development trends, what opportunities and challenges he sees on the horizon, and ways investors are approaching the market in our latest 3 CRE Q&A.

Q: What are the most significant trends that you are seeing in design and development of new residential for-sale communities throughout Colorado and the Mountain States?
 We continue to blur the lines between indoor and outdoor. A strong connection between traditionally livable and outdoor spaces became increasingly popular in California and other warm climates over the last few years.  We’ve learned that connection is equally desirable, and just as likely to be used in colder and more temperate climates. Small things, like covering a patio or providing protection from wind, make them much more comfortable. People enjoy feeling connected to the outdoors, and these spaces make that possible. I have had a few conversations about roof decks lately, as well. While we need to be cognizant of snow and other climatic concerns, the potential benefit of such a space is inarguable.

Q: What do you see on the horizon for this sector in terms of opportunities and challenges?
 Price increases, both in land and construction costs, continue to make projects more challenging. The buying public has a limit on what they can afford, so price increases can only go so far. This creates the need, or opportunity, for more creative solutions. Whether it be through land planning that increases density without reducing desirability, or design that leads to efficient construction, we have to make sure our projects remain attainable. Neither of those adjustments require that projects be insipid or undesirable, rather they require a team that looks for innovative and creative solutions at all stages of a development.

Q: What are some project examples that reflect how developers/investors are approaching the market?
 It seems that nearly every project has a wrinkle or two that makes it challenging. We like to joke, “all the easy projects have already been done.” These challenging projects require an entire team, including the developer, to look for creative solutions. These often lead to a better overall project. Vitae in Southern California found a way to meet a guest-parking requirement in a way that also created shared common space between neighbors. The land plan and building plotting allowed more units to fit on the site, while creating an internal common space for neighbors to congregate together. Sales reflected how positively the idea was received.