Sterling Ranch selects primary developer

Richmond American to take lead in Chatfield Valley

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Three weeks after Sterling Ranch was approved for the second time by the Douglas County commissioners, the planned development south of Chatfield Estates has announced Richmond American Homes of Colorado as its lead builder to be.

The group, a subsidiary of MDC Holdings, is expected to begin building the first homes toward the end of 2013, but legal challenges preventing the development may still come in to play before work commences.

Sterling Ranch, which was previously approved in 2011, already went to court once over the question of having sufficient water, and the neighboring Chatfield Community Association has said it may sue Sterling Ranch a second time on a variety of other issues, which they brought up in court before but were not addressed.

“In the appeal put forth before, there were many different elements of arguments,” said Dennis Larratt, Chatfield Community Association vice president during the July 10 commissioners’ hearing. “The district court chose to determine on only one item. All of those other elements are still live and can be brought back. Be prepared.”

Harold Smethills, Sterling Ranch managing director, said he fully expects another legal challenge from the Chatfield group – many of whom have said the development would destroy their rural way of life – but added that is up to his attorneys to handle, and he and his partners are ready to move forward with the project.

The community, once built out, is expected to have 12,000 homes and about 31,000 people on 3,400 acres in the valley. Plans call for 30 miles of trails, multiple parks and wildlife corridors, a multi-field athletic complex, a hospital, fire services, schools, and a town center patterned after Littleton’s historic downtown.

“We are excited to have Richmond American as our lead builder,” Smethills said in a July 31 news release. “Our senior leaders ... have known Richmond American’s management team for many years, and we look forward to a strong relationship for years to come as they help us realize the vision we have for Sterling Ranch.”

That vision includes having 37 percent of the development being preserved as open space as well as participating in innovative water conservation practices, including rainwater harvesting.

Richmond American, which – according to the news release – has a track record of building environmentally-friendly homes with an eye on conserving water and energy, will take the lead on the design and construction of single-family homes. The company has built more than 40,000 homes in Colorado over the past four decades.