E5X Management – Leyden Rock

The construction of a new community can bring many benefits to an area. The most obvious one is housing, but E5X Management’s Leyden Rock project is adding new jobs in the city of Arvada, Colo., President Chris Elliott says.

When people drive past the project site, “It looks like a huge manufacturing plant with all the folks out there,” he declares. “Through the land development effort, we probably have created 400 jobs.”

Leyden Rock is the latest masterplanned community of E5X, a land development company based in Englewood, Colo. When finished, Elliott says, the development will span 1,000 acres with approximately 1,500 living units.

E5X started developing the project in 2010 and construction is underway with seven builders: Lennar Corp., Meritage Homes Corp., D.R. Horton Inc., The Ryland Group, Village Homes, Remington Homes and TRI Pointe. So far, 150 homes are finished, Elliott says.

E5X expected the project’s construction to span seven years, but “it’s going to be closer to five,” Elliott says. “We’ve probably got three years worth of homebuilding to go.” 

The project has earned a strong local reaction, as well. “It’s one of the top-selling communities in the state,” Elliott says, noting that the city appreciates its environmentally sensitive design.

“Sales have surprised us and the builders,” he says. “We believe that it must be the community feel as much as the fact that there are now new home opportunities that weren’t available in this area before.”

The project has driven a spike in retail sales, as well. “Everyone’s really pleased with what it’s done in the area,” he states.

Environmentally Conscious

Leyden Rock will be located in rolling terrain close to the foothills west of Denver, Elliott says. “It’s a series of bluffs with the flatter areas on top,” he says. “Some of the more interesting topography has been left as is, and we worked around it.

“We’ll have trails that meander through there, but they won’t be big concrete trails,” he continues. “They’ll be single track and decomposed granite [pathways] that follow the old cattle trails.”

Although Leyden Rock is not aiming for LEED certification, all of its builders are LEED certified, Elliott says. “They’re meeting those standards,” he states, adding that the homes will have solar panels and efficient HVAC systems.  

Doing It Right

Elliott has operated E5X for nearly 30 years. “I started out working for a large production homebuilder back in the early ‘80s,” he recalls. “When the market turned down in Denver in the mid-‘80s, I used that as an opportunity to start my own business and concentrated on my own homebuilding efforts, as well as land development.” 

The land development projects, he notes, covered everything from custom home to production home communities, both small and large. “We’ve been continuing to do that ever since,” he says.

What has made E5X so successful, he notes, is the company’s ability to take on properties that have been overlooked. “[Others see them as] being too difficult to do or on the perimeter of the metro area,” he says. 

E5X has learned lessons on the Leyden Rock project, including that it needs to be more sensitive to timing. “We’ve learned that we need to take our time with it and make sure it’s done right,” he says. “We’ve needed to make adjustments to accommodate [others].”

The company also has learned to be selective in the individual builders and their product offerings. “We have found that we can hold out for the type of product that we believe has the right appeal in the marketplace, as well as insuring that we make sure the various products compliment one another rather than compete with [each other],” he says.

E5X also has collaborated well with its general contractors, Elliott asserts. “The builders are wonderful,” he says. “We’ve worked with them on a number of different projects.” 

Elliott sees a strong future for E5X and the Leyden Rock project. “It will build out uniformly with a broad spectrum of housing opportunities,” he says.

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