A community housing project that began out of a close friendship between Alan Danson and Ray Nielsen is now almost a reality, with the town of Silt giving the final approval to the first phase of the planned tiny home community.
“We wanted to create a business model similar to the KOA, but a little different, so we created a residential community,” Danson said. “Instead of staying for three nights, you are staying for 10 years.”
Danson said his business partner, Nielsen, who owns the KOA Campground at Silt, came up with the design and is the architect of the planned community.
On Tuesday morning, Tiny Homes at River Run will start taking deposits for the first 13 sites and living units.
Interested buyers can go to tinyhomesatriverrun.com, and the first 13 who put a deposit down will have priority on the first sites, which will be located along the Colorado River.
“Tuesday, they will open it up, first-come, first-serve; whomever can put down a $1,000 deposit,” said Joshua Bassett, director of business development with Align Multimedia, who is handling marketing for River Run.
The deposit is fully refundable up until two weeks of delivery of the unit, he explained.
Danson is calling the first prospective buyers the “lucky 13.”
On July 23, the website will go live with an e-commerce application for interested buyers to click and put down a $1,000 deposit. The first person to make a deposit would be assigned lot 1 of the 13, Danson explained.
“Once we get to 13, any additional people will be put on a numbered waiting list, and let’s say number six doesn’t want to do it, we will refund his deposit and number 7-13 will all move down one slot and number 14 will move into the 13,” he said.
After a model tiny home was placed on site before Memorial Day, demand began to increase, the business partners said.
The community received approval from Silt Trustees last year for the 70-unit community, to be situation next to the KOA between the Frontage Road and the Colorado River, near exit 97 off Interstate 70.
Originally, the plan was for the buyers to move in by spring 2020, but Danson said people wanted to move in sooner than next year. He added the response has been tremendous, and hundreds of people have toured the model unit.
“We were absolutely blown away by the number of people, and by the positive comments,” Danson said.
After getting feedback from potential homebuyers, Danson and his partner have made a few adjustments to the unit designs and homeowners’ fees.
They added washers and dryers to units, doing away with the planned central laundry facility and clubhouse.
“We had set a $900 a month land rental and community HOA fee. Since we no longer need the community laundry, we can get rid of the clubhouse, pool, and a few other amenities, so we were able to reduce the monthly fee to $750,” Danson said.
Danson and Nielsen took a phase plan to Silt town officials and asked if they could develop the community in stages, instead of developing the whole thing at once, doing 13 homes sites at a time.
“The town of Silt have been aces. They have been wonderful, easy to deal with and very cooperative — they are excited about the project,” Danson said.
Site preparation is to begin at the end of July and beginning of August, he said.
Danson and Nielsen negotiated a contract that they signed this past weekend, with the tiny home manufacturer that will deliver the first 13 homes in a time frame so that people should be living at the River Run property by November.
“All though the homes that we are offering to people are all the same on the inside, they will look different outside — different colors, finishes and so on, and they will be all landscaped,” Danson said.
“I can’t tell you it’s going to be the answer to the housing issue on the Western Slope, but I can tell you it will be a very attractive option.”