Sustainability-focused development gears up for construction

May 7, 2010

By Tim Pfarr

Officials with Trails at Newcastle, a sustainability-oriented development that will be built east off Coal Creek Parkway between Southeast 79th Street and 135th Avenue Southeast, plan to break ground this summer.

“The timing is right in the market,” said Ben Kaufman, owner of GreenWorks Realty and Development Group, which will build the development.

The development has been in the planning stages for more than six years. The site on which it will be built is 6.4 acres, but one-third of the property is protected wetlands. The development will include 32 homes centered on a pedestrian walkway and will offer parking on the property’s periphery, according to the development’s website.

The site on which the buildings will be constructed is host to some invasive plant species, and about two years ago the group brought in more than 100 goats to eat their way through the plants and perform initial clearing.

The homes, 4-star “Built Green” energy-efficient cottages, will range in price from about $350,000 to about $600,000. Individual units will be between 1,300 and 2,100 square feet in size, but officials with the group said they are exploring offering smaller units that are about 800 square feet.

Also, residents will share a community organic garden and common house with a multipurpose room for gatherings.

The project will incorporate low-impact development practices with the use of rain gardens and pervious paths and roads to increase absorption and reduce water runoff.

Last December, Kaufman announced the addition of community developer Brenda Nunes to the project’s team.

“We’re extremely excited,” Kaufman said. “Her background and experience are perfect for the position.”

Nunes — who has a marketing, public relations and facilitation background — will work with future residents to build a cohesive community.

“It’s just a fabulous project,” Nunes said. “It’s combining my love of green building with community and trails.”

She said one of the keys to building the new community is getting people to visualize the finished product, adding that touring the property greatly helps with visualization. She said five people have already committed to living in Trails at Newcastle, and many more are interested.

“They’re going to move into a low-maintenance, environmentally friendly community,” she said.

Newcastle Community Development Director Steve Roberge said he is excited about the construction of the sustainability-oriented community.

“Anytime you can gear a development to be more sustainable, you’re ahead of the game,” he said. “You’re ahead of the game regionally and locally.”

For information about the development or to take a tour of the site, e-mail Nunes at or call 785-6286.

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