In a pine-shrouded enclave south of Castle Rock, G.J. Gardner cuts down the price of custom building

Date Wednesday, 14 May 2014 12:00 AM

Courtesy of Mark Samuelson
Denver Post
As homes in Colorado show some solid appreciation, builders Bob and Nick Nettleton will show you a custom ranch today in a piney enclave in Douglas County that still sounds like a deal out of the recession years: It has 2,700 square feet on a main level plus another 1,300 on a walkout with a fourth bedroom. There's a 3-car garage, Bosch appliances, slab granite, lots of stone and timber, and the half-acre is shrouded in 30 Ponderosa pines. The price is $655,000.
Six years ago, Bob Nettleton notes, builders in Hidden Forest north of Larkspur were edging $800,000 for a ranch this size. Nettleton says his site costs in Hidden River are 40% less than they were then; but the real price advantage owes to his affiliation with G.J. Gardner Homes - a builder that's bringing production cost efficiencies to niche sites that big builders wouldn't bother with.
G.J. Gardner - it's ranked as the 12th largest-volume builder in the Denver area and calls itself 'Colorado's number-1 affordable custom builder' - puts together production-scale efficiencies with the talents of smaller builders who specialize in niche products. Nettleton, who has the franchise for Douglas County, built for years under the moniker Nicholas Custom Homes - a name he gave the company when son Nick was a year old (he's now its business manager). Over the years Nettleton built showplaces in the Parade of Homes and Street of Dreams tour.
You can see the quality of workmanship, see other plans and sites, and talk about your own custom home ideas and how they may relate. There's a piney site nearby where Nettleton is ready to start another 2,700-foot ranch, 3-bedroom-plus-study, more European-provincial in style, that you could have customized if you got involved. The price would be high-$500s, and on other sites in Hidden Forest, or in similar Castle Rock enclaves, could start in the low $5s.
"When they say no, we say yes," Nettleton added. "Our customers know exactly what finishes are going in; there's no nebulous allowance, no cheap quality fixtures." Nettleton also offers some in-fill homes in Littleton and Englewood. He's one of a dozen G.J. Gardner franchisees who offer this kind of cost efficiency on projects ranging from estate-sized properties, to low-maintenance ranches, to new-urban single-family homes and duplexes in Denver's hot Highlands neighborhoods. You can see those opportunities at
The ranch open today at 7904 Monarch is a mile north of the Renaissance Fair site in Larkspur; but the way to get there is to exit I-25 at Exit 181/Plum Creek Parkway in Castle Rock, turn southwest down the frontage road five miles to Tomah Road, and turn right. Just past the rail crossing take a left on Bear Dance, continue south three miles, past the golf course, to Independence; take a left, then east two miles to Quartz Mountain. Monarch is just beyond.

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