Aviation Communities in Colorado
Living in an Aviation Community in Northern Colorado within proximity of a runway is not for everyone, but if you’ve found yourself on this page, you are at the very least, curious about an aviation lifestyle.
I am a Private Pilot and was lucky enough to have earned my license right here in Colorado, in 2011. The Front Range is a beautiful place to learn to fly with more than 300 days of sunshine a year and visibility for 50 miles many of those days. The view from up there is spectacular. My perspective on life, the mountains and real estate communities is not one the average Realtor is lucky enough to enjoy and I am grateful.
The Private Pilot population in the USA is in decline. In 1977 there were approximately 327,000 Private Pilots and by 2011 the numbers had shrunk to just over 195,000. It is likely that several factors play a part, but the general consensus is that the main two are time and money.
Here’s a thought…
Living closer to a rental airplane or even your airplane is one way to save time. Reducing the commute time to the airport could be the key to those last minute sunset flights, quick jaunts into the sky between other obligations or simply the extra motivation to fly more often. It’s why we became pilots in the first place.
Take it a step further. Are you paying for hanger rental or monthly tie-down fee? What if you owned the hangar and were free to modify it or improve it? How would that change your flying and your life?
Living at the airport and/or owning a hangar is another way you could be saving money.
And then there are those for whom flying is more than recreational. Perhaps you use your aircraft for business travel and being able to literally fly home is what makes the difference to your quality of life.
Aviation Communities in Northern Colorado
You have several options when contemplating aviation compatible real estate in this area:
Erie Municipal Airport (EIK)
The airport comprises about 115 acres with residences just outside the boundaries. It is owned by the Town of Erie and located 20 miles north of Denver and 10 miles east of Boulder. Just off Highway 7, three miles west of I25.
Vector Air is the airports fixed-base operator (FBO) and services include aircraft rental, flight instruction, fuel (100LL and Jet A) and tie-down.
Field Elevation: 5130 ft
Runway 15/33: 4,700 x 60 ft, paved.
Runway 9/27: CLOSED. Emergency use only.
A brief history of this airport and why Erie Municipal Airport might meet your aviation-real estate needs:
In 1977 the land was purchased and developed by Tom Pierce and his business partners. The vision was for a private airport and they would divide and sell the lots to pay for the project. The property was annexed into the Town of Erie and properties began selling.
To gain support for the maintenance shop, fuel sales and flight school, developers opened the airport to the public and the FBO was in place by 1978.
In the late 1970’s, as homes were being built at the airpark, interest rates hit 16-18% and halted construction. Erie, not having enough water for the community, then put a moratorium on water taps and it wasn’t until the new water treatment plant was developed, that building began again.
By 1987 the subdivision began taking shape but even with Air Park residents contributions to the maintenance fund since 1979, there was not enough money to maintain the blacktop runways. (There were two intersecting runways back then.)
The FAA designated Tri County Airport as a reliever airport for Rocky Mountain Metro Airport in Jefferson County it was then able to apply for grant money from the Federal Aviation Grant funds and CDOT.
When the airport owner was not able to generate the money needed to pay the matching funds for the grants and pay the huge annual property taxes, the airport fell into bankruptcy in 1991. It was 1994 when the Town of Erie purchased it from the bankruptcy court, but within four years, had paid the court in full using rent collected from the FBO.
At the present time, the secondary runway (9/27) is closed, in a state of disrepair and overgrown with weeds. It is used solely for emergency landings. The estimated $3,000,000 needed to bring it up to FAA standards and re-open it, is not available. However, in 2011 the residents of Erie Air Park dropped their law suit against the Town of Erie and settled for a promise from the Board of Trustees to take all reasonable action to reserve the previous Runway 9-27 area at the Erie Airport for future runway planning. And a pledge to try to obtain approval from the FAA and CDOT for that purpose.
Supporters of the Erie/Tri County Airport:
- Home Owners AssociationFormed in 1979 and membership, at $20/year, is optional. It facilitates dialogue between residents and the Town of Erie.
- Friends of Erie Airport (FOEA): Formed to support and represent the airport while working with the FAA.
- Erie Airport Economical Development Committee (EAEDC): Formed in 2008 to encourage business development on or near the property that will become an asset to the airport and Town of Erie.
- Spirit of Flight Museum: Open to the public for an admission fee of $5 and located at 2650 South Main St. in Erie.
Erie CO Real Estate Erie Air Park
Unlike many air parks – or airports with “through the fence” agreements – there is usually real estate for sale at Erie Air Park. Homes range in price from $400,00 – $1,600,000. Some feature Rocky Mountain views, large hangers, direct runway access. Others are ready for your imagination. They may not yet have a hangar, instead of direct access, they come with easement access to the runway and are touting more dated architectural styles.
The through-the-fence arrangement that exists to give residents of the air park (with homes outside the actual airport boundaries) access to the runways, costs about $600/year. Bargain!
In the last year the average sold price was $583,000 (median: $522,000).
Sold prices ranged from $206,000 – $1,000,000.
There are also several vacant lots available, starting at $120,000. That’s right, you can build your dream home and hangar at a “fly-in community” on the Front Range!
I would be delighted to help you get further acquainted with your new home and lifestyle that is uniquely Erie.
Park Land Estates Airpark
Park Land Estates is also located about 2 miles NE of Erie. Still only about 10 miles east of Boulder, but a more rural feeling community. It is still within a 30 minute drive of the metropolitan Denver area and Denver International Airport.
It was established in 1978 by a group of airplane enthusiasts with a vision for providing large lots and “fly-in” home sites. Each of the 91 parcels has a taxi easement radiating from the 4,200 foot, paved and lighted runway.
Park Land Estates Airpark is private. Open to residents and their invited guests. In order to use their runway and facilities, you must first complete a Hold Harmless Agreement.
Elevation: 5050 ft
Runway 8/26: 4,200 x 50 ft, paved
Runway 17/35: Emergency use only.
Real Estate at Park Land Estates
While home sales at Park Land Estates were doing great in 2012, they appeared to have slowed in 2013. This year there have been four homes for sale between $360,000 – $1,089,000 and two that have been withdrawn from market at $380,000 and $750,000. Nothing has actually sold…yet.
If the exclusive Park Land lifestyle suits your needs, call me. I have experienced first hand the natural beauty of this airpark. You won’t find anything else like it on the Front Range.
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