Driving About Fire Damaged Boulder County

I recently drove through Louisville and Superior, surveying the fire damaged Boulder communities. It’s tough to see. At one traffic light, that I’ve always associated as being a gateway to Louisville, there is nothing but destruction. It’s mind boggling.

In another part of town, where the new hotel in Superior burned to the ground, there is nothing but concrete. Let me back up.

Superior Element Hotel Destroyed

I’m saying Marshall fire damaged Boulder hotel in Superior does not border any open space.

That hotel had Hwy 36 on one side and McCaslin Blvd on the other. That’s four to six lanes of concrete roads on two sides. There is a regular curved road and more commercial spaces on another side of the former hotel. Nowhere is there a big field where you might expect a fire to have blown into this building.

Most likely, burning embers from the Marshall fire were launched into the air and landed atop this stick built hotel, destroying it from the top down. Like the completely decimated hotel, you have Sagamore.

Destroyed hotel in Superior. Oddly, this site doesn’t really border any open space where the fire originated.

Sagamore: Marshall Fire Damaged Boulder Subdivision

When it comes to Sagamore, the entire community was destroyed.  

This is really depressing to consider. Like many, I’m wondering what happens next. There are already several lots listed for sale, with, I think, ambitious price points. For an owner rebuilding or developer, being first in presents a dilemma.

The Quagmire For Rebuilding

The first owners to rebuild will be greeted with the sounds of housing construction for years to come. And these pioneers will drive through a burnt out wasteland of potentially dangerous empty foundations.  In a neighborhood such as Harper’s Lake or Sagamore, the damage will be inescapable for years to come.

Olde Town Superior Fire Damaged and Destroyed

Same would go for Olde Towne Superior.  Adding to the woes of this once unique community, the change time has wrought. Many owners lost houses from the 1800’s and early 19th century that had been added on to over the years. 

These owners may find it challenging to recreate what they lost. Adding insult to injury, building codes will require additional sums for rebuilt homes. And codes may prevent owners from rebuilding structures that were antiquated and unique.

It is easy to imagine the views that owners in Sagamore once enjoyed before the Marshall Fire damaged and destroyed over 1,000 structures at the tail end of 2021.

And then there is the worry about inadequate insurance.  IMHO, this area is primed to be purchased building lot by building lot through developers. Then each lost Lot will be replaced not with entry level homes, but new and expensive custom designs.

Boulder County and Nation Respond With Assistance

There are a number of local, state and federal programs out there providing assistance. Here’s one with a donation center at Flatiron Mall.

What’s The Rest of Superior Like Post Fire?

Around Superior Rock Creek, I saw plenty of evidence of fire damaged Boulder county. Right off, I noticed blown down fences. Remember, the winds that day exceeded 100 miles per hour. 

Next, I drove into one of the burned out Rock Creek neighborhoods. This one was personal for me. My brother had lived on Andrews Street back in the Nineties. I can recall driving down that street with snow piled five feet high from the crazy blizzard we experienced when my son was twelve.

This day, as I drove down Andrews street, it all looked calm until suddenly, there was a burned out house next to one still standing. Just like that. Everything was okay and then suddenly, a burned out lot. In fact there were several Marshall fire damaged Boulder county homes stretching around the corner. Suddenly, I had to get out of that neighborhood. It just was too much.

Now As I Drove Around Rock Creek

Driving around more, I noticed from afar a lot of burned out areas.  I didn’t see a house right next door to a burned out lot for sale. But I did see that in general there are homes throughout Rock Creek for sale. And owners of these homes will have burned out lot views for some time to come. But it isn’t so overwhelming that it is likely to negatively impact the market.

The Ridge At Superior

Last but not least, I visited The Ridge at Superior for a client. Noticed that the landscaping around it is burned out, but that will grow back in a season. 

There is a chain link fence around four or so town homes. Inside the fencing, roll off dumpsters and crews removing debris. The workers are dressed in hazmat like full body suits. They almost look like extras from Matt Damon’s Contagion movie – the suits are all white.

I think it is reasonable to believe that a potential home buyer will see the immediate effort of this strong HOA to address cleanup/rebuilding. A buyer here will feel good, knowing that within a year or so this particular fire damaged Boulder community will be back to 100%. 

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