Koelbel and Company Celebrates 70 Years of Development in Colorado
Koelbel and Company, one of Denver’s oldest and most esteemed real estate developers, is celebrating its 70th anniversary this month, enhancing lives through the creation of legacy communities throughout Colorado—and recently expanding its commercial investment division nationally.
Through the decades, the family-owned business has experienced adversity, market fluctuations, record-setting transactions, and many incredible milestones — always prevailing as a leader in both business and as a champion for the community. Their work has changed the local landscape through the creation of dozens of residential and commercial communities and thousands of homes as well as numerous invaluable contributions through their philanthropy.
Over the last 70 years, Koelbel and Company has relied on the simple fact that under all, lies the land and we must protect it and use it wisely. This belief ensures that each Koelbel and Company community is built with a generational mindset. By utilizing the natural beauty of lakes, nature preserves, natural topography, views, and golf courses, Koelbel and Company has been able to develop communities where people can live, work, and play that stand the test of time.
“Koelbel and Company has continued to be successful despite economic ups and downs and increased competition thanks to a long-term and multi-generational view of the business based on our founder, Walt Koelbel’s, credo ‘patience is genius’ and ‘land is precious,’” said Walt “Buz” Koelbel, Jr. who was just eight years old when Pinehurst, the company’s first major project, opened in 1960. “The real estate business, and particularly the development business, requires constant community involvement, a long-term focus, and a respect for the land that transcends the bottom line.”
With three generations of history and over 70 years in business, there have been more than a few milestones for the company:
- The Preserve at Greenwood Village: The largest master-planned custom-home community in the Denver metro area sold its final lot this year after decades in the making. The community was the first of its kind to prohibit walls or fences thereby creating a community within the community. They also dedicated 60 acres of pristine open space from the unique terrain into what is now the Marjorie Perry Nature Preserve.
- Tava Waters (formerly known as The Breakers): With Denver’s second-largest lake as the centerpiece of the community, the sale of the apartment community in 2016 represented the largest apartment transaction in Colorado’s history and was structured so that Koelbel could continue 38 years of active involvement and ownership in the property. Additionally, they are also building a new 86-unit townhome community at Tava Waters.
- Rendezvous Colorado: The Koelbel family has spent generations together enjoying the Fraser Valley and wanted to give the broader community the opportunity to enjoy this Colorado valley’s pristine beauty as well, thus creating a 1,100-acre master-planned resort community focusing on trail-side living to celebrate the wonders of outdoor Colorado in Grand County. After 22 years and with 700 acres of development on the horizon Rendezvous continues to be a pinnacle of mountain living.
- The sale of the last lot at Pinehurst Country Club in May 2016 after 56 years of development.
- Catalyst: The most cutting-edge health-tech industry integrator concept to emerge in Denver and one of the first co-working concepts to take shape in the burgeoning RiNo district of Denver. In 2021, Koelbel replicated the concept and expanded nationally—bringing its highly successful and innovative Catalyst concept to the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) at the historic Omaha Steel Works.
- The launch of their commercial Value-Add investment division in 2020 with 600,000 square feet of commercial office acquisitions in Denver, Atlanta and Dallas since inception.
- This year, Koelbel partnered with DeNOVO Solutions, LLC to deliver INNOVUS, a new state-of-the-art secured facility capable of meeting the expanding needs of the private defense contractors around Buckley Space Force Base in Aurora. The concept will be the first of its kind providing both state-of-the-art secured facilities and unparalleled amenities that allow our defense contractors to better compete in the war for talent.
- Affordable Housing: With its mission-driven efforts to provide affordable workforce and senior housing in the Rocky Mountain area, Koelbel and Company’s low-income housing division is executing its 10th project, delivering more affordable units, over 850, more than any other private developer in the state over the past 10 years
- Koelbel Urban Homes: Responding to a new generation of buyers’ desire for walkability and the many attractions of urban living, Koelbel’s urban division was created in 2012 and is positioned to build 200 for-sale townhomes in multiple strategically located projects in the Denver metro area over the next two years.
“For Koelbel and Community, a focus on building legacy communities means more than simply focusing on residential development. Community exists in the places that we work and play as well. Understanding that is a key insight to creating timeless communities of all types,” said Carl Koelbel, COO of Koelbel and Company.
For the Koelbel family community means more than just real estate and over the last seven decades, they have always been very active in the community — and believed that education, at all levels, is a critical foundation for the future of the state and country. A large focus of their philanthropic contributions have been in multiple areas of the education arena including: the donation of the central library facility for the Arapahoe County Library District; the dedication of the Koelbel Building at CU Boulder’s Leeds School of Business; over 50 years of support for the Sewall Child Development Center, which recently named its new school campus after Walt and Gene Koelbel; the 20-year tenure of both Buz and Sherri Koelbel serving on the Board for Economic Literacy Colorado which empowers Colorado’s K-12 teachers/students to teach/learn the fundamental economic and financial decision-making skills necessary to achieve a lifetime of economic understanding and financial security (including the annual Koelbel Enterprising Teacher of the Year Award; and the $2M capital commitment to the new Sea Lion Habitat at the Denver Zoo). Three generations of the family have been active on the boards of the Denver Zoo and Denver’s Museum of Nature and Science. Thanks in large part to Koelbel’s contributions, the Koelbel KUVO JAZZ Studio recently opened in Rocky Mountain Public Media’s (RMPM) new community-focused Buell Public Media Center in Denver’s Arapahoe Square.
Koelbel and Company remains a true family business. After many years pursuing other endeavors, Buz’s three sons now all work for the company in various capacities and are leading the company in new directions.
“Koelbel is proud of its 70-year history but is even more excited about what the future brings for the company,” said Carl Koelbel, Chief Operating Officer at Koelbel and Company. “The values we’ve created over the past seven decades will ensure we maintain our legacy well into the future.”