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With about 19,000 members, NAIOP is an organization that has evolved to advocate for real estate development and investment across the United States. Each year, they host the Rocky Mountain Real Estate Challenge – a competition between graduate-level students at the University of Colorado Boulder and the University of Denver. It allows students interested in pursuing a career in development to put their skills to the test by partnering with architects and other industry professionals to create a proposal for the site.

This year, the site was a 15-acre plot in Minturn, Colorado, at the junction of I-70 and Highway 24. KEPHART partnered with a group of students from the University of Colorado, volunteering our time to advise the group about what might be the best design for the community.

To kick off the project, the students provided a vision about what they wanted to accomplish and we helped them put that vision together. We examined retail, event spaces, workforce, and market-rate housing throughout the surrounding mountain towns and worked together to define the story of the community: A destination that offered an affordable alternative to its high-end neighbors, Vail and Beaver Creek.

To create an inclusive community, we included a hotel, housing – both workforce and for sale – parking, and retail spaces. We made sure there was ample green space, areas for people to congregate and pedestrian walkways wide enough to accommodate entertainment or vendors like food trucks. The architecture took inspiration from the former mining towns in the area, using natural materials and clean lines.

We enjoy sharing our time and our talents with those interested in furthering their careers in the industry. For more information about the challenge or to learn more about our proposal, contact KEPHART at 303-832-4474.


This is the philosophy that drives KEPHART to create thoughtful homes and communities that positively change people’s lives.

KEPHART is a nationally recognized, award-winning architectural design and planning firm with 50 years of housing expertise. Our passion for designing well-designed places to live, work, and play has driven us to create more than 500,000 homes across the country, ranging from single and multifamily homes to workforce housing, senior living, LIHTC communities, and everything in between. We have a deep bench of talented staff to design and deliver innovative and practical solutions to meet the unique requirements of every project.