It’s hard to believe that it has been a decade since our Labor Day visit to South Main. This Labor Day (2021), we did it again. My kids have certainly grown since the last visit and my son, Grant, was born between visits. Similarly, the neighborhood has also grown and matured. It now features the beautiful Surf Hotel and Surf Chateau, both new from the 2011 visit. We have a fresh perspective, but similar love results of such a special place. The following are a few updated photos from our 2021 visit, followed by the 2011 post about South Main.
Over Labor Day weekend of 2011, my family met up with my parents in South Main, a beautiful neighborhood located in Buena Vista, Colorado. Previous blog posts have mentioned South Main. However, for new readers, South Main, which originated as a kayak river park, is a unique and evolving neighborhood build upon the foundational elements of The New Urbanism.
South Main’s Growing Popularity
Although the neighborhood is still young, the buzz across Southern Colorado is comparable to an established urban resort community. As a result, it is common to see other development professionals wandering the streets of South Main. Others often refer the visiting professionals to the neighborhood tucked into the Arkansas Riverfront due to its popularity, simply by word-of-mouth. During my brief visit to South Main, I spoke to Dan Burden, a New Urbanist legend of the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute and some builders from Texas. Check out Dan’s photos and comments on Facebook.
New Developments and Vacation Rentals
In the year that I have been away from South Main, many changes have been made. New homes and attached live/work units have been constructed, and first floors are being utilized by a mix of retail, furniture sales, attorney offices, and art galleries. It is rapidly taking an organic form that will, at full build out, rival neo-traditional neighborhoods across the country.
It is the second time my family has stayed in the vacation rental called The Firehouse in South Main. The Firehouse is the second floor of a live/work unit with three bedrooms that sleeps ten guests. The interior of The Firehouse features high ceilings, wide hallways, and a terrific kitchen. It is perfect for a couple of families, or a group of outdoor enthusiasts.
The vacation rental component of South Main is one of the great examples of adaptability in the new economy that is possible in a new urban neighborhood. The framework of a new urban community includes the bones of adaptability and flexibility of use. Conventional single-use subdivisions cannot compete in adaptability because they do not have the same flexibility, nor diversity that enables creative adaptation. The recognition of the South Main Company that there is a demand for week-long or weekend tenants in the Banana Belt of Colorado is just one creative way that South Main is successful.