Se Habla Espanol

About Thistle


2014-2015 Annual Report

2012-2013 Annual Report


About Thistle


The Fairways Apartments Mural is UP!


The new mural on the Fairways Apartments 5620 building is amazing! Residents and Thistle staff attended a celebration event hosted by Open Studios on October 20. Artist Sally Eckhart created this mural after gathering resident input. Residents participated in the planning and artist selection process, two meetings on the potential subject matter of the mural. They also voted on one of three design options, and some residents even went to the artist’s studio to help paint. It’s a true community mural which brings art, color, and cheerfulness to one of our communities.
We thank Open Studios for funding this project with a Boulder County Arts grant and personal donation from Matt Cohn on behalf of Open Studios.

The Crime Free Program Benefits Our Residents

Police calls have decreased from 10 per month prior to Thistle buying 1200 Kimbark in December 2014 to the kids at artpresent three per month as reported by the Longmont Police Department.
Single mom Sarah Parsons who has lived at Kimbark since before Thistle purchased it, said, “Since Thistle took over, there were lots of arrests, cops took out the drug community, it’s now a drug free zone. I love living in a nearly new apartment.”
The $2M Kimbark renovation financed by tax credits was completed in September, 2016.

Thistle Invests $10K in Mapleton Mobile Home Park

The only permanently affordable mobile home park in Boulder, Mapleton is a crucial rung on the housing ladder of opportunities. Thistle recently invested $10,000 in this eclectic community of help the Mapleton Homeowners Association's process to clarify board governance and park operations. Mobile home parks are oneo fthe few alternatives for people who earn low incomes to own their own homes. Seven-year resident Seemanta who is retired said, "I wouldn't be able to live in Boulder without MMHP. I tried to get a room in town, it was at least $600 a month with lots of transient roommates." Seemanta feels secure that no developer will come in and raze the park.


At Thistle we are moving full speed ahead with kids at artseveral innovative partnerships and projects. One is a collaboration with Open Arts, which brings visual art events and educational programming to the public throughout the year. On August 14, 2015, kids of all ages enjoyed an afternoon of play and art exploration at Fairways Apartments (right). We are thrilled to announce that our next art project is underway: a mural at the Fairways Apartments Courtyard. Resident stories will come to life on the mural, scheduled to be completed this fall. We thank Open Arts for this opportunity and are looking forward to it.

Another initiative which has begun to show results is our partnership with Attention Homes, a Boulder non-profit dedicated to providing services to at-risk and homeless youths for the last 40 years. We have formalized our relationship with an MOU and two of our apartments are now homes for their Attention Home Clientsclients. Shown left, Angelina and Najaah are chilling after work at their apartment. They are saving for a car and their plans for the summer are "working, paying bills and being adult-like."  Visit for more program information.

And, the 69-unit Lumine Apartment complex in Boulder (shown below) is fully leased! Our new residents includeLumine employees of BVSD, King Soopers and CU Boulder, managers for local businesses such as Mad Greens and Crist Mortuary, a chiropractor, a nanny and numerous self-employed. The Lumine and Ledges apartment complexes have added 130 new affordable apartments to Boulder's housing stock over the past year. Thistle and our partners are making a difference by housing Boulder's diverse workforce, so people can live where they work and work where they live.

Sage Court Receives Significant City of Boulder Investment

Sage Court, built in 1989 and containing 19 units for people with disabilities, has been totally renovated as of October 2015. Cabinets, flooring, air conditioners, tubs, sinks were replaced while residents were temporarily relocated to a local hotel. Long time residents John and Shelley Couch (shown) are looking forward to a brand new home.

John and ShellyFor making this process as smooth as possible, we thank Judith Houlding of Space Editing (Space-Editing)for numerous volunteer hours organizing and moving support for our residents with various disabilities and for recruiting other volunteer professional organizers through National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) Colorado. Counseling support has been provided by Naropa's Graduate School of Psychology interns, coordinated by Joy Redstone. We greatly appreciate the help of Flatirons Moving and Storage, Homewood Suites and Residence Inn, Asset Preservation Group and PEH Architects.

Thanks to the City of Boulder Division of Housing's investment of $762,500 to complete Sage Court's interior renovation (plus an additional $300K from the City and NeighborWorks for the exterior work completed in 2014), the residents will have comfortable, long term apartments to call home.  

Yarmouth Way Receives ULI Kemp Award

The 4655 Partnership of Allison Management and Thistle Communities is honored to announce that we havereceived the Urban Land Institute's 2013 Jack KempWorkforce Housing Models of Excellence Award. We are pleased and proud to receive this extremely competitive national award for our Yarmouth Way development in Boulder, Colorado. Accepting the award are Andy Allison, Mary Duvall Accepting the award and Dan Rotner (architect).

The Jack Kemp Awards, named in memory of former U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary and ULI Terwilliger Center national advisory board member, Jack Kemp, are given to workforce housing developments that represent outstanding achievements in several areas, including affordability, innovative financing and building technologies, proximity to employment centers and transportation hubs, quality of design, involvement of public-private partnerships, and replicability of the development, among other criteria.

According to ULI Terwilliger Center Executive Director, Lynn M. Ross, this year’s Kemp Award winners illustrate the importance of expanding workforce housing options in locations that are well-served by transit and near major employment centers. “The attention to architectural detail, environmental considerations, and site design demonstrate that pursuing affordability doesn’t mean sacrificing quality,” she added.

Yarmouth Way is a mixed-income residential development with 25 single-family units on 1.82 acres—located in a city with one of the highest housing costs per capita in the United States. Positioned at the southern end of the Holiday Neighborhood, the project was developed by 4655 Yarmouth, LLC, a partnership between Thistle Communities, a nonprofit developer, and Allison Management, a for-profit developer.  Yarmouth Way offers three- and four-bedroom family-oriented workforce units in a city where most permanently affordable units are only one- or two-bedrooms. Ten of the townhomes and single-family homes at Yarmouth Way are affordable to families earning between 69 to 109 percent of the area median income (AMI). Yarmouth’s unique site design includes a central laneway that offers a common gathering space for residents and encourages neighborly interaction. Yarmouth Way demonstrates what can be accomplished when resourceful public-private partnerships cooperate to meet civic goals.

1000 Rosewood Completed!

Rosewood Rosewood

Thistle's new neighborhood in North Boulder, 1000 Rosewood, has completed construction and all homes are sold. Now, 18 new households are able to live and work in Boulder. Nine of these homes are deed restricted and are permanently affordable.

More Workers Calling Boulder Home

Carlyn and FamilyWhile the Boulder real estate market has not seen a significant reduction in the median home price, opportunities do exist for people with moderate incomes to live, work and own their own homes in the city. Teachers, retail employees, non-profit administrators and university staff, the backbone of our workforce, are the purchasers of new homes developed by Thistle Communities.

Thistle’s new developments are typically different than others in Boulder because our focus is on family friendly homes; the market rate homes are the lowest priced new construction in the market and the deed-restricted affordable homes are large enough to accommodate a household with several members. Home buyers are looking for neighborhoods where their children can ride bikes and play with others as well as properties they can afford. The demand remains high for these types of homes.

Whether market rate or affordable, buying your first home is exciting and scary. Carlyn, an English teacher at a local Boulder high school and single mother to two kids, made significant adjustments in her financial situation before qualifying under City of Boulder guidelines to buy a home. Once approved, the next step of finding a house that was affordable and comfortable took some time. Her search resulted in the purchase of a permanently affordable three-bedroom townhome with a garage in Thistle’s Yarmouth Way community. (See photo, left)

“I needed a three bedroom because of the kids,” she said. “I decided I’m going to get my kids a home.” Though sometimes she doubted it was possible, Carlyn was the first in her family to buy a home, graduate from college and get a Masters degree. Her mom was a single mother, had never owned a home and lived a gypsy life. Carlyn’s mother helped take care of the kids when Carlyn moved to Colorado to go to school. Carlyn, looking forward to the stability of owning her home, said, “Now my son will be able to graduate from Boulder High and my daughter can ride her bike in the neighborhood with other kids.”

Yarmouth Way in North Boulder hosts 25 homes, ten of which are affordable and 15 are market rate. The entire development was built and sold out within one year. A school teacher in Boulder like Carlyn who earns a respectable income cannot buy a median-priced Boulder home at $525,000 but could qualify to purchase a home priced at $208,000 to $237,300 at Yarmouth Way.

Thistle’s previous development of eight homes at Toby’s Lane (five are affordable) was built and sold out in one year as well. The typical buyer of these homes is a family of three with a moderate household income from Boulder employment. Toby’s Lane homes had the added bonus of being certified LEED Gold.

Toby's Lane Sets the Standard

Toby’s Lane homes, located near 55th and Arapahoe, received the Leed Gold certification for achievement in green homebuilding. LEED for Homes (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a third-party certification system for building and designing high-performance green homes which was developed and is administered by US Green Building Council.Toby Lane, Boulder, CO

Toby’s Lane homes are designed with features such as tankless water heaters, 90% efficient furnaces, double hung (Low-E) vinyl windows, state-of-the-art Icynene®foam and fiberglass batt insulation in the ceilings and walls. Additionally, all the homes are solar ready, with the necessary conduit for solar panels installed on the roof. Three homes already have 2.1 kW solar systems installed and functioning.

As well as being energy efficient, five of the eight homes at Toby’s Lane are permanently affordable through the City of Boulder’s deed-restricted program. Homeowners include two university employees, two government employees, and a non-profit director. Forty percent (two out of five) of the new affordable homeowners were Thistle renters before buying a home at Toby’s Lane.

Said Mary Duvall, Thistle CEO, “Working families with incomes of 70-110 percent of the Area Median Income ($53,750 to $88,770 for a family of three in 2012) now have the choice to live and work in Boulder. Our market rate homes at Toby’s Lane were the lowest-priced new construction in the City of Boulder and our next development at Yarmouth Way will feature the same pricing. Fifteen of the 25 homes at Yarmouth Way will be market rate.”
“While demand for traditional residential construction is slowing, the green housing market continues to grow and Toby’s Lane is a great example of why this is,” said Nate Kredich, Vice President, Residential Market Development, U.S. Green Building Council. “LEED certified homes are healthier places to live, produce lower utility bills, have better air quality, and leave a smaller environmental footprint behind.” To date, approximately 5,000 homes in the US have achieved certification with LEED for Homes program, and over 20,000 have registered and are in process.

Our Mission

The Mission of Thistle Communities is to create, manage and preserve quality, permanently affordable homes for working families, seniors and people with disabilities.

History of Thistle

A charitable non-profit, Thistle was created in 1989 to meet the need for affordable and accessible rental housing, serving 24 people with disabilities. Thistle expanded its mission to provide workforce rental housing, then became a developer in 1993. In 1996 homeowners purchased their first Community Land Trust homes. Thistle is now the largest private provider of permanently affordable homes in Boulder County. Since its founding, Thistle has created over 1,000 affordable homes and annually provides housing for over 1,700 residents and responds to over 2,000 requests for information and services.


Blue Vista received the 2007 Sustainability Award for Advancing Green Design and Planning from the Colorado Chapter of the American Planning Association; and the 2008 Green Development of the Year Award from the National Association of Home Builders

Board of Directors

Derrick Robinson, President, Robinson Capital Management
Joe Ballestrasse, Secretary/Treasurer, Community Banks of Colorado
Jonah Kinchy, Community Representative
Jerry Lee, Lee Real Estate
Jill Grano, Realtor
Tom Sundro, Thistle Homeowner
Lilly Wallace, former Thistle Homeowner


Mary Duvall, Chief Executive Officer
Elycia Boyer, Asset Manager
Rebecca Brite, Accounting Technician
Nikki Caulfield, Controller
Sally Moser, Marketing and Communications Director
Marguerite Ryback, Grant and Compliance Specialist
Mike McKenzie, CFO/Strategist
Marsha Samuelson, Staff Accountant
Juliet Hernandez, Front Desk

Jessica Kronfuss, Portfolio Operations Manager
Alma Rico, Finance and Compliance Specialist
Laura Chatman, Finance and Compliance Specialist
Barbara Green, Finance and Compliance Supervisor
Ciara Abbey, Leasing Specialist
Rachel Lowe, Leasing Specialist
Marni Tharler, Community Relations Manager
Andy Kadlec, Community Manager
Eli Dudok, Community Manager

Paul Goodman, Maintenance Manager
Karelia Rasmussen Maintenance Office Manager
Michelle Scott, Administrative Assistant
Paul Lembeck,Maintenance Tech
Mark O'Keefe, Maintenance Tech
Stevie O'Keefe, Lead Maintenance Tech
John Medina, Maintenance Tech
Dan McCall, Maintenance Tech
Chris Lavelle, Maintenance Tech
Robert Miranda, Maintenance Tech
Anand Parkin, Maintenance Tech
Jacob Lewien, Lead Groundskeeper
Dylan Brennan, Groundskeeper
Ericson Frick, Groundskeeper

Links & Partners

Boulder County Housing Authority
The Boulder County Housing Authority helps foster the availability of quality, affordable housing and related services for lower income residents of Boulder County.

Boulder Housing Partners
BHP manages properties with varying rent structures which allow BHP to offer rents based on family size, income and program.

City of Boulder Division of Housing
City of Boulder Division of Housing is committed to making a home in our community available to a variety of people – including those who find it difficult to purchase or rent a home in today’s housing market.

City of Longmont
The City of Longmont works together with Thistle on preserving affordable rentals and homeownership as well as educating home buyers.

Elevations Credit Union
Elevations is owned by its members and drive by the spirit of volunteerism in community involvement. Elevations meets the changing needs of its membership in a manner that is beneficial to the entire community.

Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Non-Violence
The Safehouse Emergency Shelter Program provides crisis intervention, safe shelter and advocacy for victims of interpersonal violence and their children. Help is available 24 hours a day through the crisis hotline.

Boulder Shelter for the Homeless
It is the mission of the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless to provide safe shelter, food, support services, and an avenue to self-sufficiency for homeless adults in our community

Colorado Division of Housing
An informative and extensive resource for home owners and renters.

Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA)
CHFA is a public agency working to finance affordable housing, business and economic growth opportunities for Colorado.

Enterprise Foundation
Helps to catalyze and link critical resources for affordable housing, economic development, employment and public safety initiatives.

Housing Helpers
Housing Helpers is a full service relocation company offering the largest source of houses, apartments and condos for sale and rent along Colorado’s Front Range.

Imagine! provides support services to more than 2,300 people of all ages with
developmental delays and cognitive disabilities

Center for People With Disabilities
CPWD provides resources, information, and advocacy to assist people with disabilities in overcoming barriers to independent living.

Employment Opportunities

Click here for available positions.




Thistle Communities on FacebookThistle Communities on TwitterEqual Housing Opportunity

Home | Ownership Homes | Quality Rentals | About Thistle | Contact Us

Copyright 2013 Thistle Communities. All Rights Reserved. • Terms & Privacy Policysitemap
Contact • Website by