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About Thistle


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, are the only homes built in Boulder to receive 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 Roosevelt, 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) 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, providing quality housing for over 3,000 residents and responding to over 4,000 requests for information and services annually.


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
Fred Marienthal, Vice President, Kutak Rock
Joe Ballestrasse, Secretary/Treasurer, First National Bank of Colorado
Jerry Lee, Lee Real Estate
Kyle Littman, Thistle Homeowner
Susan Osbourne, Thistle Renter
Pat Sterner, JFB Associates
Lilly Wallace, Thistle Homeowner


Mary Duvall, Chief Executive Officer
Rebecca Brite, Accounting Technician
Nikki Caulfield, Senior Accountant
Mike Coulter, Director of Capital Improvements
Denise Huxford, Human Resources and Operations Manager
Alesia Martin, CPA - Director Of Finance/CFO
Maureen Malone, Administrative Assistant
Sally Moser, Marketing and Communications Director
Marguerite Ryback, Grant and Compliance Specialist
Marsha Samuelson, Staff Accountant

Jessica Kronfuss, Longmont and Portfolio Operations Manager
Alma Rico, Longmont Leasing Agent
Barbara Green, Finance and Compliance Specialist
Marni Tharler, Community Relations Manager
Aschley Baldwin, Boulder Front Desk

Tom Peeples, Maintenance Director
Paul Goodman, Maintenance Supervisor
Michael Zehfuss, Lead Maintenance Tech
Karelia Rasmussen Maintenance Admin Assistant
Frank Brown, Maintenance Tech
Gary Trujillo, Maintenance Tech
Jose Hernandez-Mota, Maintenance Tech
Mark O'Keefe, Maintenance Tech
Stevie O'Keefe , Maintenance Tech
Justin Radebaugh, Maintenance Tech
Lawrence Roper, Groundkeeper
Aaron Grant, 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
Partners with Thistle on the Alliance for the American Dream Campaign. 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.




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