ERIE - In the planning stages for 14 years, the 968-acre Colliers Hill master-planned community that will bring 2,700 new homes to Erie during the next decade is finally underway.

Major dirt work and infrastructure are being done, with an official groundbreaking on the first homes and the opening of sales offices coming in March.

Originally known as Bridgewater and then Daybreak, Colliers Hill sits along the north side of Erie Parkway, running roughly from Weld County Road 3 to County Road 5 on the east side of town.

In addition to a wide mix of homes ranging from condominiums to 5,000-square-foot single-family homes, the neighborhood will feature 40 percent community open space, including more than 20 miles of trails, a 40-acre community park and multiple seven-acre neighborhood parks. There also will be three community amenity centers for residents that will have exercise rooms, meeting rooms, swimming pools and event spaces.

Boulder-based Community Development Group - which was behind developments that include the Broadlands in Broomfield and Coal Creek in Louisville - has owned the Colliers Hill land for more than a decade.

"We've been working on this for a very long time," CDG chief executive Chuck Bellock said. "Colliers Hill is our largest undertaking to date and promises to be the most exciting community in the entire northwest metro region."

Builders Richmond American Homes and Shea Homes are both involved in the project. Bellock said a third builder, which he couldn't yet name, will be building semi-custom homes in the development.

The first phase of new homes will include 455 homes, ranging in price, Bellock said, from $275,000 to $675,000. As part of the redevelopment, County Road 3 will be revamped and renamed Colliers Boulevard from Erie Parkway north to Highway 52. The first phase of development will expand east and west from Colliers Boulevard.

A key aspect of Colliers Hill is the connectivity it provides. CDG also developed the Erie Commons neighborhood and commercial district that sits south of old town. Colliers Hill will provide pedestrian connectivity from both Erie Commons and old town all the way to Erie High School at the corner of County Road 5 and Erie Parkway.

Colliers Hill, which was delayed significantly by the recent recession, includes a site for a planned elementary school, but no commercial development of its own. Town officials, however, are expecting the neighborhood to have a major impact on future commercial development in town.

The Erie Highlands development just south of Colliers Hill is set to begin this year and bring 922 homes with it. Flatiron Meadows, an 875-unit development, is already underway on the west side of Erie.

Those developments will add to the 7,138 homes in the town currently. Erie, which has a population of 21,500, is expected to grow by 7,000 or more residents just through the addition of Colliers Hill.

"I think Colliers Hill will be viewed by the retailers that we're already trying to attract as a positive," said Fred Diehl, assistant to the town administrator in Erie. "And that will help seal the deal on Erie as their next choice to do business."

Diehl said there are six sites in town that town officials have promoted as key retail sites. The rapid addition of homes will only make those more attractive. Diehl said Erie budgeted for 138 building permits in 2013 but ended the year with 247. The town is budgeting for 300 permits this year as it heads toward an eventual build-out population of 40,000 residents.

"Our demographic is irresistible for these retailers we've been working with the last couple of years," Diehl said.