Frisco’s Basecamp Center set to add 18 affordable housing units as wait list opens | SummitDaily.com

Frisco’s Basecamp Center set to add 18 affordable housing units as wait list opens

View from the site of a planned workforce-housing condo development in Frisco's Basecamp Center.

The waitlist for 18 workforce-housing condos at Frisco's Basecamp shopping center opened on Thursday morning, with the first six units projected to be move-in ready by early 2018.

Billed as "micro-condominiums," the one-bedroom units are expected to be priced between the mid-$200,000s and low $300,000s. The project will consist of 25 total condos, but 18 will be reserved for people working at least 30 hours a week year-round in Summit County.

The development, set to also include ground-level space for small businesses and a 13,000-square-foot showroom for Pinnacle Homes, will be the final stage of building at Basecamp, which began in 2014 with the opening of a Whole Foods.

That came after the town's controversial sale of the Basecamp parcel to developer David O'Neill for roughly $2 million below appraisal value in 2013, a move council members defended in part by pointing to Whole Foods' brand and their desire to ensure the grocery chain opened a location there.

Since then O'Neil and his company, Brynn Grey Partners, have rounded out the area by adding retail stores, a restaurant, brewery and office space.

The addition of the residential units is a pivot from the company's original plan to add more retail space at the complex's fifth build site, which was nearly home to an REI until the outdoor retailer opted instead for a location in Dillon.

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O'Neil said the change is in line with shifting consumer habits, particularly among the highly sought-after millennial demographic.

"Millennials are more experience-oriented, so instead of putting in another 25,000 square feet of retail, we decided to mix it up and do something different," he said.

That strategy is reflected the early marketing materials for the Basecamp Shops and Residences, touting the project as the country's "highest transit-oriented development," just steps away from the Frisco Transfer Station and the many outdoor amenities Summit County has to offer — not to mention Basecamp's shops and restaurants.

It will be the latest in Brynn Grey's string of affordable housing projects in the county, including the Wellington neighborhood in Breckenridge and Peak One in Frisco, an award-winning development of 70 single-family homes for local workers.

Affordable housing is far less profitable for developers than the luxury and second-home markets, but O'Neil said his company sees value in building communities where the lights stay on year-round.

At Basecamp in particular, he said, it makes good business sense, maximizing foot traffic for businesses year-round.

"We want the place to be lively, and having residents there brings that life," O'Neil said. "Having that second level empty except during peak season wouldn't be ideal."

Building workforce housing carries another benefit as well, encouraging local governments to pitch in on projects that would otherwise be financially infeasible; in Peak One, for instance, the town of Frisco provided the land free of charge.

During a meeting on Tuesday night, the town council voted unanimously to help out the Basecamp project in a more indirect way, agreeing to subordinate the project's deed restrictions to prospective lenders.

That doesn't leave the town financially exposed, O'Neil says, but it will help Brynn Grey secure construction financing by allowing a bank to effectively lend against market-rate units. If the project tanks, the town would lose the deed restrictions but not necessarily any money, O'Neil said.

If all goes according to plan, Brynn Grey hopes to have shovels in the ground as soon as next month. The company is still ironing out architectural details, but people who pay a refundable $250 down payment to join the waiting list will have the opportunity to participate in design focus groups. They will also receive deal kits containing finish selections, legal documents and contracts before the units hit the market.

More information and the waitlist registration page can be found at Basecamp-Frisco.com/basecamp-shops-residences.

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