Developer unveils concepts for proposed housing partnership with Frisco
FRISCO — Developers unveiled initial concepts for a potential public/private housing partnership with the town of Frisco on Wednesday afternoon, a cooperative effort that could bring up to 100 new housing units to town if an agreement is reached.
Dozens of community members gathered inside the First and Main Building to view concepts for new housing opportunities on Granite Street. The concepts were put together by Norris Design and Brynn Grey on behalf of local developer Nathan Glassman, who owns an empty plot on Granite Street between Second and Third avenues. He approached town officials last year to pitch a partnership, hoping to take advantage of a pair of town-owned lots nearby.
“The thought is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” Glassman said. “I think that together we can have a greater impact on the needs of this community. The last time we held a meeting, 100% of the people who came said housing is a great need in Frisco. We know we can do way more together.”
The proposal includes possible development on three lots, including the Glassman lot, the adjacent town-owned Sabatini lot and another lot at 113 Granite St. just across Second Avenue.
The main development would be on the Glassman-Sabatini site, where developers tentatively have proposed a four-story building complete with 20 market-rate units (39 bedrooms) and 12 workforce units (21 bedrooms). The building also would be complete with an underground parking structure that could hold up to 111 spaces, a 60-space ground-level parking structure for residents and an additional 29 spaces on the street.
According to Glassman, all of the units at the main site would be for sale with the hope that residents moving into the development would stick around long term and help to foster a sense of community.
“That tends to happen more with for-sale units because people are living there longer,” Glassman said. “You get to know each other, get to know each other’s kids. That’s where there’s a lot of emphasis on the design and creating those community spaces. We’ve got big courtyards in between. We’ve got hardscape on either side, so you have public spaces to look out to the view.”
Glassman also said he hopes the extended parking options would help to make a difference throughout the entire area, facilitating overflow from the 113 Granite St. site among other nearby businesses.
“That’s the magic here,” Glassman said. “We can actually free up other sites because there’s no longer a need for additional parking there.”
Two separate concepts were presented for the 113 Granite St. site, both of which were proposed as affordable workforce rental properties. The first would feature a two-story building with 10 four-bedroom units for a total of 40 bedrooms. The second would include a three-story building with 24 one-bedroom units.
Glassman noted that his vision for the 113 Granite St. units was to either rent out the units directly or sell them to local businesses that could in turn rent them to their employees. Regardless of how things shake out, he said they’ll be affordable for the town’s workforce, likely restricted to around 60% of area median income or lower.
Based on the initial concepts, both buildings would feature net-zero, all-electric designs along with solar-ready roof panels and Frisco’s traditional mountain aesthetic.
It’s unclear whether town officials will decide to move forward with the partnership or what exactly a partnership would look like. Town Manager Nancy Kerry said the next step would be receiving a formal proposal from developers and entering into a memorandum of understanding to continue with the project. Before any decisions are made by the Town Council, Kerry said there would be a detailed cost-benefit analysis.
“As soon as we get a clear proposal, we’ll analyze it to see what the benefit is to the town,” Kerry said. “How much housing money are we putting in, and how many units will we get for the workforce? … If the council is willing to contribute land, the public has the right to the fair-market value. So we’d want to get it appraised, figure out what that really is and then decide what the town and public get for it. We’d expect some number of workforce housing units dedicated for public use, either through deed restrictions or what have you.”
Glassman said that even if an agreement with the town can’t be reached, he still would move forward with some sort of housing project on his plot. Similarly, Kerry said the town was dedicated to pursuing more housing options with or without the Glassman site.
“The council has said their No. 1 top priority is housing, period,” Kerry said.
Developers will take into account the new community input from the meeting and are expected to send the town a formal proposal in the next week or two. For now, community members seem tentatively optimistic that an agreement can be reached.
“I like the idea of more housing and more workforce housing,” local resident Cindy McGuire said. “I’m a little concerned about workforce and private housing in the same building … and I don’t particularly want it to loom over the Historic Park. But I am generally supportive.”
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