Dillon Ridge Vista apartments to include 50 percent workforce housing units as part of town’s affordable housing push | SummitDaily.com

Dillon Ridge Vista apartments to include 50 percent workforce housing units as part of town’s affordable housing push

An apartment complex being built near the Dillon Ridge Marketplace shopping center, Dillon Ridge Vista Apartments, will reserve half of its 36 units for local workers, per a restrictive covenant approved by the Dillon Town Council last week.

The deal, negotiated concurrently with the recently approved Dillon Flats Condominiums, is part of a recent push by the town council to spur development while also alleviating Summit County's housing crisis.

Dillon Ridge Vista and both phases of Dillon Flats will add a combined 84 residential units, 30 of them available only to people at certain income levels who work at least 30 hours per week year-round in Summit County.

Local developer Tim Crane and his partner, Scott Downen, negotiated the deals with the town. He said that while the two deals were separate, the Dillon Flats project is allowing him to offset the revenues lost from making Dillon Ridge 50 percent workforce housing, a high ratio for a private development.

"It doesn't necessarily stand on its own," he said, referring to the Dillon Ridge project.

Through the two deals, the Dillon Town Council will be delivering on part of its goal of adding 139 year-round locals' housing over the next 10 years.

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"We're really proud of the progress we've made on our goals for workforce housing and also contributing to a healthy mix of ownership models," Dillon spokeswoman Kerstin Anderson said.

The goal is part of a strategy the council developed at a recent housing retreat. There, its members resolved to shift Dillon from a predominantly second-home owner town to one with more locals. Officials hope that could in turn drive development in the sleepy core area, which generally attracts interest from low-rent businesses and suffers from blighted old buildings.

Currently, Dillon has a 70:30 ratio of second-home owners to year-round residents. At its retreat, the council set a goal of bringing that ratio down to 60:40.

The council saw Dillon Flats as a tip-of-the-spear project on that front, located in the core area and set to become the first new construction there in two decades. The project was unanimously approved in August over objections from homeowners, who were concerned with its large size.

Dillon Ridge Vista, meanwhile, is perched atop the Dillon Ridge Marketplace across Highway 6. The area has mostly attracted commercial development since it was established in the 1990s, and Dillon Ridge Vista marks a possible shift to fully residential projects on the area's remaining undeveloped tracts.

"Right now, commercial is a tough sell, and that's not a very good site for commercial," Crane said. "I look at this as a kind of transitional area between the townhomes at Lookout Ridge and the straight commercial of the marketplace."

Crane owns several of the other lots that remain undeveloped on the Dillon Ridge tract, but he said it was too early to tell how those might be developed.

If Dillon Ridge Vista proves to be a bellwether, however, the area above Highway 6 adjacent to many restaurants and shops could become an attractive housing hub for local workers.

"Dillon Ridge has undergone a couple different development modes based on council's preferences at the time and market forces," Anderson said. "When they looked at the workforce housing need and the history of development there, the council felt this would make a nice transition to full residential."

The restrictive covenant on the complex is the first of its kind that the town has negotiated. Under it, half of the complex's two-bedroom residences can't be leased for higher than the area median income set by the Summit Combined Housing Authority, currently $1,980 per month for two people.

Crane and his partners in turn got approval to build a 100 percent residential building, something that was precluded by building regulations covering the Dillon Ridge area.

The project will be broken into three different buildings with views of the Tenmile and Gore ranges. It will be located along the north side of Lookout Ridge Road between Skyline Cinemas and the Lookout Ridge Townhomes.

In documents presented to town officials, Crane's company said there would be no short-term rentals at the complex, with leases set for a minimum of six months.

Construction on the project has already begun and is expected to be completed by next summer.