Frisco affordable housing project requesting a change that could mean more units, at the loss of other amenities

The amendment comes after the national nonprofit the Frisco Town Council has agreed to work with determined modular construction would be too expensive

Town of Frisco/Courtesy illustration
A rendering included in planning documents shows a 54-unit affordable housing structure proposed for 602 Galena Street. The Frisco Town Council on Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2023, vote to amend a development agreement related to this structure.
Town of Frisco/Courtesy illustration

The Frisco Town Council is working to amend a development agreement to allow plans for a major affordable housing project at 602 Galena St. to move forward.

Originally planned to include office space for the Colorado Workforce Center, town council members had also discussed the potential for a day care center at the site of the housing development.

But the amendment the council approved unanimously on first reading Tuesday, Aug. 8, would nix the office and day care spaces while slightly increasing the number of residential units. The changes come after The NHP Foundation, the national nonprofit the town has teamed up with, found a modular-type build would be too expensive.

“Through the process of investigating different types of ways to build the building, modular is no longer an option because of price and so they’re relooking at a stick-built building that actually gains more units,” Town Manager Tom Fisher said.

The Frisco Planning Commission is scheduled to begin reviewing a Major Site Plan application for the three-story structure on Thursday, Aug. 17. With 21 studio apartments, 21 one-bedroom apartments and 12 two-bedroom apartments, the proposed 54-unit affordable housing project includes about six to eight more units than anticipated in the modular build but loses about 3,000 square feet of commercial space.

In addition to the 602 Galena St. project, the development agreement also encompasses another project at 101 W. Main St., which the town plans to eventually complete with The NHP Foundation. The two projects are expected to result in a total of almost 100 affordable housing units with varying levels of income restrictions, from 30% to 120% of the area median income.

As part of the development agreement, The NHP Foundation would seek a $2.5 million loan from the town to help the nonprofit purchase 101 W. Main St., according to documents presented to the town council.

Town Attorney Thad Renaud has previously said that the town could realistically expect only about $500,000 of the loan to be repaid, essentially meaning the town would be making a $2 million “grant” to the developer. Frisco would also grant a 65-year ground lease of the 602 Galena St. property to The NHP Foundation for the project.

Ryan Spencer/Summit Daily
The Colorado Workforce Center building at 602 Galena St. is pictured on Friday, Aug. 11, 2023.
Ryan Spencer/Summit Daily

Frisco, with assistance from the Summit County government, purchased the Galena Street property last year for about $2.5 million. That transaction included an agreement that the town of Frisco help secure a new location for the Colorado Workforce Center currently located at the site.

With the amendment to the development agreement with The NHP Foundation, the town envisions fulfilling the obligation to the Colorado Workforce Center with the 101 W. Main St. property. The existing structure on the 0.72-acre lot dates to 1984.

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Still, that leaves the town without the space for the day care center that had originally been envisioned. While the possible day care space had initially excited many council members, Frisco Mayor Hunter Mortensen found a silver lining in the adjustment, given that the local preschool is already understaffed due to employee housing issues.

“So maybe I’m trying to justify trying to give up some of this, that I don’t feel 100% comfortable with,” Mortensen said. “But maybe this does close that housing gap to get more folks that can be faculty at a preschool.”

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