Local governments, developers partner to provide rental units for Summit County workforce
FRISCO — Developers of various workforce housing projects are attempting to address the constant struggle of Summit County workers to find affordable housing.
Local projects like the Wellington Neighborhood, Peak One, Blue 52 and Smith Ranch have provided the county with deed-restricted housing, but not everyone is ready to buy a house. For those workers, new projects are focused on affordable housing that residents can rent instead of buy.
The Village at Wintergreen in Keystone is open to seasonal Vail Resorts employees and will continue to open more units to Summit County employees through the spring. The project, one of several recent efforts to mitigate the housing crisis in Summit County, will provide nearly 200 affordable housing units in Keystone.
The multibuilding development at 280 Antlers Gulch Road features community amenities like internet, laundry facilities, a playground and dog park, a community garden and bus services.
The project and associated affordable rental prices were developed through a collaboration between the Summit Board of County Commissioners, Vail Resorts and developer Gorman & Co. Representatives of the three groups gathered in December to discuss the development.
“With the housing crisis that we know has been happening and occurring for a number of years in Summit County, we’re delighted to be delivering a spectrum of workforce housing that meets people at different income ranges that are working here locally in Keystone and in Summit County,” Gorman & Co. Colorado President Kimball Crangle said.
The available workforce housing units are broken up into three categories: units that are rented based on low-income housing tax credits, units that are rent-capped based on area median income and units that are rented to Vail Resorts seasonal employees. Thirty-six units are master leased by Vail Resorts for seasonal employee housing. Another 40 one-, two- and three-bedroom units are income restricted by tax credits. The rents are broken down as follows:
- Rent for 30% area median income: $447 for a one-bedroom unit, $531 for a two-bedroom unit
- Rent for 50% area median income: $787 for a one-bedroom unit, $939 for a two-bedroom unit, $1,084 for a three-bedroom unit
- Rent for 60% area median income: $957 for a one-bedroom unit, $1,143 for a two-bedroom unit, $1,319 for a three-bedroom unit
The remaining 120 apartments include 31 one-bedroom and 89 two-bedroom units and are rent-capped at 100% of area median income. These units will start opening in early spring.
We’re “really working closely with Summit County to ensure that not only are these apartment homes available for the local workforce but that they remain affordable in perpetuity,” Crangle said. “A lot of times in the state of Colorado, people assume that rents cannot be capped, however we have found a way and an avenue to work collaboratively in a way that works with state Legislature laws to be able to provide a rent-capped lease.”
Summit County employees interested in the apartments can call 970-368-6390 and Vail Resorts seasonal employees can call 970-496-4790 or visit wintergreen-living.com.
Aside from assisting in the planning of the development, Summit County provided a $300,000 loan to help fund the project.
“I think that this is such a great collaboration, and it’s really the name of the game in that none of us can do this alone,” Summit County Commissioner Elisabeth Lawrence said. “We’ve provided a really great place for people in the Snake River Basin to live, work and play. It’s really a spectrum of housing for all types of individuals, whether it’s a studio or a three-bedroom unit for families. We’re really proud to get this open.”
Some Vail Resorts seasonal employees are living in the new apartments, which opened to employees in early December.
Another recently built workforce housing development is Moose Landing in Breckenridge, a collaboration by Breckenridge Grand Vacations, MK Development and the town of Breckenridge. Mike Dudick, owner of Breckenridge Grand Vacations, said he wanted to build the condos to give his employees a place to live that they didn’t have to buy.
While the Blue 52 housing project in Breckenridge created several workforce homes for sale, there aren’t as many workforce housing projects for rent aside from those built specifically for ski resort employees. Dudick wanted to create an entry point for his employees by allowing them to sign a standard one-year lease that is deed restricted or set at market rate.
“My profit in leasing this is having employees, not making money by renting condos,” Dudick said in September. “I like to be able to mitigate risk by controlling my own destiny from a business perspective.”
The housing project features 16 two-bedroom units that are set at market rate and 16 one-bedroom units that are deed restricted. The apartments are built for Breckenridge Grand Vacations employees, but units left empty can be leased to other county employees.
Looking ahead, the town of Breckenridge has partnered with Gorman & Co. to develop rentable workforce housing on the reclaimed McCain property, which is between Coyne Valley Road and the Fairview Boulevard roundabout in Breckenridge. The proposed project would take up four acres of the 128-acre property.
The developer’s proposal includes 80 one-, two- and three-bedroom reduced-rent apartments based on income level. Rent prices will be based on the area median income.
Of the 80 proposed apartments, four will be rented to tenants who make 30% of area median income, 17 will be rented at 50% of area median income, and 57 will be rented at 60% of area median income, though 16 of those will not have income testing requirements. There also will be two employee units on-site.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development calculates the area median income for a family of four in Summit County as $89,100. For a single person, that number is $62,400 on average.
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