Breckenridge affordable housing project Huron Landing inches ahead
The Huron Landing workforce housing project in Breckenridge, on County Road 450 near the 7-Eleven, continues to take steps forward.
The 1.7-acre property, which Summit County has owned since the 1960s, was annexed by Breckenridge this past December after the land parcel was identified as a potential housing site during the 2010 Upper Blue master plan update. Some of the county’s Road & Bridge and ambulance operations, as well as sheriff’s office storage and a community recycling drop-off center, have occupied the space but have transitioned to new locations to make way for approaching construction.
The recycling center is the last enterprise to relocate, and that becomes official at noon on Tuesday, Jan. 26, when a new site off Coyne Valley Road that the county began building last fall opens. The last day for residents to drop off recyclable items such as mixed paper, glass and plastic bottles, batteries and more at the current location is Monday at 4 p.m., when it ceases operations.
“One of the great things about the site is that water and sewer are already there,” Don Reimer, county senior planner, explained of Huron Landing. “The road is right there, too, and there’s not going to be significant impact on 450. Other than tying into utilities, residents shouldn’t be greatly affected on a day-to-day basis except for maybe a minor disruption.”
Groundbreaking on the estimated $8.5-million, 26-unit complex is anticipated June 1, starting with excavation and infrastructural assembly. The current target date for finishing the project is August 2017, with leasing details for long-term local employees — rather than seasonal workers — available in the build up to its completion.
The 50-50 intergovernmental agreement between the county and Breckenridge means each will share the burden of cost, as well as the benefits of its eventual revenues, with day-to-day operations handled by a private property management company. The county provided the land, so Breckenridge offered up the space for the relocation of the recycling center and Road and Bridge department facility. In addition, the county will take care of sewer taps and inspection fees, while Breckenridge covers water taps.
The pact also allocates two units to each the county and the town — four apartments total — for transitional employee housing while a more permanent situation is found for those taking a job with either. The other 22 residences will be split down the middle between employees working throughout the county, and those who hold jobs specifically in Breckenridge.
Each apartment will be a two-bedroom unit — some with two bathrooms, some with one — with a stacked, in-unit washer and dryer and adjacent stairwell storage. Every unit will also come with two parking spaces, 52 in all, with a rental rate based on 80 percent of the area’s median income (AMI), which projects to put cost at roughly $1,500 a month including utilities.
GE Johnson Construction Company was selected as the general contractor for the housing venture, which will include a three-story north building with 17 units, and a two-story westerly building with nine units. Local firms Matthew Stais Architects (architecture), Norris Design (landscaping) and Civil Insight (engineering) are each lending their respective services to the project.
In 2013, the county — in conjunction with the towns of Breckenridge, Dillon, Frisco and Silverthorne — commissioned a housing-needs assessment, the results of which showed that in just the Upper Blue River Basin between 200 and 370 rental units would be needed by 2017 to meet demand, in addition to 280 ownership units. The town of Breckenridge has been active in trying to reach those goal numbers since.
Still, even with an estimated $40 million committed over the next three years to four affordable housing projects, one of which is Huron Landing, Breckenridge will fall short by between 70 and 240 rental units per the 2013 Housing Needs Assessment target, and 200 ownership units following completion of two private projects. Officials see Huron Landing as a start toward satisfying employee housing needs, however, and that development, years in the making, shifts one measure closer to realization with the relocation of the recycling center.
“This move is the last piece of the puzzle in creating space for the Huron Landing project,” County Commissioner Thomas Davidson said in a release. “Summit County and the town of Breckenridge have been working together for several years to make this much-needed workforce housing project a reality.”
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