Breckenridge backs off Breck365, a project featuring 100-plus apartments on the Block 11 property
Breckenridge has pulled away from the town’s next workforce housing project after estimated construction costs came in significantly higher than anticipated.
Eying a modular-construction method in which individual apartments would have been built in a factory off-site, hauled to Breckenridge and then put together on the property almost like Legos, town staff got their first estimates for the Breck365 apartments on Feb. 26.
Unfortunately, at $36 million the figure was simply “a non-starter,” said senior planner Laurie Best.
Breck365 was envisioned as the next phase of workforce housing in the town gripped by a housing crisis. The land on which it would have been built sits on the Block 11 property, north of downtown and just south of another workforce housing neighborhood, the Blue 52 townhomes.
Breck365 called for just over 100 rental apartments with a mix of studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom units inside 11 buildings on the 5-acre plot. Initially, it was pegged as a $25 million project.
That forecast price tag had crept up to $28 million when the town received the last estimate featuring a traditional construction before council members and town staff considered taking on the project using a modular-construction method.
After touring a production facility in Boise, Idaho, late last year, town officials had hoped to save money and valuable construction time by going modular. As it turned out, though, the lowest estimate Breckenridge could get was $36 million all-in, Best said.
“It was disappointing, but we did learn a lot about the modular process, when it works and when it doesn’t work,” she told town council last week, explaining that modular construction might work better with something like a hotel, which doesn’t have so many architectural features.
Even though the town won’t move forward with its plans for Breck365 at this point, Best said over the phone Monday that Breckenridge has not abandoned workforce housing on the Block 11 property.
In fact, town staff are revisiting the project and pivoting back to a traditional-construction method, Best said. However, with the shifting construction method, some components of the project could change as well.
For example, Best said she could see Breckenridge reducing the project’s density and bringing in a new mix of housing types, including some for-sale units, as opposed to strictly apartment rentals.
Realizing the size of the project was driving the cost, the town could look to bite off smaller projects and fill in Block 11 piecemeal, she added. Most importantly, Breckenridge is committed to “building a community” on Block 11, Best said.
During last week’s discussions about Breck365, council expressed some concerns with the pace of the project and unit types. Additionally, Councilwoman Erin Gigliello said she would like to have a community forum and hear what residents feel like Breckenridge’s biggest housing needs actually are. There was also some talk about breaking up the architectural style compared to Blue52.
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