Town Council gives Breckenridge Grand Vacations green light to move forward with workforce housing project
Plan includes 60 to 70 studios that are about 400 square feet each
Breckenridge Grand Vacations is pursuing a potential workforce housing building on the Entrada parcel, which is just north of Summit County Road 450, also called Huron Road, across from the 7-Eleven just outside of Breckenridge.
CEO Mike Dudick brought the project to the Breckenridge Town Council work session Tuesday, Jan. 25, to gather their thoughts prior to pursuing any development agreements or formal processes.
The parcel is owned by Marty Getz in unincorporated Summit County, and the original plan was for Getz to build a commercial property and eventually annex it into the town of Breckenridge. Since a pre-annexation agreement was approved by the town in January 2021, Dudick entered into conversations with Getz about acquiring the land for employee housing.
Dudick said Getz has given his company permission to discuss the project with the town and county, and county staff are also supportive of the intent to build employee housing.
The proposed project has no relation to the Grand Vacations development on the North Gondola Lot in Breckenridge, rather Dudick saw it as an opportunity to help address the future employee housing needs of his company. He said he has already worked to find opportunities to fulfill his workforce housing obligations for the gondola lot development elsewhere.
“This was never a play to create housing to offset the gondola (lot development) for the future,” Dudick said. “We think that we can largely meet our obligation for deed restrictions vis-a-vis the Moose Landing Apartments for the gondola lots without using this building at all.”
The plan is to build between 60 and 70 studios that are about 400 square feet each, and every unit would be deed restricted for the local workforce. In speaking with his company’s human resources department, Dudick said they believe adults are most comfortable in their own space, making affordable studios ideal as opposed to larger, two-bedroom apartments.
“We’re very confident that we can provide for entry-level people … that are making less than $20 an hour,” Dudick said. “We think that the 400-square-foot apartment is a great place to get a toehold in our community for the first year or two and see if you can make it, see if you can figure out a way to live here beyond that.”
Dudick said he does not want to base the covenant’s deed restriction on area median income because of how much it fluctuates. Rather, he wants the base price to be around $1,000 per month, or $2.50 per square foot, depending on the unit’s size. He said this will be the best option to accommodate the entry-level workers that Dudick said his business so desperately needs.
Council member Carol Saade asked whether he would consider requiring renters to work in the Breckenridge area, and Dudick said he’s open to any suggestions council has for the deed restrictions as long as they make sense to help employees who make $20 or less hourly. Dudick said he would also consider selling units to other employers in town if it comes to it, saying he wants to be a good community player and because it’s a “weird social experiment” to have everyone with a company living and working together.
“I think the community needs housing today, and if we do this right, we can be in the ground this fall delivering more workforce housing units,” Dudick said.
Council member Kelly Owens said she agrees with the idea of having just studios, and she is grateful Dudick decided to deed restrict all of the units up front. She also joked that if he only brings workforce housing developments to council, then they will always be on board.
“I really appreciate you bringing a big employee housing project like this to us, and it’s exciting to get a partnership going,” Owens said. “We are in a housing crisis, and we need these right away, and to be hitting this more than just from the town of Breck is a great proposal.”
Several council members had concerns regarding impacts on traffic in the area, as the intersection of Huron Road and Colorado Highway 9 can get busy, and the Summit Stage stop in the same area could need adjustment with the development, so they asked whether this could be further researched. Some council members also asked Dudick if he would consider 3% annual rental rate increases as opposed to 4%.
Overall, the council was excited about the prospect of more workforce housing and gave Dudick the green light he was looking for. This means they will move forward into the planning process and create a development agreement. Dudick said his goal is to break ground in the fall and have the units available for the 2022-23 ski season.
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