Silverthorne construction projects include several workforce housing developments

Vehicles wait in line to turn left onto the westbound Interstate 70 on-ramp Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021 in Silverthorne.
Nicole Miller/Summit Daily News archive

As communities across Summit County look to expand access to housing, Silverthorne has several unit developments currently in construction in town that will bring dozens of housing units to the town — both for sale at market prices and ones aimed to house the local workforce.

“We’re excited to bring a workforce product right into the heart of the downtown, a block away from the Transit Center, walkable to all of those amenities,” town manager Ryan Hyland said. “It’s actually a really short walk to the library, as well.” 

The town keeps a list on its website for development currently in planning stages and ones that are in construction. In Silverthorne, there are currently 15 construction projects happening, and a majority of them are multi-unit housing developments, with both private and deed-restricted units. Others are improvements to private businesses, and some include housing units for employees of those businesses. 

In the planning stage, there are several more housing unit developments, and all of those are private. One that is currently not listed is the expansion to the Smith Ranch neighborhood, which is in the planning stages but has not been formally presented to the town’s planning commission, Hyland said.

As part of the expansion, the new portion will have for-rent units designated for the workforce. Of those units, 70 are aimed at people earning 80% to 120% of the area median income to target middle-class members of the workforce. In another building there will be another 65 that are priced at 30% to 60% of the area median income, said Hyland. On the 10-acre site, housing will be to the west and commercial areas to the east. The commercial site is expected to eventually house a large commercial grocery store. 

“We know that — particularly with all the rooftops that are coming in this area, including Smith Ranch — it’s only a matter of time before we will have a grocer that’s interested in that site,” Hyland added. “It just takes a while.”

According to the town’s strategic housing plan, the town has a goal of taking steps to further protect year-round housing for locals, and rising home prices and other factors like short-term rentals have changed the landscape as it relates to long-term housing in the community.

“From 2020 to 2021 alone, Silverthorne’s real estate values increased 14%, and since 2008 the average price of a single-family home increased 68%, from approximately $770,000 to approximately $1.3 million in 2021,” the plan reads. “Multifamily homes have increased in number and value in the same time frame, with the average price in 2008 around $450,000 vs. $792,000 in 2021, an increase of 76%.”

In addition to Smith Ranch, current construction for the Fourth Street North development will also include over 100 units of workforce housing. Of the 132 units, 79 of those are deed-restricted in perpetuity to be a rental that can’t charge more than 60% of the area median income. For a studio, current rental rates for a one-person household making 60% of the area median income — or $43,980 annually — is $1,099.50 per month. 

Hyland says the town has taken advantage of their partnership with Milender White Development and funds from Summit Combined Housing Authority Referred Measure 5A, which voters approved an extension of in November 2021.

“That is a significant one that we are partnering with a developer on. We’re using 5A funds to secure workforce in that particular development,” Hyland added. “What that one looks like is there are two, three and four bedroom configurations. Across all of those configurations, a total of 132 bedrooms, and every one of those bedrooms is required to be available only to the workforce, so the usual 30 hours or more a week in working in the county.”

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