Silverthorne council clears remaining hurdles for Smith Ranch income-based apartments

Council approves millions in loans to developer Gorman & Co. for 135-unit build, which is planned to break ground in May.

The Smith Ranch neighborhood in Silverthorne is pictured Jan. 27, 2022. Silverthorne Town Council recently cleared the final hurdles needed to approve a 135-unit affordable and workforce housing complex at the site.
Ashley Low/Summit Daily News archive

The Silverthorne Town Council, during a March 22 meeting, approved the last steps needed to pave the way for a 135-unit income-capped apartment complex set to break ground in May. 

The units, set to be built in the Smith Ranch neighborhood, could be completed by early 2025 and will be capped for residents making between 30 and 120% of the area median income. According to 2022 figures from the Summit Combined Housing Authority, that translates to an income range of $21,990 to $87,960.

Council members approved two separate loans, one for $1.75 million for 75 units ranging between 80 and 120% of the area median income, and another for $1.62 million for 65 units running between 30 and 60% of the area median income. The loans, which will be paid back in installments over the coming years, will go to developer Gorman & Co., which also led the Village at Wintergreen apartments in Keystone and the Alta Verde development in Breckenridge, both of which were affordable housing projects. 

The council also approved a 75-year lease agreement to own the land with the option to renew for an additional 75 years. 

“These are a lot of formalities to make sure we have everything buttoned-up and handled,” said Silverthorne Mayor Ann-Marie Sandquist. “But this is a big, exciting project for us for housing.”

The council vote caps a more than a yearlong effort to secure more affordable and workforce housing for the town after council members and developers negotiated on designs and function. The development, which includes one-, two– and three-bedroom units, will be separated into three separate buildings. The total project cost is estimated to be $61 million. 

Gorman had agreed to several revisions to win the council’s approval — both practical and aesthetic. For example, more greenery was added to street edges and further areas for snow storage have been identified. Design elements, such as the buildings’ roofs, canopies and entranceways, have been further accentuated. 

The developer also hit a major milestone in November when it received federal tax credits in partnership with the town that would go toward supporting the project’s lowest-income units. Officials said it was that funding that helped make the lower-income portion of the project possible.

“Finding ways to deliver affordable housing takes a lot of partnership and creativity,” Gorman & Co. President Kimball Crangle said at the time, adding, the funding “means we get to take that funding to keep rent at affordable levels, below 60% of area median income.”

The project comes amid a backdrop of ongoing affordable developments across the county, including new phases for both Wintergreen and Alta Verde as well as an unprecedented plan to lease U.S. Forest Service land to the county government to build dozens of income-based units. 

For Silverthorne’s council, the Smith Ranch apartment project represents a crucial step in the ongoing efforts of local officials to address the affordability crisis. 

“I think we’re all looking forward to getting it off the ground,” Sandquist said. 

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