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Silverthorne eyes commercial portion of Smith Ranch workforce housing development

The Smith Ranch neighborhood in Silverthorne is pictured Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021. Silverthorne leadership is looking to begin the second phase of the development, which is the commercial phase.
Lindsey Toomer/Summit Daily News archive

Silverthorne leadership is positioning itself to begin the second phase of Smith Ranch, the town’s workforce housing aimed at lower to middle income families. 

This second phase is the commercial phase that town staff planned to go along with the first phase of the development. This is not to be confused with the other Smith Ranch Phase Two, which was the additional 37 homes that were added to the first phase’s 60 homes. In the first portion of Smith Ranch, there were five phases of for-sale homes. Town staff said on Wednesday that they will look for another name to use to ease some of the confusion. 

The units will be built by Gorman and Co., a developer that has significant experience building affordable housing in the county, including Alta Verde in Breckenridge and the Wintergreen apartments in Keystone. 



“As you know, the Smith Ranch neighborhood is nearing completion for the for-sale portion of the product,” assistant town manager Mike Leidal said. “We’re moving on to Phase 2, which is the commercial portion of the site which is closer to (Colorado) Highway 9. We did send out a request-for-proposal back on March 9, to bring forward or to ask for a developer to come in and help us out with a rental product that we would like to see on that portion of the site. This is all workforce housing, but this would be the rental component.”

The project will be a public-private partnership. For the town’s portion, Silverthorne will pay $25,000 per unit — 75% due at the time of construction commencement and the remaining 25% at the halfway mark for completion of the project. The town will also pay for all water and sewer tap fees, and all of the units will be deed restricted. Priority leasing will go to employees of the town. 



Current plans expect approximately 65-80 units to be aimed as “affordable units,” or designated for those around 60% of the area median income. Another 65-80 will be for “workforce housing units,” or households that make 80% to 120% of the area median income. Kimball Crangle, Colorado market president for Gorman & Co., said that these units will address the “missing middle,” or the group that makes too much for housing designated as affordable for lower incomes but also does not make enough to buy a home on the competitive market. 

“In Summit County, for example, 60% of area median income is somebody that’s earning just under $44,000 a year,” Crangle said. “That’s a $20 or $21 an hour, full-time job. (This) is what we’re seeing in a lot of newer job postings for folks that are in other service sectors for entry level jobs, or just working in jobs that quite honestly should be paid more but are not paid more — teachers (and) starting wages for different governmental service jobs like police officers or firefighters. A two-person household would make about $50,000 at a 60% of AMI or less. What we’re finding in Summit County, and honestly throughout the rural resort communities in Colorado and obviously along the Front Range, as well, is that price points have increased dramatically.”

Crangle said if someone’s pay were to increase and a household’s family no longer fits in the under 60% area median income range, they would not immediately lose their home. There is a recertification process that occurs where families would reapply for a different unit, and Crangle said that is why Gorman & Co. wants to create a spectrum of housing for a range of incomes. 

“I always say we’re in the business of housing people, not kicking people out of housing,” she said. 


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