Summit County breaks ground on the Wintergreen workforce housing development | SummitDaily.com

Summit County breaks ground on the Wintergreen workforce housing development

The Village of Wintergreen in Keystone's affordable-housing development broke ground Wednesday morning with public officials and business leaders coming together to celebrate a partnership that made the project a reality. When finished, Wintergreen will add much needed units to Summit County's affordable-, workforce- and rental-housing inventory.

Attending the event were county officials, as well as representatives from Vail Resorts, Gorman & Company, the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority and other affiliated financial and logistical partners.

Wintergreen will eventually have 196 units, with 36 units devoted to low-income housing for families making 30 to 60 percent of the Area Median Income, 40 units leased to Vail Resorts for seasonal-worker housing, and the rest of the 120 units as rental units with rent capped at 100 percent of AMI. Wintergreen will have amenities available in other condo developments, including play areas, transit connections, recreational opportunities and even a community dog park.

Vail Resorts, the landowner, partnered with residential construction firm Gorman & Company to lease the land and build the development, while the county provided a $300,000 loan and worked with CHFA to bring in the state and federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit funding necessary to get the project to the $15 million funding goal. Residents applying for workforce housing will need to work at least 30 hours a week in the county to qualify.

Gorman's Colorado Market president Kimball Crangle said that the low-income and seasonal units are expected to be delivered in fall 2019, with the other 120 units finishing in the next phase at a later date. Crangle added that the Wintergreen development as a whole offers a "spectrum of affordability" for people working in Summit.

"Knowing the scarcity of housing in Summit County, we are very honored to be working on the project," Crangle said. "We deeply appreciate our relationships with Vail Resorts and Summit County, and we're really excited to get building."

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Geoff Buccheister, vice president and general manager of Keystone Resort, said that Vail Resorts recognized the need for housing for its employees and the community as a whole. Wintergreen will be located 2 miles from Keystone Resort, and the land lease deal gives Vail a 10-year master lease for the 40 seasonal units. Buccheister saw the deal as a win-win-win for everyone involved.

"As a landowner and a business owner in the area, we have the ability to solve problems in the community," Buccheister said. "Vail Resorts have committed to investing into our housing and our people, and we're proud of that. This is a great place to live and we want to have the assurance that our team, employees and community can have more options available to them."

Buccheister added that he was very happy with the collaboration involved in getting the Wintergreen deal together.

"Hopefully, this private-public partnership will be a good model in the future for other resorts we operate," he said.

Commissioner Dan Gibbs said that the county government is thrilled to see Wintergreen becoming a reality.

"It's really exciting," Gibbs said. "Wintergreen is going to have a mixture of incomes, and it will help us with the huge need for folks in the county who are not making that much money. We're excited that the county could be a partner."

Summit County Combined Housing Authority director Jason Dietz said that the county still has big demand for units between 60 and 80 percent of AMI, but Wintergreen will go a long way to helping lower-income residents in the interim.