Aspen again looking at Oz to design next phase of Burlingame housing |

Aspen again looking at Oz to design next phase of Burlingame housing

Janet Urquhart
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
Aspen Times fileThe second phase of Aspen's Burlingame Ranch worker housing will be designed by Boulder-based Oz Architecture if the City Council selects the staff-recommended design team for the project.
ALL | The Aspen Times

ASPEN – A proposed contract with Boulder-based Oz Architecture for design of the second phase of Burlingame Ranch will go to the Aspen City Council for consideration on Monday.

After re-reviewing the proposals submitted by three architectural firms, city staffers and a newly hired owner’s agent for the project have confirmed a city selection committee’s initial choice to contract with Oz for design of the remaining worker housing to be constructed at Burlingame.

Oz submitted the lowest bid, at $1.6 million for the design and construction phases. Aspen firm Poss Architecture + Planning, which designed the first phase of Burlingame, submitted a $2.7 million bid, and Aspen firm Charles Cunniffe Architects bid $3.1 million to do the work.

The firms were not allowed to alter the amount of their bids, or to add or subtract services from their original proposals, but the city sought out further clarification from each of them to ensure their proposals met all of the city’s requirements. All of them did, and then some, said Scott Sumners of Rider Levett Bucknall, the city’s agent for the project.

The roughly $1 million difference between the two lowest bids led the city to review what it was getting for its money, said Barry Crook, assistant city manager. The prospect of hiring an outside company versus putting local residents to work was also a factor in the review.

“Because there was a fair amount of dollar difference between the two bids, you had the question – are we really comparing apples to apples?” Crook said. “I think maybe the sensitivity to that was probably driven by the local versus outside thing.”

The review left staffers convinced all three firms would do the job satisfactorily, and that all of them would employ some local individuals.

Cunniffe indicated it would have a team of 17 people working on the project, the Oz team will number 30 individuals, while Poss planned to involve 42 people. Of Oz’s team, two people work in Aspen, eight others work elsewhere in the Roaring Fork Valley, and 20 are stationed outside the valley. Poss’ team had five people in Aspen, 23 in the valley and 14 outside the valley. Cunniffe had six people in Aspen, eight elsewhere in the valley and three outside the valley.

All of the design teams involve various individuals who would work part-time on Burlingame. The entire design effort, the city noted, is relatively small, compared to actual construction.

Oz estimated a total of 15,000 hours of work over a three-year period of design and construction, or the equivalent of 2.4 full-time jobs. Poss estimated the project would require 23,000 hours over three years, or the equivalent of 3.7 full-time jobs.

When it came to the bottom line, Oz bid $1.6 million to design a stick-built project and indicated the price would come down if the city decides to go with modular construction, in which building components are built elsewhere and assembled at the site. Poss indicated its $2.7 million bid assumed modular construction; it would cost $263,270 more to design a stick-built project. Cunniffe’s proposal remained the same regardless of the construction approach.

Burlingame is to contain a maximum of 258 units; 161 multifamily residences and six single-family homes are part of the second phase. The first phase, designed by Poss, has been constructed. The second phase will be designed in the same “ranch vernacular” that was chosen as the architectural style for the first phase.

The architectural firms were told Thursday of the city staff’s recommendation.

“We’re pleased that staff has upheld their earlier recommendation – that we’re appropriately qualified and appropriately priced to do this phase of the project,” said Kelly Davis, managing partner with Oz. “We’re anxious to get started.”

“Obviously, we’re disappointed,” said Stephen Holley, a principal at Poss, “but we certainly wish the city all the best moving forward.

“We believe in the project itself and in the need for affordable housing, especially in Aspen,” Holley added. “We would have liked to have been a part of phase two.”

The timing of construction of the next phase has not been decided, according to Crook. It may be that the housing is built in phases, though it will all be designed up front.

Oz Architecture has designed multifamily housing in various other communities, according to Chris Everson, affordable housing project manager with the city. Locally, the firm’s projects include the Viceroy at Snowmass, the Conner Cabins project in Aspen and the new Basalt Regional Library, he said.

“Part of our due diligence was checking in with all of those references,” Everson said. “We got great references.”

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