Aspen City Council releases additional Lumberyard financial details

An artist rendering of the Aspen Lumberyard affordable housing project.
Cushing Terrell/Courtesy image

Aspen posted additional financial details online yesterday of the Lumberyard, the biggest affordable housing project Aspen has ever attempted, on the Aspen Community Voice website (

Aspen City Council unanimously voted on Sept. 27 to release the financial details to the public. And those details were online the next day. But they are not yet close to being the final estimates, explains a memo from City Manager Sara Ott.

Cost estimates for the Lumberyard “will evolve through project development and become more precise closer to construction,” her memo states.

Over the years, as the Lumberyard has been debated, its cost and the ability to recruit a developer/ partner to the project have been urgent concerns for council members and the public. This past summer, city staff outlined six different funding models for the Lumberyard that were categorized as pessimistic or optimistic, with or without debt. The most expensive topped out at $753,537,140 (last phase completed 2050), and the least expensive was $361,241,734 (last phase completed 2038). 

Another debated topic is whether the Lumberyard would make enough money to attract a partner to the public/ private project. One chart now posted online estimates the Lumberyard would make $4,925,808 in rent revenues, “assuming 2023 full project occupancy” of all 277 units planned. In that scenario, operating costs were estimated at $1,765,875.

Many of the 41 pages now online are densely packed with estimates for items like legal fees and advertising across the years that the Lumberyard will be developed and constructed.

“Staff’s intention is to advance the plans to the Design Development stage” and offer city council an updated estimate, said a Sept. 21 memo (included in the Sept. 28 post) from Chris Everson, Affordable Housing Development Senior Project Manager.