Aspen declines offer to sell affordable housing complexes to Indiana-based company
The city of Aspen has declined an offer from an Indiana-based company interested in buying three affordable housing complexes.
RealAmerica Companies had approached the city and the Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority in August asking if the local government was interested in selling Truscott, Marolt Ranch and Smuggler properties.
The idea was that RealAmerica would purchase the properties with tax credit financing and tax exempt bonds, which would allow the company to upgrade the aging buildings, as well as maintain and manage them.
“It could be a win for APCHA by relieving you of the strain of managing the apartments. It could be a win for the residents of the apartments by upgrading the apartments and taking care of all the maintenance issues. It could be a win for the taxpayers of Aspen by providing APCHA with non-taxpayer funds from the sale of the apartments to reinvest in owner-occupied housing that has deferred maintenance,” reads a letter from Ronda Weybright, president and CEO of RealAmerica Companies, which recently developed an affordable housing complex in Basalt.
The APCHA board seemed favorable to pursuing the idea but city officials stepped in and said this isn’t the time to offload affordable housing projects.
Mike Kosdrosky, executive director of APCHA, said he received direction from City Manager Sara Ott to let RealAmerica know that the city is not interested in selling any of its affordable housing rental asset or properties.
“Should they change their mind, they will first go out to (request for proposals) to solicit proposals/bids,” he wrote in an email.
Ott was unavailable to comment on why the city is declining the offer.
Jeff Ryan, vice president of development for RealAmerica, said this week that his company was notified by the city more than a month ago that it was not interested in a deal.
He said he hopes RealAmerica can find other projects in the Roaring Fork Valley and beyond.
“We are looking at it as we have the expertise and (those working in city government and APCHA) have real jobs so we offered our services,” he said. “We are looking for more opportunities in the area.”
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The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office is taking the lead in trying to close a gaping hole in the investigation of crimes in the upper Roaring Fork Valley by purchasing license plate-reading cameras likely to be used at the chokepoint entry and exits to Aspen.