Aspen employee-housing project moves forward with public-private partnership |

Aspen employee-housing project moves forward with public-private partnership

A rendering of the three-story affordable-housing project proposed for 517 Park Circle, which the Aspen City Council approved on its first reading Monday.
David Johnston Architects

Other city council business

• The second Monday of October officially become Indigenous Peoples Day after members of City Council unanimously voted in support of Resolution 138.

“What I really embrace is the opportunity to honor the Ute people who nurtured our valley,” said Mayor Steve Skadron.

The city does not acknowledge Columbus Day, hence Monday’s meeting. However, Aspen banks were closed because of the federal holiday.

Click here for more on this decision.

• The continuance of the public hearing for the Boomerang proposal, which was scheduled for Monday, was postponed to Nov. 13 in order to give the applicant more time to make revisions to the project.

Marshall Tycher and Eric Witmondt, both of whom are developers from New Jersey, have the property on 500 block of West Hopkins under contract to buy from Aspen FSP ABR LLC, but only if the City Council signs off on their request to making slight modifications to approvals the redevelopment won in 2006.

Those changes, which the council has already heard, include increasing the average unit size from 812 square feet to 1,040 square feet. A reduction in the number of lodge units from the approved number of 29 to 23 has also been requested, while the number of lodge keys, 47, would remain the same. Also included are five free-market residential units, two affordable-housing units and underground parking for 32 vehicles.

A public-private partnership for the development of rental housing for local workers cleared its first Aspen City Council hurdle Monday.

Council members, by a 5-0 vote, signed off on the first reading of the major public project review for 517 Park Circle, a vacant lot at the foot of Smuggler Mountain that is intended for an 11-unit apartment complex.

The city owns the property that Aspen Housing Partners would lease and develop.

Aspen Housing, led by Jason Bradshaw, also plans to lease from the city the properties at 488 Castle Creek Road and 802 W. Main St. Those properties also are part of the public-private partnership for employee housing, with the developments headed to first readings before City Council prior to the end of the year. The three properties would combine for 50 new units in Aspen’s affordable-housing pool.

The Park Circle complex’s housing categories — which are determined based on the tenant’s income — will be figured out at a later date, Bradshaw told the council.

“I don’t think we’re necessarily saying we want the carte blanche ability to change what the categories are, but we think that flexibility would be nice to have,” he said.

Among the 50 units, half of them would be designated for tenants earning 60 percent of the area median income or less, with the remaining units being Categories 2 and 3, said Chris Everson, the city’s affordable-housing project manager.

The Park Circle application will return to City Council for a public hearing Oct. 23.

All three properties are designated moderate-density residential and are subject to zoning changes to allow for construction. The Park Circle lot, which spans 14,458 square feet, currently has approvals in place for two single-family lots.

The Park Circle plans call for a three-story structure with a floor area of 10,040 square feet, in addition to seven one-bedroom units and four two-bedroom units. Tenants would be provided storage units and either an outdoor porch or balcony area, according to a description of the project given to City Council.

Eleven parking spaces also would be built on site, while Aspen Housing Partners could potentially pay the city $114,000 as a cash-in-lieu fee to offset the other three required spaces. That fee, however, could be waived if Aspen Housing Partners hatches an agreement with Pitkin County to have shared parking on the lot north of Smuggler Trail.

Aspen Housing Partners is responsible for all three projects’ design, construction and operations of the rent-controlled housing.

Financing the projects would, in part, come through either 4 percent or 9 percent federal and state affordable-housing credits. Previous projections put the cost at $24.2 million, with $12.7 million coming through housing tax credits, $4.6 million through a first mortgage loan and a second $6.9 million mortgage loan from the city of Aspen.

The Aspen Housing Partners team was formed through a joint partnership between Massachusetts-based SCG Development Partners and Colony Partners Inc. of Oklahoma City.

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