Better than high-priced condos
Dear Editor:I wanted to briefly clarify something I said that appeared in Tuesday’s Aspen Times story on the Aspen Skiing Co.’s purchase of housing in the midvalley. The story said I was “reluctant to fault the Skico when they’re doing something” and noted my belief that escalating rents and conversion of existing housing stock to second homes was our real problem. Here’s a little elaboration on what I meant: 1) Market forces are rapidly eliminating existing affordable rental and ownership housing throughout the valley. Realistically, the only long-term solution to keeping some of our existing housing stock affordable is for government or the private sector to purchase or buy down existing units and ensure that they remain priced at levels accessible to working people. 2) Government can’t do this on its own, so any initiative shown by the private sector should be welcomed. 3) The year-round ski company employees who will be housed in these units are part of the existing housing demand pool, so placing them in these units will ease demand for free-market units elsewhere. All things being equal, this should drive down prices in the midvalley and elsewhere since ski company employees – like many others including myself who work in Aspen – live throughout the valley. This is not to minimize the impact on current residents who may be displaced, and I hope the ski company lives up to its promise to treat these residents with respect. But I would much rather have the ski company ensure these units remain affordable over the long term than see them converted to high-priced condominiums that no working residents of the valley can afford. Chris SeldinBasalt
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