Board approves Mine Dump plan |

Board approves Mine Dump plan

Janet Urquhart

Tenants of the Mine Dump Apartments should have first crack at new rental housing that is planned to replace the funky old complex, the Housing Board agreed Wednesday.

The board gave a unanimous thumbs up to Savanah Limited Partnership’s conceptual proposal to redevelop three lots near the base of Shadow Mountain that include the Mine Dump Apartments.

The apartments, which have seen better days, will be demolished as part of the proposal.

“While Savanah has put some improvements in them and brought them up to code, they are appropriately named,” said Sunny Vann, planning consultant for Savanah.

Savanah has proposed 14 free-market townhomes and 17 affordable housing units on the three lots, grouped at the end of South Aspen Street and Juan Street. The company is offering to build more affordable housing than is required by the city code, noted Vann in his presentation to the Housing Board.

All of it is proposed as rental housing, to be owned by the homeowners association established for the free-market townhomes, but rented to local workers who qualify under the Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority guidelines.

“I think it’s great,” said board member George Burson. “It’s the best thing I’ve seen since I came on the board.”

“I’m very impressed that the private sector would come forward with rental units,” said Jackie Kasabach, board chairwoman. “It’s not being done very often.”

She expressed concern, though, for the current residents of the 18-unit Mine Dump complex.

“Those Mine Dump units are quasi-historical in terms of the character of the community,” she said, suggesting Savanah give Mine Dump tenants the first shot at the five-unit building that will replace the apartments. The building will include one one-bedroom unit and four three-bedroom units to replace the 23 bedrooms at the Mine Dump. The city code only requires 50 percent replacement of the lost units.

Mine Dump residents who qualify should have priority for the new units, and if there are more interested tenants than bedrooms, Kasabach suggested a lottery to select residents of the new building.

Vann voiced no objection and said he would propose the idea to Savanah. The other 12 affordable housing units in the project would be filled at the homeowners association’s discretion, he said.

The board also suggested a mix of income categories in the rental units. Vann proposed all Category 2 units.

Underground parking is planned except for nine of the affordable units, which will have surface parking. The Aspen Skiing Co. currently holds a lease for an existing parking lot at the site. Those spaces will be replaced with sub-grade parking, Vann said.

The free-market residences will be three-story attached townhomes of 3,450 to 4,100 square feet, according to the plan.

The conceptual plan is scheduled to go to the Aspen Planning and Zoning Commission on Dec. 5.

Savanah also developed the former Ritz-Carlton hotel, now the St. Regis, and has received conceptual approval for development of property at the base of Aspen Mountain with a combination of affordable and luxury housing. It also has conceptual approval for the replacement of the now-closed Grand Aspen Hotel with a moderately-priced hotel.

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