Burlingame site costs on rise | AspenTimes.com

Burlingame site costs on rise

Janet Urquhart

A list of some $4.3 million in potential added costs at Burlingame Ranch requires the Aspen City Council’s attention today.The city staff is not recommending the approval of all of them, but has asked the council to OK at least $2.4 million in additional expenditures.A lot of the expenses are associated with moving dirt, or not moving it, and the unexpected need to construct basements beneath two buildings at the affordable housing project on the outskirts of town, according to Ed Sadler, assistant city manager.With site work under way and home construction looming, city staffers are recommending the council approve $2.4 million in changes, plus other modifications to the project for which no price tag has yet been nailed down. In other words, that number could increase if the council adopts the staff’s recommendations. One potentially pricey item that is not reflected in the $2.4 million hinges on what the city does with the copious amount of topsoil that has been found at the construction site.”On almost all of these items, we’ve planned on something – even on the topsoil, we planned on something, but we didn’t plan for near as much as it turned out to be,” Sadler said.The priciest item recommended by the staff is the addition of basements beneath two buildings for $1.29 million. That would mean eight homeowners have additional storage/living space. No other basements are planned at Burlingame. In designing the sewer system for the project, developers have discovered that the elevation where the two buildings are situated is too low for the system to work without the installation of a pump station, unless basements are constructed to raise the buildings.The addition of the basements would increase the city subsidy of the two buildings from $357,785 to $1.6 million, but the council could raise the price of the units to offset some of the increased cost, staffers note.The council is also being asked to shift a building originally slated for phase 2 of the project to phase 1. The $1.2 million cost will be recouped when the homes are sold. If the five-unit building remains in phase 2, owners of the closest residences built in the first phase will endure construction just 10 feet from their homes when the building goes up as part of phase 2. The shift would increase the total number of homes to be constructed in phase 1 to 102 (including 11 lots).Dirt managementThe third largest budget item on the council’s plate is a “dirt management plan.”Council members previously indicated they don’t want developers to grade the entire Burlingame site as part of the initial phase of construction, in case phases 2 and 3 don’t immediately follow the completion of phase 1.Not grading the entire site, however, will add about $818,000 to the cost of phase 1. That sum includes creating berms to store excavated dirt from phase 1, seeding that dirt and temporarily irrigating it. The expenditure probably isn’t a wise one if phase 2 follows closely on the heels of phase 1, City Manager Steve Barwick advised the council last month.The council must also figure out what it wants to do with excess topsoil that has been unearthed at the site. An unanticipated, copious quantity of soil that is unsuitable for foundations has been found at the site. An estimated 40,000 cubic yards of soil (roughly 4,000 dump truck loads) must go somewhere.Among the options is trucking it to the city’s golf course for eventual use in shaping berms that are part of the long-term master plan for the course. That would could cost $500,000 to $530,000, according to staffers, but other options and cost estimates were still being analyzed Friday.”We’re going to end up throwing some serious options to them on this one – maybe as many as 10,” Sadler said.Among the recommended changes to the residences are providing gas units in all the homes, adding a heat recovery ventilation system, prewiring bedroom and living room ceilings for ceiling fans, and adding solid countertops in all bathrooms (they’re already planned in the kitchens).The council originally approved a $32.4 million construction contract for phase 1 with Shaw/Poss/DHM, the development team selected by the city. That cost will be partially offset by the sale of the planned homes and lots. Burlingame offers the potential for up to 236 homes, built in three phases, on a site north of the Maroon Creek Club, off Highway 82.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com