City caps price at Burlingame
The most expensive homes at Burlingame Ranch will cost $640,000.The Aspen City Council settled on the upper limit for the RO, or resident occupied, single-family homes in the housing project on Tuesday.The cap is slightly higher than the one recommended by the Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Board, which suggested an upper limit of almost $600,000 for RO lot buyers at Burlingame.The price caps reflect what one of the homes could sell for immediately after they’re built. They’ll appreciate by 3 percent annually or the Consumer Price Index rate, whichever is less.The council also decided Tuesday that RO homeowners won’t be allowed to construct separate small units on their property – over the garage for example – that can then be rented out.What buyers of the RO lots should be allowed to spend building their homes has long been a concern for the council. Members have repeatedly said they don’t want homes in the planned subdivision of worker housing to quickly start fetching $1 million or more. That’s what occurred at North 40, a privately developed neighborhood of worker housing.Lot buyers at North 40 faced no limit on what they could spend on their residences, and some spent plenty. A handful of homes there have resold for more than $1 million even though they’re part of the “affordable” local worker housing inventory.A $640,000 cap for the RO at Burlingame, which essentially becomes the starting price for the homes, is a satisfactory compromise, said Councilwoman Rachel Richards.”At 3 percent appreciation, it would take 20 years to appreciate to that million-dollar level. I was comfortable with that,” she said.The RO cap at Burlingame reflects $155,000 for the lot; the balance will cover construction, architectural fees, permits, etc. The cap works out to about $220 per square foot, as the homes will be limited to 2,200 square feet, plus 500 square feet for a garage.The housing board recommended a cap that would let RO buyers spend about $202 per square foot on their homes, but the council decided to boost that sum a bit, said Ed Sadler, assistant city manager. The buyers of the most expensive lots will have the leeway to spend a little more on interior finishes, for example.”Maybe you get marble countertops and the other guy gets – no offense, I’ve had Formica in every home I’ve ever owned,” he said.Despite the established price caps, lot buyers could theoretically spend whatever they want building their homes. The cap set by the city, plus limited annual appreciation, however, is all they’ll be able to recoup when they sell.The first phase of Burlingame is slated to include 86 residences to be built by a general contractor and 11 lots that will be sold to individual buyers who then arrange for the construction of their home. Among the lots, two are to be priced at Category 6, with a maximum initial price of $456,200, including $123,000 for the lot; three Category 7 lots ($499,787 price cap, including $126,000 for the lot) and six RO lots.The city intends to sell the lots through the housing lottery process this year, but buyers won’t be able to start construction until May 1, 2006. That way, much of the work on the other units by general contractor Shaw Builders will already be done.Shaw had expressed concern about having multiple contractors all working at the site concurrently.The city hopes to see construction begin this summer at Burlingame, located between the Maroon Creek Club and Aspen Business Center on the outskirts of town. But it appears the project is headed for another public vote before construction commences.The 86 units to be constructed in phase one and sold through housing lotteries include a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom residences in a range of price categories. The lots will be sold in the highest price categories, with RO at the top of the range.In all, up to 236 units may be built over three phases at Burlingame. For details about the project or a breakdown of the planned units, log on at aspenpitkin.com/burlingame or attend a second open house the city will host on the project next week. The open house is scheduled Tuesday, March 8, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the former youth center, 455 Rio Grande Place.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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