Construction starts Tuesday on 56-unit, affordable housing project in Basalt

Scott Condon | The Aspen Times
RealAmerica LLC aims to build this 56-unit affordable housing project and rent out the apartments at below market rates. The complex in Basalt will open by early 2018.
RealAmerica/courtesy image |

An affordable housing project that will provide 56 units at below market rents — many of them well below — is breaking ground in Basalt Tuesday.

RealAmerica Companies LLC will start construction of the Roaring Fork Apartments, along Highway 82 between Stubbies bar and the office of Harry Teague’s architecture firm. The company is holding a public groundbreaking at 2 p.m. at the site at 111 Emma Rd.

Ronda Weybright, CEO and president of RealAmerica, said Monday the project will feature 45 one-bedroom units that will range in rents from $450 to $1,350 per month. They will be 670 square feet.

The 11 two-bedroom units will range in price from $550 to $1,450 per month. Those units will be 965 square feet.

RealAmerica is committed to providing all but 12 of the units at rents substantially below the Area Median Income. For example, six of the units will be rented at 30 percent of the AMI, meaning they will rent for between $450 and $550.

Another 11 units will be rented at 50 percent of AMI so the cost will be between $810 and $980 per month.

The largest share of units, 27, will be rented at 60 percent of AMI. That means rents of between $1,000 and $1,200 per month.

The remaining 12 units can be rented at 120 percent of AMI for $1,350 to $1,450 per month.

The units are within 300 feet of a Roaring Fork Transportation Authority bus stop, so it is considered a transit-oriented development. Weybright said the project will be completed in 12 to 14 months, depending on the weather. At any rate, the apartments will provide relief by 2018.

The 56 apartments will be built in a single, four-story building. While construction is just starting for RealAmerica, the foundation is already in place. The previous owner of the site had approval for a hotel and started work before running into financial problems in 2008 during the Great Recession. The site has been fenced off since then.

RealAmerica got the boost is needed in September when it was awarded $1,096,625 in annual Rental Housing Tax Credits from the Colorado Housing Finance Authority. The tax credits are sold to investors who provide equity to the project. In return, RealAmerica is committed to providing below market rents for 15 years. However, Weybright told the Basalt Town Council in an earlier meeting that the Roaring Fork Apartments would provide affordable housing for the life of the project.

Basalt contributed $175,000 to the project.


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