Council sets high expectations for potential Burlingame developers
“It’s got to be the best.”That directive, from Aspen Mayor Helen Klanderud to prospective developers of the city’s Burlingame Ranch affordable housing, pretty much sums up the council’s vision for what may well be the largest worker housing complex ever built in the resort community.A packed room of planners, architects, builders, engineers and consultants gathered in the council’s chambers Friday morning for a series of presentations that kicked off a design competition for up to 330 homes at Burlingame Ranch.Five development teams, each a collection of firms with expertise in various disciplines, listened intently as four council members expressed their desires for Burlingame. Councilman Terry Paulson was out of town.”The bottom line on this, we want something the community is proud of,” said Councilman Tim Semrau. “There’s tremendous creativity in this room. I hope everyone feels free to unleash that creativity.”The controversial housing project is moving forward despite opposition from Paulson and Klanderud, the mayor informed the assembled developers.”If we’re going to do it, then it’s got to be the finest project we’ve ever done,” she said. “That is the task before you.”Various council members stressed the need to make Burlingame transit-friendly, environmentally sensitive, energy-efficient, aesthetically pleasing, complementary with the landscape, and livable over the long term for the families who will call it home.”I don’t want to see it become what we all know as suburban sprawl in major cities,” Klanderud said.”For me, one of the key components is the livability there – both inside and out,” said Councilwoman Rachel Richards.”Sustainability is very important,” she added. “I want to see innovation above, ‘Oh, we’ve got the most energy-efficient appliances.'”The council has set “green” standards for the project’s environmentally friendly construction and efficient function. Councilman Torre wants Burlingame to raise the bar, in that regard, in the housing realm.”It’s my hope that this development is something the rest of the nation will look to as being innovative,” he said.Torre also urged developers to give the homes character and pay attention to the layout of the complex.”I think the door is very open for interesting and aesthetic design at Burlingame,” he said. “I would hate a homogenous design out there.”While Burlingame could ultimately include 330 homes, including up to 110 units and lots in the first phase, Richards said she would accept somewhat fewer units to gain livability and quality in the project.Klanderud encouraged developers to design a first phase that can stand on its own, or blend seamlessly with additional phases that could come years later.”It’s conceivable we could do the first part of it, and never do anything else for some reason,” she said.Two council members mentioned Snyder Park as an example of an exemplary project; another noted the city’s Truscott Place as an example of what not to do at Burlingame.The council is scheduled to approve $30,000 contracts with each of the development teams tonight, as well as a $2 million contract to extend infrastructure – essentially utilities and a road – to the site.The development teams are scheduled to present their designs to a city-appointed evaluation committee in September; the council is slated to select a winner in October. Construction would commence in 2005.The Burlingame housing site is located behind Deer Hill, east of the Aspen Business Center and across Highway 82 from Buttermilk.Lead developers for the five teams chosen to compete for the design/construction of Burlingame are: Bald Mountain Development-Burlingame LLC of Old Snowmass, headed by David Parker and Scott Writer; Amako Parkhill-Ivins Design/Build Team of Golden; Fenton Construction of Aspen; Shaw-Poss Architecture and Planning-DHM Design of Aspen; and Jonathan Rose Companies LLC of Denver.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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