Design contest for Burlingame? |

Design contest for Burlingame?

Janet Urquhart

The competition that produced a design for affordable housing at Aspen Mass might be a good approach for designing a housing complex at Burlingame, housing officials seemed to concur this week.

Members of the Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Board mulled recommending a design competition for the Burlingame Village project, but instead agreed Wednesday to hold off on the suggestion until the Burlingame planning is further along.

Housing Board member Tim Semrau was especially eager to make a formal recommendation to the Aspen City Council pushing a design competition for Burlingame. Other members voiced support but said the move might be premature.

The city is considering putting the Burlingame project through its new COWOP process, which the City Council established for use when the city is both the applicant and the body that must approve a development. The council will consider the project’s eligibility for COWOP on Monday.

If a project benefits the Convenience and Welfare of the Public – hence the COWOP acronym – the process can be used as an alternative to the traditional land-use review. A task force would create a proposal for Burlingame and make a recommendation directly to the council.

“We don’t want the COWOP committee designing the project,” said Semrau. “While there’s some momentum from this [Aspen Mass] competition, I don’t see any harm in trying to remind the council that the outcome [for Burlingame] can be a design competition.”

The COWOP task force can come up with a general proposal that could be turned over to a competition for specific designs, agreed Jackie Kasabach, housing board chairwoman.

“I don’t think the COWOP process would preclude us from having a design competition or a design/build competition,” she said.

Five firms were chosen to submit entries for the design of Aspen Mass, a property slated for affordable housing at the intersection of Brush Creek Road and Highway 82. Civitas, a Denver firm, was recently selected as the winner. Its 120-unit project was actually designed by Wolff Lyon Architects of Boulder.

Each of the five competitors received $10,000, and the winner received another $10,000. The $60,000 expense was a good deal for the housing authority, said Jay Leavitt, its director of development.

Representatives of one firm said they spent $50,000 on their proposal, Leavitt said.

Leavitt said he would like to see the city try a design or design/build competition for Burlingame, as well.

“You’re going to get the best design, and you’re going to get the best price for that design,” he said.

Burlingame Village will involve up to 225 units of affordable housing on a piece of the city-owned Burlingame Ranch and a chunk of the adjacent Zoline ranch west of town. The Zoline family will provide 20 acres for the development in exchange for the right to build 12 luxury homes on their property.

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