Developer, city of Aspen open door to new low-income workforce housing
Applications for category 1 and 2 apartments being accepted from Dec. 7-14, with lottery on Dec. 17
The last of the workforce housing units in a public-private partnership with the city of Aspen that’s been 13 years in the making are coming online this month.
Beginning Monday, low-income individuals will be able to apply for 24 units, consisting of one- and two-bedroom apartments located at 488 Castle Creek Rd.
The pre-application process ends Dec. 14 and a lottery will be held Dec. 17 via Zoom. More details can be found at apcha.org.
The amount of bidders is expected to be high, based on not only the need but also the number of people who bid on two recent projects.
Aspen Housing Partners and the city this past summer delivered 11 apartments at Park Circle and 10 on Main Street. Combined, almost 400 people applied for the 21 units.
The 488 Castle Creek project addresses housing needs for Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority category 1 and the lower segment of category 2.
Financing for the project includes federal and state housing credits, which are utilized to develop housing for tenants earning 60% or less of the area median income.
As category 2 incomes exceed the area median income threshold, not all applicants will qualify.
The focus of 488 Castle Creek is to deliver housing to the lowest APCHA categories, which are often neglected, mainly because of the difficulty in obtaining adequate financing, according to Jason Bradshaw, who represents Aspen Housing Partners, the project developer.
The city did a lot of public outreach prior to the project breaking ground, and it was determined the greatest need is in low-income, workforce housing, Bradshaw said.
“The 45 units as a whole, (as part of the public-private partnership) the majority are focused on category 1 and 2s,” he said. “But the Castle Creek project is really going to address the lowest category.”
The income limits for category 1 is between $15,000 and $38,700 a year for a one-person household, or between $30,000 and $44,200 for a two-person household. The amounts are higher for three- or four-person households.
Category 2 for this project is between $38,701 and $46,440 for an individual annual income; a two-person household would have to make between $44,201 and $53,040. Amounts also go up for three- and four-person households.
Each unit will have a washer and dryer, pets are allowed and the complex is on the bus route.
As part of the public-private partnership, the city financed approximately $25.2 million, of which $9.2 million is in construction loans and $16 million is permanent financing toward the projects.
Bradshaw said the city will be paid back almost $2 million this month for financing on the Park Circle and Main Street projects.
The biggest construction loan is for the Castle Creek project, which is $7 million and will be paid back next year, Bradshaw said.
The Park Circle building cost $4.4 million to build and Main Street building was $4 million. The Castle Creek apartment building is expected to cost $9 million, according to Bradshaw.
The city owns the land where the affordable-housing projects are built, and was part of a multimillion-dollar land banking effort 13 years ago for future development.
The lumberyard site near the Airport Business Center, which is currently being planned for more than 300 units by the city, also was part of the land banking effort.
The Castle Creek project was the only one of the three in the public-private partnership that attracted opposition by nearby residents.
But even through that short-lived fight and other issues that arose at the other projects, Bradshaw said it’s part of the business.
“The bottom line is real estate development is never easy,” he said. “You just have to stick with it and we were willing to do that and the city has been in it even longer and it takes kind of partnership to make that come to fruition.”
Because of the tax credit financing, there is an additional tenant application on top of the typical APCHA application.
“When deciding whether to apply, it is important that one reviews additional application,” Bradshaw said.
That can be found on the project’s website at https://aspenaffordablehousing.com
Across the Roaring Fork School District, three schools achieved higher ratings from 2019 to 2022, two schools had lower ratings during that time period and most remained the same.