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First Burlingame homes could be ready in 2005

Janet Urquhart
Aspen Times Staff Writer

The first residents of Burlingame Ranch should be moving into their homes sometime in 2005, according to a construction timetable presented to the Aspen City Council on Tuesday.

The city is scheduled to begin installation of an estimated $5.1 million worth of infrastructure to the housing site this summer and start building the first of the homes late next year. Councilman Tim Semrau urged staffers to push for an earlier start on the homes – in August 2004, rather than November 2004.

“So our goal is to break ground on infrastructure this summer and construction next summer. That would be fabulous,” he said.

City voters endorsed a 225-unit affordable housing project at Burlingame in August 2000. The site is located on a swath of open land between the Maroon Creek Club and Aspen Business Center on the outskirts of town.

Since then, the city has upped the housing development to a maximum of 330 units and acquired an adjacent parcel containing about nine buildable acres from the Aspen Valley Land Trust. It has also created new, higher-priced categories of housing for local workers that could be incorporated into the mix of homes, but council members nixed that idea Tuesday.

Burlingame is currently envisioned as a mix of RO, or resident occupied lots, plus units that will be built and sold at Category 2, 3 and 4 prices. The recently created Categories 5, 6 and 7 should be left out of the project, Semrau argued.

“I think it’s inappropriate at the site. It’s too much money,” he said.

Other council members agreed to leave the more expensive homes out of the project and, with the exception of the RO lots, concentrate on the more affordable categories, accessible to workers on the lower end of the income spectrum.

RO is actually the most expensive type of deed-restricted housing and council members have decided to incorporate 35 RO lots into the project to help subsidize lower-priced categories. The lots will be sold to buyers who will then build their own homes there. RO lot prices are currently capped at $150,000.

The first two phases of Burlingame, totaling 220 homes, include the 35 RO lots, 75 Category 2 units, 60 Category 3 units and 50 Category 4 residences. A mix of one-, two-, three-, and four-bedroom units are envisioned for the category units.

The council has indicated it wants to move ahead with the first phase of 110 units, including the RO lots, and then determine whether there is market demand to move forward with the second phase of 110 additional units.

A third phase of 110 more units would finish the project with a total of 330 homes, but that maximum buildout should receive further scrutiny, the council agreed this week.

Council members called for the reconvening of the COWOP task force that drafted a broad plan for the project two years ago, when it was a 225-unit development.

The group will look at the new maximum buildout of 330 units and study how a development of that size works on the building site, which has expanded from 25 acres to about 34 acres with the addition of the land trust property.

“It should go back to the COWOP if for no other reason than to take a look at that,” advised City Attorney John Worcester.

Although phase one will total 110 units, financial projections indicate the city can afford to provide the infrastructure for up to 330 units and begin construction of 46 units in 2004. The RO lots would be sold late next year and the first 46 category units would be sold in 2005.

Under a scenario to build the 220 units in phases one and two, construction would begin in 2005 on 76 more units that would be available for sale by the end of 2005, according to the proposed timetable. Construction of 63 additional units would begin in 2006, to be sold in 2007.

At that point, the 220 units planned in the first two phases would be complete.

Very rough estimates of construction costs put the price of building the first two phases at $30 million, to be offset by the sale of the homes and lots.

Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com


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