Home to sell? The city is interested | AspenTimes.com

Home to sell? The city is interested

Janet Urquhart

With no future housing projects on the horizon beyond the completion of Burlingame Ranch, the city of Aspen is open to some creative wheeling and dealing with local property owners.

The city is putting out the word to homeowners who, for example, would like a cash payment upfront in exchange for turning their house or condo over to the worker housing program at some later date.

“We would be willing to talk to people about paying them today for something tomorrow,” said Ed Sadler, assistant city manager. “You get X dollars now, and when you sell it, it’s deed-restricted.”

Sadler reasons the prospect of getting value out of their property now but turning it over to the community’s housing program when they die or move on might entice longtime local homeowners.

The city, he said, is in a position to make creative purchase arrangements, such as reverse mortgages. Under that scenario, the city, in effect, has a mortgage on a property and makes monthly payments to the homeowner until the residence sells. Then it becomes worker housing.

Or the city purchases a home but structures the purchase payment so the owner doesn’t take a huge tax hit in a single year. “We can do things like that, that I don’t think a lot of people can,” Sadler said.

He plans to discuss the city’s interest as a buyer with local real estate brokers.

“I think we’re open at this point to all offers,” Sadler said. “Now, that doesn’t mean we’ll accept the offer. We’re probably not in the market for a reverse mortgage on a $5 million house.”

He said the city would consider any property in greater Aspen – within the city’s urban growth boundary.

Burlingame Ranch, west of town, is the last piece of property the city owns for the purpose of worker housing. The first phase of what could ultimately be a 236-unit project is now under way.

“Once we finish Burlingame, we have no land left,” Sadler said.

The city’s real estate transfer tax, however, continues to produce revenue for the acquisition or construction of worker housing. The stronger the market – sales are currently booming – the more funds the tax produces.

Anyone interested in talking with the city should contact City Hall and ask for Sadler, City Manager Steve Barwick or John Laatsch.

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

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