Housing board mulls ways to fill empty units | AspenTimes.com
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Housing board mulls ways to fill empty units

Janet Urquhart

Several measures that may pull Aspen’s seasonal worker housing out of the red won unanimous endorsement from the Aspen-Pitkin County housing board on Wednesday.The proposals are intended to fill up apartments at the Burlingame/MAA and Marolt complexes for more of the winter and during the spring and fall offseasons.Both projects house ski-season workers during the winter and Aspen Music Festival and School students during the summer. But for the past couple of years, the apartments have been sitting empty for up to five months a year during the spring and fall.The Burlingame/MAA housing last year required a $40,000 influx from the city and Music Festival, which jointly own the complex, to shore up its operations.In an attempt to eliminate, or at least reduce, the need for another subsidy this year, Assistant City Manager Ed Sadler has come up with several proposals. Sadler is also president of the Burlingame Housing Inc. board of directors.He is proposing five-month minimum leases for the Burlingame/MAA housing next winter. Lately, the winter workers, who are primarily Aspen Skiing Co. employees, have rented the apartments starting in December, but are leaving by the end of March.Sadler has also proposed allowing local businesses to lease the apartments for their employees, with a five-month minimum, through April.Letting a single individual rent one of the two-bedroom apartments – for the full price – if there aren’t two takers for a unit is also proposed.And, Sadler would like to make the apartments available for short-term rental during the spring and fall.”I can’t promise you [the proposals] are going to work … but the last thing I want to do is go ask City Council for more money without having tried anything,” he said.The recommendations will go to the council for final approval. Sadler said he will ask council members how short a rental period they’re willing to accommodate if the apartments are leased to construction workers, for example, during the offseasons.”We’re not up for daily rentals, or even weekly,” he said. “There is no way I want to compete with a hotel.”Some of the local lodges rent rooms to workers during the spring and fall lulls.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com


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