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Housing hopefuls cross fingers

Janet Urquhart

More than 100 local workers will be crossing their fingers on Monday, when the Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority draws the names of 39 people who will have the first shot at brand-new affordable housing next to the Aspen Business Center.More people will lose than will win.The city’s Annie Mitchell Homestead, better known simply as Parcel D, is nearing completion. The complex contains 39 one-bedroom units that should be ready for occupants next month. The 25 condos priced at $89,200 drew 82 bidders, while 14 units priced at $137,300 drew 92 bidders. The deadline to submit a bid was Wednesday at 4 p.m.The complex is open only to qualified local workers. It is the first new government housing project to come on the market since 2001, when 10 condos were sold through the lottery process at Seventh and Main.The housing office will conduct two computerized lotteries on Monday. The first individual drawn from among the bidders on the cheaper units will have his or her pick of those condos and so on down the line, until all the condos are awarded. The more expensive units will be awarded in a like manner.Housing office officials couldn’t pinpoint the total number of people hoping to win a chance to buy a unit at the close of bidding yesterday, though it appears likely the tally will top 100. Some individuals are bidding in both price categories; others are bidding in only one.Many of the hopeful appear to be workers who don’t currently own affordable housing, according to Cindy Christensen, housing operations manager.”I really think most of these people do not have housing,” she said.Joey Woltemath, submitting her lottery paperwork just under the wire yesterday, will be among those waiting for that phone call from the housing office next week. She checked out the condos during one of several open houses.”I think they’re really nice. I think they’re a great location, too, and you can have a dog,” she said.Owners will be allowed two pets per unit, including one dog. Monthly homeowners dues at the complex have not yet been determined. Interest in the project isn’t as intense as the demand when Seventh and Main came up for its initial lottery. That project, located at the upper end of Main Street, attracted 157 bidders for four one-bedroom units priced at $125,900. Five one-bedrooms priced at $81,700 attracted 132 bids. The sole two-bedroom unit in the project, priced at $137,700, attracted 31 bids. Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com


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