Aspen electeds sign off on $12.3M contract for modular housing at Burlingame Ranch
Aspen City Council on Tuesday approved a $12.3 million contract for 79 modular units to be manufactured for the third phase of Burlingame Ranch, a city-developed affordable housing neighborhood located across from Buttermilk Mountain.
Council unanimously supported the agreement with Guerdon LLC, a Boise, Idaho-based modular housing manufacturer.
The city is preparing the site with the expectation that the first modules will start arriving in early June and will continue to be delivered through October 2021, according to Chris Everson, the city’s affordable housing project manager.
He added that occupancy is anticipated in the summer of 2022.
“What’s nice is while the buildings are being manufactured we are preparing the site, so we are working in parallel and we can get the product to (the public) quicker,” he said before council’s regular meeting.
The entire project, with land and historical costs, is budgeted at just over $64 million, with each unit estimated to cost $824,000 to deliver.
The city will be subsidizing that cost but to what end is not yet known.
Councilwoman Rachel Richards said she is comfortable with the contract and council’s vetting of the project, which was originally approved in 2011 with Burlingame phase 2.
“I feel very confident that our council as a whole really drill down on the quality, and particularly the noise transmission and the energy efficiency of these units going forward,” she said. “So I am comfortable (but) none of us are comfortable with the actual costs of building housing in this community.”
There will be 25 one-bedroom units, 17 two-bedrooms and 37 three-bedrooms, ranging between 700 square feet to 1,320 square feet.
Guerdon was selected over two other manufacturers because it came in with the lowest bid and has the highest production capacity in the country, according to Everson.
Staff and the design team last fall provided council a review of the community outreach about the project, which included 96 surveys received from Burlingame residents.
One of the top three construction priorities from those surveys was mitigation of noise and support for modular construction to reduce the duration of on-site construction, according to Everson.
Guerdon’s price for nearly 90,000 gross square feet of buildings averages to $136.30 per square foot.
Council’s approval also includes a letter of intent, which provides the city assurance of being slotted into the Guerdon production queue for the necessary manufacturing time needed to satisfy the project schedule, according to Everson.
The letter of intent also allows the city assurance that precise designs will be produced at the factory.
Transporting the building modules from the factory to the project site is estimated to cost $1 million and is built into the overall cost.
However, that amount is subject to change based on conditions at the time of shipment, according to Everson.
He noted that by the city entering into a supply agreement with Guerdon, the municipal government is committed to receiving the units regardless if the project is delayed.
If that’s the case, the modular units will need to be stored on site, or somewhere to be determined off site, until they can be installed, Everson said.
Council members Ward Hauenstein and Ann Mullins said they want to tour the facility in Boise.
Everson, who said he has visited the plant, said demo modules that will be tested specifically for Burlingame will be available outside the Guerdon facility this winter.
“It’s intriguing to me,” Hauenstein said. “I have not ruled out taking a trip to Boise.”
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After relaxing the lease restrictions at the city-owned Marolt Ranch affordable housing complex, the units are all spoken for this winter.