Aspen School District aims to buy six affordable housing units from Basalt |

Aspen School District aims to buy six affordable housing units from Basalt

Six affordable housing units are tucked on Shining Mountain Way off of Snowmass Creek Road, about 1.25 miles from Highway 82. The town of Basalt has a contract to sell the units to the Aspen School District.
Scott Condon/The Aspen Times

The town of Basalt has signed a contract to sell six affordable-housing units in Old Snowmass to the Aspen School District.

The town wanted to divest itself of the residences to pay off a line of credit for its affordable housing program and because it didn’t want the expense of managing and maintaining the units, according to Town Manager Ryan Mahoney.

“It’s a debt-reduction measure at the end of the day,” Mahoney said.

The sales contract is for $1.56 million. The sale is scheduled to close July 1. Both boards must grant approvals and the school district must complete an inspection before the deal can be completed.

School Superintendent John Maloy said the district had been working with a real estate agent to explore housing acquisition. That consultant learned about Basalt’s desire to sell the six units in Old Snowmass.

“We’re in desperate need of housing currently,” Maloy said.

That’s unusual because typically at the end of the school year there are vacancies in the school district’s housing inventory of 44 units. This year there is only one opening, Maloy said. The district could use additional housing to attract and retain teachers and other personnel, said Dwayne Romero, president of the Aspen School District Board of Education.

The sale would boost the school district’s inventory to 50 units.

Basalt obtained the property on Shining Mountain Way in 2015 from Rocky Mountain Institute. RMI needed helping paying about $1.2 million for land costs and improvements associated with construction of its Innovation Center in Basalt.

The town government provided and land and covered the expenses for RMI. In return, RMI handed over the six affordable-housing units to the town.

The units, configured in a four-plex and a duplex, are located about 1.25 miles off Highway 82, just off Snowmass Creek Road. The property includes 7 acres of irrigated land and a barn.

All six of the residences have two bedrooms and are around 1,000 square feet.

The town could legally sell the units because they didn’t have a deed restriction. When the idea was first suggested in February, some board members were concerned that the affordable units would be “scraped” and replaced with a trophy home.

Mahoney said the town had multiple offers for the property for the same price. The council favored the school district’s proposal because it maintains the affordable housing.

“We’re super excited about it,” he said.

It’s the town’s responsibility to boot out the tenants. Only two units remain occupied, Mahoney said. All tenants were offered other affordable housing in the town government’s inventory but they declined, according to Mahoney. The alternative units were only one bedroom.

The proceeds of the sale will pay off all but about $100,000 in the town’s affordable housing line of credit, Mahoney said. The Shining Mountain Way units had no debt.