Aspen’s electeds sign off on $1.5M in contracts to build affordable housing
Aspen City Council on Monday night approved around $1.5 million in contracts that are designed to move three affordable-housing projects forward.
Council agreed to contract with Denver-based 359 Design for $252,000 to conduct community outreach in advance of the city building the third phase of Burlingame Ranch.
Seventy-nine units are approved to be built at the development, which already has 177 there and are occupied mostly by working families.
The city plans to focus community outreach toward the residents of Burlingame Ranch, as well as the larger Aspen community.
“We need to pay particular attention to public outreach,” said Councilman Ward Hauenstein, recognizing that there will always be critics who show up at the end of the process and say the city ramrodded the project through. “It’s important that we are good listeners and accept full engagement.”
The entire scope of the project for 359 Design and its team, comprised of local firms, land-use planners BendonAdams and Sopris Engineering, is estimated to cost $1.43 million.
359 Design was selected because of its knowledge of the existing development approvals and experience in modular construction, according to Chris Everson, the city’s affordable-housing development project manager.
Council also approved a $157,670 contract with DHM Design to conduct community outreach and a conceptual master plan design for the possible development of the Harbert lumberyard next to the Aspen Business Center.
This first round of outreach will focus mainly on the community’s needs and desires related to the development opportunity.
Topics include affordable-housing needs, user demographics, community desires in the surrounding neighborhood, an analysis with residential and commercial needs, utilizing the land and project phasing, access, transportation, mobility, traffic, environmental priorities and sustainability, parks and open space, public health and safety related to highway concerns, and many more topics.
Public engagement will begin this summer and fall, with master plan alternatives presented to council in December and details hashed out throughout next year.
Construction on as many as 220 units could begin in 2025 or 2026.
Councilwoman Ann Mullins said it could be possible that the development site include commercial uses, and a lengthy public outreach process will consider all kinds of options.
“It may not be appropriate to have 100% housing on the site,” she said, adding that it’s been a long time coming to develop the parcel that was purchased by the city over a decade ago. “It’s very exciting.”
The third contract approved by council is related to new housing set aside for city employees at a development above the hospital off of Doolittle Drive called Water Place.
For just over $740,000, 359 Design will create a site plan, architectural designs and construction drawings for the 4.75-acre site.
The 359 Design team proposal also includes significant neighborhood outreach utilizing BendonAdams.
The project, which comprises 48 units, could be ready for construction in June 2021.
Council also agreed to a $350,000 contract with Concept One Group to be the construction management and adviser for the project.
The company’s president is Jack Wheeler, the city’s former capital asset manager, who has worked on various projects on behalf of the municipal government.
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