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Parcel D impresses City Council

Construction of 39 new one-bedroom condos for local workers should be finished by late October, allowing housing lotteries for the units before the year’s end.Buyers will likely appreciate the relatively spacious digs, tiled showers, individual outdoor balconies, indoor parking and 40-square-foot storage lockers, but they may be oblivious to some of the finer points of the project. A contingent of city officials donned hard hats on Tuesday, though, for a tour of the Parcel D housing going up next to the Aspen Business Center and a peek inside its unfinished walls and garages. The affordable housing project is the first government project to be turned over to the private sector and the first to make use of the city’s new requirements for environmentally friendly design/construction. The builders are honing their “green” construction techniques as they proceed, according to Kris Myers, project manager for general contractor R.A. Nelson.The city’s new code has provided a learning opportunity, agreed Stephen Kanipe, Aspen’s chief building official

“To have it happen here was just an added bonus,” he said.The City Council decided Parcel D should attain 130 points on Aspen’s new scale for environmentally friendly construction and building efficiency.Initially, the three buildings that comprised Parcel D earned ratings that ranged from 135 to 145 points, but a rescoring of one building after the city revised its code put the score at 200, according to architect Karen Peterson of CCY Architects.City officials took a look at everything from energy-efficient appliances to the strategies to save on lumber and insulate the units. Solar panels will help heat water for the baseboard heating system and for residential use; the carpeting in the units is made from recycled material, as are various construction components in the buildings.Scrap materials created at the job site are being recycled.City Council members, however, also noticed the kinds of things that will catch the eye of potential buyers: the 9-foot ceilings and solid-wood cabinetry in the kitchens, for example.

Washer/dryer hookups will be provided, but not those appliances. The kitchens feature electric stoves, though most people seem to prefer gas ranges, noted City Manager Steve Barwick, wondering if the city should require gas in future housing projects. At Parcel D, piping gas to each unit would have been expensive, Myers said.Councilman Tim Semrau noted the small refrigerators, though the kitchen cabinetry was built to accommodate full-sized ones.”It’s an extra hundred bucks to get a full-sized refrigerator with an ice-maker,” he said, shaking his head. “This is where government doesn’t work.”On the other hand, tile in the bathroom is a great victory,” Semrau added. A builder himself, Semrau pushed for the tile around the tub/shower.”As far as quality of living space – I live at Centennial: Thirteen hundred a month, no washer/dryer, no dishwasher, no reserved parking space,” city project manager Troy Rayburn told council members.



“Overall, I think it’s an improvement from Truscott,” Semrau said. “This is a big improvement and it cost less money.”He termed the city’s expansion of Truscott Place housing a mediocre project that cost a lot to build. Parcel D is costing roughly $144 per square foot to build, compared to about $174 per square foot for Truscott.The city held a design competition for Parcel D, selecting a private development team to design and build the project. It is taking a similar approach for its planned Burlingame Ranch affordable housing, to be located on the other side of Deer Hill from Parcel D.Condos at Parcel D will be priced at Category 2 and 3. Category 2 units will be about 675 square feet in size; the maximum price is $89,200. Category 3 units will be about 750 square feet; the maximum price is $137,300.Proposed rules on pet ownership will allow two cats or one dog per unit, or one dog and one cat per unit. Dogs can’t exceed 90 pounds; pit bull terriers, Doberman pinschers, mastiffs and vicious dogs will be prohibited.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com


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