Park Avenue project could mean more worker housing |

Park Avenue project could mean more worker housing

A developer wants to purchase and redevelop nearly a dozen affordable housing units on Park Circle and combine them with a free-market project.

The Aspen/Pitkin County Housing Authority Board of Directors will hold a public hearing Wednesday to discuss approval of a joint development agreement that would combine the Smuggler Mountain affordable housing complex at 414 Park Circle with the neighboring free-market complex at 404 Park Ave.

Currently, Smuggler Mountain has 11 units ” eight studios, one two-bedroom and two three-bedroom units. Cindy Christensen, operations manager for the housing authority, said all the Smuggler units are small.

The Park Avenue property has 14 free-market units.

City land-use codes require an additional seven deed-restricted units if the free-market property is redeveloped, or a total of 18 affordable housing units to redevelop the two properties together.

The proposed plan calls for a total of 15 free-market units and 22 affordable housing units ” to be sold, not rented as they are now ” netting the city four units more than codes require.

“It’s a plus for the community because we get additional units at no cost to the community,” Christensen said.

The proposal still must go before the City Council to earn approval. Christensen said the buyer, Minnesota-based Primepoint II LLC, is aware of the land-use application moratorium and that the city’s land-use codes could change during the coming months, but it is prepared to move ahead with the purchase nonetheless.

The joint development agreement states that “the [housing authority] property has been documented to be in deteriorating condition and in need of replacement” and that “there would be significant benefits to a combined redevelopment of the two sites, including … an enhanced and cohesive site plan, integration of affordable and free-market residential units on a combined site, enhanced public spaces, underground parking and economies of scale for the development.”

Under the agreement, as it is written, the developer would agree to foot the bill for the entire redevelopment, including the affordable housing units, as well as pay the city $750,000. That money is not earmarked for specific use, but the agreement allows it to help defray relocation costs for current tenants or for “mortgage buy-downs for potential affordable housing tenants.”

The proposed schedule anticipates completion of the land-use process by Aug. 31, 2007, and construction to begin in the spring of 2008.

A public hearing is scheduled for 5:15 p.m. Wednesday in the Plaza One Conference Room at the county annex building, 530 E. Main St. Copies of the joint development agreement and the agreement to buy and sell real estate are available at the housing office in the same building.

Abigail Eagye’s e-mail address is

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