Snowmass reins in Rodeo Place |

Snowmass reins in Rodeo Place

Katie Redding
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

SNOWMASS VILLAGE ” The Snowmass Village Town Council took its first step toward reining in the Rodeo Place subsidized housing project Monday, hiring Resort Opportunities and Investments, LLC, to monitor the project.

At the special meeting, the council also estimated, with the help of a representative from architecture firm Coburn Development, that the subsidy for the two-phase project appears to already have ballooned from $12 million to at least $16.8 million. As the council puzzled through the process of trying to estimate a number, Councilwoman Sally Sparhawk emphasized the rough estimation was based on an assumption that the Phase II construction costs would mimic the most recent Phase I estimates. The estimate also assumed no changes would be made to the project and the town would continue to subsidize 50 percent of construction costs.

However, Town Manager Russell Forrest argued that trying to make a revised prediction was “dangerous.”

“‘We don’t know’ is the answer,” he said to initial requests from council members for a number. “Because we don’t know what the cost will be to complete the construction of Phase II.”

But Councilman Reed Lewis argued that the council needed a sense of the growing cost.

“What’s dangerous is us not knowing what the number could be… I don’t want us to get any closer to a Burlingame situation,” he said. “Quite frankly, this is already somewhat of an embarrassment, if not a full-blown embarrassment.”

Cost increases have resulted from a delay in acquiring an access road easement, the discovery of substandard soils, winter construction costs, and construction problems that required the first three homes to be rebuilt, among other things.

In February, Roaring Fork Custom Homes, the original contractor, asked to be released from its contract after completing only three of the 10 modular buildings in Phase I, all of which had significant issues, according to town staff. Rudd Construction has entered the lowest bid for the remainder of Phase I and is currently in negotiations with the town.

For a fee not to exceed $99,995, Resort Opportunities and Investments will help Snowmass negotiate the contract with Rudd Construction for the remainder of Phase I. It will also monitor the construction, work on warranties, assist with the punch list, oversee change orders, negotiate contracts and have regular meetings with stakeholders, among other things.

The council hopes to approve a contract with Rudd Construction by next Monday’s council meeting, so that work can begin soon thereafter. Five modular homes are scheduled to arrive at the end of August from Nebraska.

Once the contract with Rudd is signed, the council still has to decide whether it will continue to subsidize the construction of the remaining homes at 50 percent, as planned. At Monday’s meeting, council members will hear suggestions on that topic from those who have won the housing lottery.

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