Town of Snowmass looks to buy Carriage Way Apartment, add to workforce housing
January 29, 2019
The town of Snowmass is making moves to acquire a 12-unit, free-market development to add to its employee-housing inventory.
At a meeting Jan. 22, Town Council gave the housing department the go-ahead to enter into a purchase contract with the owner of the .6-acre property at 250 Carriage Way.
The agreement between the housing department and the seller outlines a due diligence period of 120 days as well as a "potential purchase price" of $2.85 million.
"We think that the benefits of securing this property at this time outweigh the risk of leaving it to the market," town housing director Betsy Crum said at the meeting. "It's currently affordable housing, it's at a great site, it can be preserved and possibly enhanced somewhat for the residents living there, and has potential on the site for future development, as well."
While not deed-restricted, Crum said, the Carriage Way apartments rent below market rate because of their "size and condition."
The Carriage Way Apartment consists of four studios, four one-bedroom units and four two-bedroom units, all of which are occupied to date.
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In a follow up interview, Crum said monthly rent ranges from about $1,000 to $1,800.
The housing department has looked previously into purchasing the 27,367-square-foot property, which has been on the market for several years.
Crum is uncertain which year the parcel was first listed, but said it has been "at least somewhat available" since 2010, as that is when former town housing director Joe Coffey started looking at the property.
Although the apartment "has suffered a little from under-investment over the years," Crum said at the meeting, Coffey conducted an engineering report in 2016 that deemed the building "structurally sound."
The discussion among council at the meeting was minimal.
Noting the improvements needed, Snowmass Mayor Markey Butler posed, "At what point do we make a decision that the cost of improvements is not a wise choice, (that) it's better to tear down and really do a huge project?"
Town attorney John Dresser advised that the town revisit this question upon owning the property.
The pale-green-painted apartment was built in 1967, according to a memorandum from the meeting.
In 2017, the apartment was listed for $3.45 million, the memo states. The current asking price is $3 million; an assessor estimated the value in 2018 at $2.98 million.
The contract between the town and the seller states that the price not exceed $2.85 million. The owner of the property is listed as "Carriage LLC" with an Aspen mailing address.
Asked about the duration of the due diligence period, Crum said 120 days is on the longer side to ensure the department has ample time to obtain a series of quotes, an appraisal, and also "have the financing underwritten, and ideally, approved."
The initial cost associated with the purchase contract is $130,000, which includes a $100,000 money deposit and $30,000 to complete the due diligence items.
Crum said the town has a few financing options and that she would return before council with more information and a recommendation in late May (at the end of the due diligence period).
Initial staff analysis shows sufficient dollars in the annual operating budget and funds available to invest in the property, according to the memo.
Acquiring the Carriage Way Apartment aligns with the housing department's goal of preserving and improving development in Snowmass Village.
Crum noted the apartment's ideal locale, being on the bus line and in walking distance to the village, "offering near slopeside units and land that might support additional future development."
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