Coffey Place affordable housing starts to take shape in Snowmass

On a recent afternoon in the Rodeo Place neighborhood, an array of construction was in the works.

Toward the entrance, workers were in the early stages of establishing and finishing up shoring walls. At the far edge of the subdivision, more workers were making the second stories of buildings come to life. In the middle, the buildings’ two-levels were starting to shape out into kitchens and bedrooms and bathrooms and the eventual Coffey Place workforce homes they would become by early next summer.

“We almost have four different little job sites here,” said Colton Conrad, project manager for the Coffey Place project. “You can really see the different phasing and where everything is at.”

In September, Snowmass Town Council approved the new Coffey Place workforce housing development, which is named after former longtime Snowmass housing director and beloved local resident Joe Coffey, who died in January 2018.

The development includes six two-bedroom duplexes, one ADA accessible single-family home and eight detached single-family units along Stallion Circle ranging from roughly $490,000 to $772,000, as previously reported.

Construction started soon after council’s approval and for Betsy Crum, town housing director, it’s been impactful to see the soon-to-be homes finally begin to take shape.

“I’ve been here two years and this was the first thing I worked on when I got here, so it’s really fantastic to see it start to rise up,” Crum said. The town is planning to hold the lottery for the 15 deed-restricted Coffey Place units in late October.

“The only thing that’s better than seeing it come up out of the ground is when you see a light behind the window and you know someone is living there.”

The Coffey Place housing project is the first step toward fulfilling the town’s “near-term” goal of creating an additional 200 work force housing units, as identified in the town’s 2018 comprehensive plan.

To help meet this goal, Crum and town staff from various departments began working on a Housing Master Plan in early 2020, which will help identify and prioritize places to “tuck in” these additional units into the existing village.

On July 20, Crum said the town is in the process of continuing to study and create schematic designs for the top five areas prioritized for potential housing as part of the third phase of the plan, working with architects to create different options for each site.

She also said the town is continuing its inspection of the Snowmass Inn, which it paid for in earnest in May as a potential town workforce housing site, and plans to have an update for Town Council on its in-progress findings in August.

And although Crum said the COVID-19 crisis has presented some delays and unpredicted challenges for the housing department over the past several months, she also said it’s also highlighted the importance of workers and workforce housing in Snowmass.

“We’re a really vibrant community with a lot of workforce housing need and if we want to continue to be that we need to meet the needs of the people who are going to work here,” Crum said. “The pandemic didn’t change that, but what it did do is make us realize how big a part of our community these folks are and how important it is to take care of their needs and think about things like housing stability and food security.”

As Conrad walked through the Coffey Place construction site July 16, he touched on how the pandemic has impacted its operations specifically.

The phased housing project has been pushed back about two months, Conrad said, but should be completed by early next summer.

He also said it wasn’t easy for the RA Nelson team to be completely out of work for 25 days during the Pitkin County “stay at home” period, but that everyone seems grateful to be back on the job.

“It was tough but we’re all happy to be working again and to help keep the economy going,” Conrad said.

Regardless of project delays, Conrad, Connor Denney, project superintendent, and Jake Gentry, assistant project superintendent, said it’s been great working with Charles Cunniffe Architects and town of Snowmass Village staff over the past several months, who seem more invested in the development because they are local residents, they said.

And for the three men, who are all Colorado natives and have been working together for several years on Roaring Fork Valley projects, it’s especially meaningful for them to be able to say they’re creating opportunities for people to live in places like Snowmass Village.

“It really feels like you’re making a difference within the community,” Conrad said. “We’re giving people an opportunity to live up here, which feels good.”


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