240 apartments planned for Traer Creek land
First development at Village at Avon in a decade could begin this fall
AVON — A 240-apartment project at the old STOLport parcel in Avon is expected to break ground this fall.
The apartments represent the first major development activity in more than a decade at the Village at Avon, an 1,800-acre mixed use project that was approved in 1998.
The apartment project is just west of Traer Creek Plaza, on a now-empty lot at the northwest corner of Post Boulevard and East Beaver Creek Boulevard.
Traer Creek, the owner of the land, is under contract to sell to Longmont-based Actis LLC, a company that develops apartment complexes and would develop these apartments.
Richard Groves, owner of Actis, could not be reached for comment Friday.
Representatives from Traer Creek said they believe construction would begin in the fall, with the first buildings being completed in 12 to 14 months and total construction lasting 20 to 22 months.
“It sounds like it would provide a good amount of housing, which we know is sorely needed,” said Avon Mayor Pro Tem Amy Phillips. “I would be thrilled if that does end up moving forward.”
The land where the apartments would be built has sat vacant since the Village at Avon was approved more than two decades ago. The nearby Walmart and Home Depot opened as part of the development in 2003, and Traer Creek Plaza, an office and commercial building, opened in 2006. An ambulance station was completed in 2008.
“It’s been very frustrating to me to not have seen anything happen on that property really since the Traer Creek building was built,” Phillips said.
Apartments for professionals
The development would include eight buildings, including a central clubhouse, according to a preliminary development application. The buildings would be as tall as four stories.
East Beaver Creek Boulevard would be relocated as part of the project, with construction beginning in mid-August — after the season’s final Beaver Creek rodeo.
The apartments would be rentals that include studios, one-, two- and three-bedroom units. They would not be considered affordable housing, but would be market-rate units aimed at local professionals. Traer Creek has already exceeded its affordable housing requirements, for now, with the 244-unit Buffalo Ridge apartments.
Marcus Lindholm, manager of Traer Creek, said Actis’ research shows a need for “high-quality,” “mid-level” housing in Eagle County.
“This will be a place people can get excited about,” Lindholm said. “There will be a full amenity package typical in a Class A apartment project. Upvalley needs a place for young doctors and professionals to live as they start their careers or transition into the valley. This project serves as a stepping stone toward later home ownership, or a great place to live for someone who may be in town for a year or two.”
More density approved last year
The project is currently being considered by the Village at Avon’s Design Review Board, whose meetings are private. Once the design review approval is granted, the next step would be to get a building permit from the town of Avon.
Town staff is currently reviewing the road realignment proposal, said Matt Pielsticker, planning director for the town of Avon.
In September 2018, the Avon Town Council approved an amendment to the Village at Avon planned unit development, allowing for greater density, higher buildings and less commercial space on a portion of the apartment parcel known as Planning Area F. The apartment land is comprised of both Planning Areas F and D.
Representatives of Traer Creek cited shrinking demand for commercial space.
The history of the land
The property is sometimes referred to as the STOLport parcel. It was ranch land, passing from original patent holder Oscar Traer through various families and eventually to Willis Nottingham by 1945. It was the site of the Avon Short Take-Off and Landing Airport, operated by Rocky Mountain Airways, in the ’80s. Bill Nottingham sold the Village at Avon land to an affiliate of Traer Creek in 1992.
In 1998, Avon voted to annex the land into the town.
The developer and the town have a litigious history. The town of Avon filed a lawsuit against the Traer Creek Metropolitan District in October 2008. The developers then sued the town. The parties agreed to settle in 2011, and a final settlement was completed in 2014.
Phillips, who served on Avon Town Council from 2004 to 2012, and was re-elected to the board in 2016, said the relationship between the town and the developer has improved.
“I would say it is the best it has been since 2004, which was when I got on council,” she said.
The development can have as many as 2,400 homes and 825,000 square feet of commercial space. Currently, 244 affordable homes have been built within the development and about 350,000 square feet of commercial property has been constructed.
“Traer Creek’s focus is on completing this phase and looking at opportunities in other parts of the village, including the north side of the highway, where we are looking at highway oriented commercial,” Lindholm said.
Developers are circling Minturn, with hundreds of new homes being proposed, but town’s water situation will dictate their fate.