Affordable apartments need $700,000 loan
VAIL – Vail’s Timber Ridge apartments were built for the town’s worker bees, but there’s trouble in the hive.The Vail Town Council Tuesday approved a $700,000 loan to the Timber Ridge Affordable Housing Authority, a nonprofit group created by the town to issue debt for the apartment complex. Part of the loan – $370,000 – will repair mold damage in 44 of the 198 apartments at Timber Ridge. Another part is needed to cover debt repayment and other expenses for the rest of this year.Town officials say what’s ultimately needed is a new Timber Ridge that still provides apartments for workers, but will probably also include some homes for sale as well. First, though, Timber Ridge has to get through this money crunch.The cash woes at Timber Ridge come from a couple of directions. At the moment, only 114 of the 198 units at the complex are rented. The rest are vacant because of mold problems. Mold is so bad at Timber Ridge that 40 apartments may be beyond repair.Another part of the crunch comes from rising interest rates, which raises the price of payments on the loans used to buy the complex.
“The project is technically bankrupt,” Vail Town Council member Kent Logan said.This year’s loan is expected to get Timber Ridge through this year. With more units rented next year, Timber Ridge is expected to break even in 2006 and beyond. But the complex probably won’t look as it does now for too many more years.”We have to re-develop it quickly,” Logan said.In this case, re-development will probably mean tearing down Timber Ridge and starting over with a new housing project. The town this summer will ask developers to submit plans for what a new Timber Ridge might look like.Town Manager Stan Zemler said the town will look for a plan that includes several types of housing, from free-market homes to deed-restricted for-sale units. What won’t change, though, is the 600 beds of rental housing at Timber Ridge now, Zemler said. “That will be there in some fashion,” he said.
But a new Timber Ridge needs to be built if the loans taken to buy it and keep it running are going to be repaid. “My expectation is that the town and others will get paid back through redevelopment,” Zemler said. In the meantime, though, Timber Ridge needs to pay its own way.”The loan stabilizes the situation,” Logan said. “It buys us some time.”Staff Writer Scott N. Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 613, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vail Daily, Vail Colorado
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