As Spring Creek Village prepares for new residents, demand for affordable housing in the valley persists
Spring Creek Village, a 282-unit apartment project in Gypsum, will open 150 income restricted units this summer
GYPSUM — One of the surest signs that Eagle County is moving beyond a reality totally defined by COVID-19 is visible on the eastern end of Gypsum.
Spring Creek Village is rising from the ground, a project planned to address the lack of local workforce housing — one of the valley’s top issues in the days before a worldwide pandemic took over the news cycle.
Spring Creek Village is a project from Polar Star Properties that features 282 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments in 12 large buildings located at the former Stratton Flats property in Gypsum. The first phase of the complex was built this winter and includes 150 income-restricted apartments contained in five buildings.
The construction project has had its share of challenges, noted Gerry Flynn of Polar Star Properties. In February, the Boise, Idaho-based manufacturer of the modular units — each weighing around 43,000 pounds— launched 120 separate shipments that comprised Phase I of Spring Creek Village. Those modular units were assembled on-site to create the five buildings that are now standing. But weather conditions affected many of those shipments.
“Then just about the time the weather started getting nice, we got COVID-19,” Flynn said. “From a construction standpoint, the impacts from COVID-19 probably delayed us about three weeks.”
While construction was deemed an essential job during Colorado’s Stay At Home order, the pandemic meant crews had to follow strict protocols that included social distancing measures. And while the buildings were going up, reservation requests dried up, at least temporarily.
“There was a time there when nobody was thinking about renting a new place,” Flynn noted. “But I think the demand for affordable housing will be larger on the other side of this crisis than what it was before we knew what COVID -19 was.”
Flynn said activity at the Spring Creek Village leasing office, located in a temporary trailer stationed on the west edge of the construction site, has picked up considerably over the past couple of weeks.
“We will have 150 units ready to rent in the next three months. We are about 40% of the way there,” Flynn said.
Flynn said the first Spring Creek Village tenants should begin moving in by mid-July, if not sooner. Right now, leasing office personnel are helping prospective tenants find out if they qualify for residency. All 150 units in Phase I are income-restricted.
“A lot of people are coming in and they know what they need to qualify … but inevitably, they are under-reporting their income,” Flynn said.
Residents of Phase I of Spring Creek Village cannot earn more than 60% of the average median income. For a one-person household, the maximum annual salary would be up to $42,000. For a six-person household, the limit is $69,500.
“When you get into the larger household sizes, it is hard to qualify for these units because you have more wage earners,” Flynn said. “Because it is hard to qualify once you have more than two wage earners in a unit, I think we will see more families out there.”
Rent prices at Spring Creek Village Phase I are:
- One-bedroom — $1,057
- Two-bedroom — $1,261
- Three-bedroom — $1,448
Those prices include water, sewer and trash service. Flynn said garage and storage units will be available on-site for an additional fee.
Flynn said construction of Phase II, which will include three identical buildings and two slightly different structures, will be completed in 2021. The 132 remaining apartments will be market-driven units and Flynn noted the leasing office is keeping a list of prospective tenants — people who couldn’t qualify for income restrictions but who are still interested in living at Spring Creek Village.
Elsewhere on the site, builder Rick Patriacca has partnered with Polar Star Properties — the business owned by Flynn and his partner Jeff Spanel — to construct 15 single-family homes immediately adjacent to the existing Stratton Flats neighborhood. Patriacca has also signed on to build 40 townhomes at the site. Habitat for Humanity will also be building at Spring Creek Village at some time in the future. Habitat has purchased 36 homesites in the area.
As the first phase of apartments comes on line, Flynn added that many of the amenities planned at Spring Creek Village soon will be completed. The residents’ clubhouse is currently under construction and Flynn said the soccer field and other recreation options will be available by the end of the summer.
Flynn cited the efforts of the Eagle County Housing Authority, local lender 1stBank and the town of Gypsum for their help in shepherding Spring Creek Village through a troubled national time.
The leasing office for Spring Creek Village can be reached at 970-855-2233 or at springcreekgypsum.com.
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