To help fill the affordable housing gap, a Buena Vista project is creating inventory — one giant box at a time
The nation’s fickle relationship with modular housing may be on the upswing
The Colorado Sun
BUENA VISTA — Just below the second-floor offices of Fading West Development on Main Street, kids play in a sun-dappled splash park, tourists duck in and out of shops and eateries while, to the west, the breathtaking Collegiate Peaks poke holes in the sky.
In a lush, green summer, the town’s marketing pitch — “Come for a visit, stay for a lifetime” — beckons with particular potency. But like many other rural and mountain towns, Buena Vista grapples with an affordable housing crunch that puts a crimp in the “stay for a lifetime” option.
“I’ve known a bunch of friends and younger people who had moved out here, done work in the summers and then had to move away because they couldn’t find housing,” says Charlie Chupp, a 50-year-old transplant from Florida and owner of Fading West. “I saw lots of businesses struggling to keep full-time employees, a lot of people who tried to put down roots here and make a living. But they couldn’t and had to move back to wherever they’d come from.”
Chupp, who moved to Buena Vista to manage a youth camp when he felt he needed a career change, now sees his path taking yet another turn that has made him a part — potentially a significant part — of the response to the region’s housing dilemma.
In a development called The Farm, Chupp’s Fading West has engineered an attainable alternative for working-class incomes that provides much-needed local inventory. And he has done it thanks largely to modular housing, those factory-built boxes shipped and assembled into homes with which America has had an on-again, off-again affair over the decades.
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Talk about perfect timing. Beaver Creek Resort made the big announcement earlier in the week that it would open Saturday, four days ahead of schedule, and then the flakes started flying.