Developer envisions affordable rentals in Edwards | VailDaily.com
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Developer envisions affordable rentals in Edwards

EDWARDS, Colorado A local developer said he wants to test the waters for affordable rental apartments in west Edwards.Preliminary plans for the project would put about 80 to 90 apartments on four acres just west of the Edwards trailer park, said developer and Arrowhead resident Ron Ward.The planned rents for the apartments would be affordable for a family making 80 percent of the area median income or roughly $60,000 for a family of three.The hope is that middle-income professionals and younger families could rent for a few years and step up to buying a home, planners said.The complex would be community-oriented, with grassy areas and communal space, said Pedro Campos, a land planner from VAg Architects who is working on the project.The planned number of homes on the land would be less dense than the similarly affordable Lake Creek Village apartments, but would still require upzoning approval from the county.Ward has not presented any plans to the county, saying he wants to gage the interest of the Edwards community before submitting a proposal.Were trying to be a good community member and approach community groups before we move forward, Campos said. We just want to build the right thing.Wards company has built affordable rentals in southern California. This is its first project in Eagle County.The project would fit in well with the other developments around the land, Campos said Lake Creek Village is across U.S. Highway 6, and Fox Hollow, the Habitat for Humanity duplexes, is right next door. Currently the site is home to clutter of assorted tires and buildings.There is a very strong need for this sort of thing in the valley, Ward said. There hasnt been a new project like this built for a lot of years in the Vail Valley. I think itd be well accepted.

Edwards community leaders agreed that the proposed complex would provide a much-needed kind of housing in the county. Many workforce housing ideas are aimed at for-sale homes. Rentals, while relatively more affordable than for-sale homes, are scarce. Vacancy rates are extremely low in the county, according to real estate agents.Itd be tremendously exciting to get some more apartment inventory, said Don Cohen, executive director of the Eagle County Economic Council and member of the Berry Creek Metro District. Itd be a great niche in our housing inventory.However, many were concerned about the traffic impacts of the project.My No. 1 concern was traffic, Cohen said. Whats the impact going to be? The impact will depend on what other projects get approved in Edwards, he said.Members of the Edwards Community Authority, made up of representatives from area metro districts, expressed the same concern.Right now, several developments are in the works, but may not be built. Remonov & Co. has proposed several ideas for homes behind Edwards Corner and the ambulance station. The mixed-use, high-density West End was planned to start this fall, but has been stalled on financing.Campos said one way to ease traffic would be to build a frontage road behind the project, which would require permission from the neighboring Century Tel company.Ken Marchetti of the Community Authority said the group would have to talk to other metro district members and hear more information about the project.Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2928 or mwong@vaildaily.com.


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