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Eagle County commissioners hear proposals for two workforce housing projects

Habitat for Humanity, Haymeadow developers apply for county housing funds

Vail Valley Habitat for Humanity and the Eagle County School District have already partnered on a project on Grace Avenue in Gypsum. The district and the nonprofit are ready to start work on another project on Third Street in Eagle.
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Eagle County earlier this year received a $50 million infusion of housing funding. Now officials are working on the best ways to spend the money.

The proposals
  • Habitat for Humanity would like subsidies for 16 new units in Eagle.
  • The developers of Eagle’s Haymeadow project have proposed the county purchase 43 condos in that project.

The Eagle County commissioners Monday heard two proposals for using chunks of the funding that came from the January sale of the Lake Creek Village Apartments.

One of those applications is from Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley. That organization is seeking $3.9 million in county subsidies for 16 new units to be built along Third Street in Eagle.



That project, a partnership between Habitat and Eagle County Schools, would provide 12 units to district employees, with another four available to other applicants.

Emily Peyton of Habitat told the commissioners the group is changing a few of its traditional practices for the Third Street project.

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Instead of site-building homes, the Third Street project will use modular homes, built by a third-party contractor. While Habitat home buyers are required to put “sweat equity” into homes, that won’t really be possible with the Third Street homes. Peyton said the new Habitat families will instead put work into homes being built in Gypsum’s Stratton Flats neighborhood.

Expanded eligibility

The group is also expanding its eligibility requirements to 100% of the area median income — currently $111,800 for a four-person household. Habitat projects currently are limited to those earning 35% to 80% of area median income.

As with all Habitat projects, prices of the Third Street homes will be price-capped to no more than 30% of a family’s gross income, repaid with zero-interest mortgages. Re-sale prices are also capped.



Given current construction costs, there’s a broad gap between what Habitat sells homes for — about $300,000 — and what it costs to build them. Habitat is requesting county funding of about $250,000 per unit. The county’s housing authority advisory committee is suggesting subsidies of a bit more than $200,000 per unit, for a total of $3.08 million. The rest of the subsidies could come from state and federal grants.

The developers of the Haymeadow project have proposed a substantially bigger — and more expensive — partnership. The developers’ proposal is to sell the county a total of 43 two-bedroom, two-bathroom condos. Those condos would be part of a project to build 76 condos in seven buildings at the site.

That proposal is for $6.88 million for deposits. The final price would be far more.

County resiliency director Tori Franks told the commissioners that both projects meet a number of requirements in terms of what the housing authority is looking for.

Both have full approval from the town of Eagle. Both are walkable to town amenities and jobs. Perhaps most important, both can be quickly built and occupied. The Third Street project is expected to be finished by the end of 2023. The Haymeadow project units are expected to be ready for occupancy between January and August of 2024.

Plenty of interest

There’s also plenty of interest. Peyton said there are 90 applicants for the Third Street homes, and Franks noted that the county’s Valley Home Store has a list of more than 800 people interested in buying deed-restricted units.

County finance director Jill Klosterman said the county has several options for the Haymeadow plan, including buying fewer units. And, she added, the Valley Home Store is already set up to either market and sell the units, or, if sales are slow, handle rentals.

Franks said there’s been a lot of talk about assuming risk at the Haymeadow project.

Buying into the Haymeadow project would consume much of the $50 million available from the Lake Creek Village sale.

Franks said she’s spoken with representatives of FirstBank about the possibility of financing the project.

Commissioner Jeanne McQueeney noted that these are just the first two applications for money from the $50 million pot.

“I’d be reluctant to have half the money go out the door with the first two applications,” McQueeney said.

There’s also the matter of the proposed West Eagle development. That project won’t come to market before 2024 or 2025.

While a number of projects are proposed around the county, the two in Eagle are closest to construction and completion.

The commissioners are expected to see, and perhaps act on, commitment letters for both projects at their Dec. 20 meeting.

Vail Valley Habitat for Humanity and the Eagle County School District have already partnered on a project on Grace Avenue in Gypsum. The district and the nonprofit are ready to start work on another project on Third Street in Eagle.
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