Eagle County’s housing needs are being filled, but not enough for the future
By the numbers
2,780: Current shortage of housing units in the Eagle River Valley.
4,,030: Anticipated unit need by 2020.
5,900: Anticipated need by 2025.
7,970: Anticipated need by 2030
EAGLE COUNTY — Ever since Vail Mountain’s first gondola started hauling skiers in 1962, this valley has been short on housing. Today’s shortage might be as bad as it’s ever been, but help is on the way.
After almost a decade in which little new housing was built, developers are building — or planning to build — thousands of new units of all types, from one-bedroom rentals to single-family homes.
The total number of units under construction or on the drawing board actually exceeds the right-now need described in the most recent Eagle Valley Housing Needs Study.
That study puts the county’s right-now need for homes at 2,780 units. There are currently 3,037 units under construction or in the planning stages.
That’s the good news.
The bad news is that even that large amount of construction won’t address the county’s needs in the short- to longer-term future.
The study listed a need of more than 4,000 units by 2020, 5,900 units by 2025 and nearly 7,800 units by 2030.
With that in mind, this seemed like a good time to update the progress — or lack thereof — of workforce housing projects around the valley. This may be an incomplete list. If we’ve missed something, then please let us know and we’ll append the information to the online version of the story.
While there are ideas for adding more units to the town’s inventory, only one project is currently active.
Solar Vail Apartments
Location: 501 North Frontage Road, just east of Red Sandstone Elementary School.
Owner/developer: Sonnenalp Properties.
The plan: The project, by the owners of the Sonnenalp Hotel, will tear down the current 24-unit building and replace it with a 65-unit building. Those units are all deed-restricted for people who work in town or Eagle County. The new apartments will be ready by the start of the 2019-20 ski season.
What’s next? Construction has begun.
Mountain View Residences
Location: 434 South Frontage Road, just east of the Vail Village parking structure.
Owner/developer: Peter Carlson’s Gore Creek Group.
The plan: The 19-unit Mountain View Residences is part of a larger project that will put condos and accessory units atop an existing private parking structure.
Vail Housing Director George Ruther said the project had been stalled by a lawsuit filed by a neighboring condo building. Ruther said that suit has been settled, and he’s been told the project is back on track.
What’s next? The schedule for these free-market apartments is somewhat uncertain.
Marriott Residence Inn
Location:: 1783 North Frontage Road W., at the former site of the Roost Lodge in West Vail.
Owner/developer: Peter Dumon, The Harp Group.
The plan: The Marriott Residence Inn is supposed to bring 97 deed-restricted apartments — rented at market rates — to the site of the old Roost Lodge in West Vail. The rest of the project is a Marriott Residence Inn hotel.
Town officials and the Harp Group need to finalize a development agreement before any work begins.
Ruther said town officials are waiting for the developer to submit that development agreement for review.
“The ball’s totally in their court,” Ruther said. At the Vail Town Council’s Tuesday, July 17, meeting, Vail Interim Community Development Department Director Chris Neubecker said it’s been “at least six months” since town officials have heard from the developers.
What’s next? Since the project has been designated a “Special Development District” by the town, Ruther said the clock on starting work won’t start ticking until that development agreement is finalized.
Location: 3700 North Frontage Road, just north of the East Vail interchange off Interstate 70.
Owner: Vail Resorts.
The plan: A 23.3-acre parcel owned by Vail Resorts was in 2017 rezoned for both natural preservation and housing. That rezoning effort was opposed by neighbors but ultimately passed by the Vail Town Council.
The land currently is zoned for workforce housing on 5.3 acres, with the remainder now in the town’s Natural Area Preservation zone.
What’s next? Vail Resorts is now looking to sell the housing parcel to a third party. When that deal is struck, it will be up to the development company to obtain town approvals.
There aren’t any workforce housing units under construction at the moment in Minturn. Minturn Town Manager Michelle Meteer said the town is working on a workforce housing policy. When that policy is adopted, Meteer said she expects to see language about how the town can deed-restrict units to keep residents in town.
Former fire station
Location: 90 Benchmark Road, Avon. The building looks like a fire station because, up until recently, it was.
Owner/developer: Town of Avon.
The plan: After leasing the former fire station to Venture Sports over the winter for employee housing, the town of Avon is currently seeking a new business to rent out the unoccupied building.
The space accommodates up to 12 people in 12 individual bedrooms and 6 1/2 bathrooms.
The building is currently under consideration by the town of Avon for other uses, but during that study, the Avon Town Council is committed to seeing the building utilized for worker housing, rather than remaining vacant.
What’s next? Interested businesses are encouraged to visit http://www.avon.org/bids to learn more about how to submit a Letter of Interest.
Location: West Edwards, south of U.S. Highway 6.
Owner/developer: Gore Creek Partners.
The plan: A 120-unit project located on a 5.7-acre tract, 6West is billed as “upscale rental housing.” The units will feature Energy Star stainless appliances, kitchen pantries, modern finishes, cable and broadband service, stone counter tops, nine-foot ceilings, full-size stacked washers and dryers and walk-in closets. The complex will feature a business center/conference space, a fitness center, covered resident parking, outdoor barbecue/summer kitchen areas, a tot lot for kids, a bark park for dogs and storage space.
The 6West developers say their project is a new product for the valley — housing for the renter by choice not the renter by necessity.
What’s next? Construction is underway at the 6West site, and developers hope to have units available by late December or early January.
Residences at Fox Hollow
Location: West Edwards, adjacent to the existing Habitat for Humanity housing and the 6West property.
Owner/developer: Populace Development LLC.
The plan: The Residences at Fox Hollow proposes “attainably price, for-sale housing” as a change from the previously approved land-use plan for the west Edwards site. The proposal combines four separate parcels and includes 87 new housing units on a nearly 4-acre site.
Developers note that the Fox Hollow units — priced from the mid-$200,000 range to the upper $400,000 range — have been planned to address the housing issue in Eagle County. They say the Edwards site is an appropriate location for higher density.
What’s next? The Residences at Fox Hollow was scheduled for public hearing before the Eagle County commissioners on Tuesday, July 17, but the developer failed to send a notice of the meeting to an adjacent property owner. That error will be addressed and the hearing will be re-advertised.
Location: West Edwards, north of U.S. Highway 6 and east of the Eagle River Water & Sanitation District treatment plant.
Owner/developer: Eagle River Water and Sanitation District.
The plan: Stillwater is a 21-unit employee housing project that includes a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom units that district employees can rent or purchase.
Eagle River Water & Sanitation District has been a valley leader in employee housing and officials say Stillwater represents an opportunity to “provide a model for the community for how workforce housing can be done well.”
What’s next? The district received county approval for the plan in late 2017 and construction is underway.
Location: 30-acre parcel on the west side of Eagle on what used to be called the JHY parcel.
Owner/developer: Brue Baukol Capital Partners and Lauren Brockman, owner of Convergence Multifamily Real Estate Group.
The plan: 500 total units in three phases: 69 townhomes and the rest one- and two-bedroom apartments.
What’s next? They’re working through the approval process.
Location: 101 and 105 East Second St., downtown Eagle.
Owner/developer: BDES Inc.
The plan: 22 studio apartments over 6,374 feet of commercial space.
What’s next? Construction is scheduled to begin this fall.
Location: Sylvan Circle at the Sylvan Lake Road roundabout on U.S. Highway 6 in Eagle.
Owner/developer: Gold Dust Partners, an Eagle company. Bruce and wife Mary Ann, and sons Brad and Jesse, are Gold Dust Partners.
The plan: 42 units approved on five acres.
What’s next? Construction and sales have begun.
Location: Wall Street, across Sixth Street from Eagle Town Park.
Owner/developer: Joe Frasco and Les Samuelson.
The plan: An eight-unit townhouse development that continues Eagle’s effort to create development near its downtown core.
What’s next? The project was approved and is under construction.
Location: Brush Creek Road on the south side of Eagle.
Owner/developer: John Purchase.
The plan: Purchase got his approval for 36 units, which could increase by a few. Purchase wants to build duplexes on single-family sites.
The price point is slated to be about $500,000 for around 2,000 square feet of space with unfinished basements.
What’s next? Construction has begun, and homes are for sale.
Red Mountain Ranch
Location: South of Eagle along the Eagle River.
Owner/developer: Red Mountain Land.
The plan: 153 units on 130.3 acres along the Eagle River, east of Eagle.
What’s next? They’re working through the approval process.
Location: South of Eagle on Brush Creek Road.
Owner/developer: Abrika Properties LLC.
The plan: 837 homes approved several years ago. It’s Eagle’s first big development since Eagle Ranch was developed.
What’s next? The first phase could begin construction soon.
105 Capitol St.
Location: Corner of U.S. Highway 6 and Capitol Street.
Owner/developer: Wayne Hauter.
The plan: Refurbished commercial space on the first floor, four apartments for rent upstairs.
What’s next? The space and apartments are for rent.
Spring Creek Village
Location: South of U.S. Highway 6 between Valley Road and Jules Drive in Gypsum.
Owner/developer: Polar Star Development.
The plan: Formerly known as Stratton Flats, Spring Creek Village includes 282 apartments in 12 condo buildings, 76 townhomes in 19 four-plex units and 15 single-family homes. Amenities proposed include two playgrounds, a soccer field, a basketball court, community gardens, pickleball courts, a dog park, volleyball courts, trails, barbecue and picnic areas and a clubhouse facility. Additionally, there are two perimeter parking areas for residents’ recreational and off-road vehicles.
The developers say the project will meet a pressing need in the valley by offering both restricted and open-market rentals. The proposed rate structure for the restricted units would be $904 monthly for a one-bedroom unit, $1,094 monthly for a two-bedroom unit and $1,269 monthly for a three-bedroom unit. For the market-rate units, the monthly charges would be $1,160 for a one-bedroom, $1,525 for a two-bedroom and $1,700 for a three-bedroom.
What’s next? According to Gypsum officials, the developers plan to close on the property purchase this fall.
Red Table Apartments
Location: 765 Red Table Drive, just south of U.S. Highway 6.
Owner/developer: Grant, Kelly and Jason Herzog.
The project: Red Table Apartments is a 76-unit complex. The project amenities include an on-site laundry facility, storage and garage options, pet-friendly units and a high-speed fiber-optic network for internet connection.
This is the newest apartment option in the valley. Unit rentals range from $1,100 to $1,650, depending on size. One-bedroom and two-bedroom units are available, with or without garages.
What’s next? Construction is complete at Red Table Apartments, and the first tenants have moved into their units.
Location: South of the Eagle County Regional Airport in Gypsum.
Owner/developer: George Roberts.
The plan: The plan for the 170-acre site calls for development of 559 units, including 332 units in an age 55-and-older community. Siena Lake will also include 227 units in a “mountain cottage” and high-end RV neighborhood. Planned amenities include creation of a lake at the center of the development, a private clubhouse, community center and other owner and resident amenities. Planned public amenities include open space and a trails system, including improved motorized Bureau of Land Management public access and a town adventure park located near the site of the sledding hill south of Costco. A final component of the plan is mixed-use commercial development along Cooley Mesa Road, including as many as 32 live-work projects.
Siena Lake represents a totally new product in Eagle County — both with the age 55-and-older community and the mountain cottage/RV neighborhood.
What’s next? The Gypsum Town Council will participate in a site visit at Siena Lake on Tuesday, July 24, and public hearing for the project is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 14.
Mountain Gateway at Buckhorn Valley
Location: Buckhorn Valley subdivision south of the Eagle County Regional Airport.
Owner/developer: Green Valley Homes LLC.
The plan: The first phase of the Mountain Gateway project will feature 48 for-sale condominium units in 12 four-plex, two-story buildings on a seven-acre site in the upper Buckhorn Valley area. The units feature a two-bedroom, one bathroom floor plan.
The developers say Mountain Gateway represents a return “to reasonably sized homes that leave budgetary room.” The project is being marketed to singles, young families and empty-nesters with an entry price below $300,000
What’s next? Groundbreaking ceremonies were held last week for the Mountain Gateway project, and infrastructure construction has already commenced at the site.
A local attorney said he sees similarities between last week’s chairlift death of a New Jersey man, and a case he won against Vail Resorts 20 years ago.