Will Vail buy Kayak Crossing complex? | VailDaily.com

Will Vail buy Kayak Crossing complex?

That’s one option being pondered to lock up more deed-restricted housing in the upper valley

Vail officials are exploring options to bring the Kayak Crossing apartments into the town’s deed-restricted inventory.
Chris Dillmann/cdillmann@vaildaily.com

There’s a new idea for expanding Vail’s stock of deed-restricted housing. It’s just outside town at the Kayak Crossing apartments.

Vail officials, along with town of Avon officials and the EagleBend/Dowd Affordable Housing Corporation, are talking about various options to fund a bucket of improvements at the 24-year-old complex at the west end of Dowd Canyon.

One of those options is Vail purchasing deed restrictions at the 50-unit complex. That purchase, estimated between $2.5 million and $3 million, would ensure the apartments are used only for workforce housing. Currently, roughly two-thirds of Kayak Crossing residents work in Vail.

That sale of deed restrictions would help pay for improvements including new windows, siding and doors, along with new exterior insulation, asphalt shingles and upgraded heating and hot water systems.

Another option would include the deed-restriction purchase, and the towns of Vail and Avon partnering as municipal sponsors of the complex. That partnership could include forming a regional housing authority.

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The town of Avon is the current sponsor. Like the EagleBend apartments, the town put no taxpayer money into the deal. Instead, the town sponsored the project’s debt, which is serviced through revenue generated at the complex.

A third option is an outright purchase by the town. That could cost $15 million or more, depending on a new appraisal of the complex.

At the Vail Town Council’s March 4 meeting, Vail Housing Director George Ruther said the town was first approached by the corporation that manages the complex, which has already set a construction schedule for the improvements. Ruther added that the town of Avon at the moment doesn’t have the financial ability to pay for the improvements.

The first two options pose the least risk to Vail, Ruther said. And, he added, an outright purchase would be complicated.

Avon has the right to approve any refinancing deal, and also has the right to pay off the complex’s current debt and take immediate possession. The town will be able to take ownership of the complex when the debt is repaid.

Avon Town Manager Eric Heil told Vail officials his Town Council supports Vail’s participation in the project, and is most comfortable with the second option that pairs the towns’ efforts.

“This is an exciting opportunity,” Vail Town Council member Travis Coggin said, adding he’d support Vail’s outright purchase of the complex.

But Council member Kevin Foley said the outright purchase could be “a financial sinkhole” for Vail.

Gerry Flynn, the managing principal of Polar Star Properties, told council members he’d prefer the second option in which the towns form a partnership, adding that the town of Avon wants to stay involved in the project.

Ultimately, council members told Ruther they want to see more detailed options for the second and third options.

“We’ll return as quickly as we can,” Ruther said.

About Kayak Crossing

Built: 1998

Units: 50, in four buildings

Beds: 185

Current rent: $1,590 to $2,130 per month

Managed by: Polar Star Properties

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