Edwards’ West End could get built in phases | VailDaily.com

Edwards’ West End could get built in phases

Chris Outcalt
Edwards, CO Colorado
Special to the DailyA computer-generated rendering of the West End project planned for Edwards, Colorado. When construction starts again developers say affordable homes will be built first.

EDWARDS, Colorado ” The developer of the West End in Edwards is considering breaking the project into three parts in order to get financing and construction started more quickly.

The West End ” a combination of homes, shops and offices planned for the northwest corner of the main Edwards intersection ” was supposed to break ground in April, but stalled because the developer has had trouble getting financing for the project.

“The lenders for large projects like this are not loaning money right now,” said Brian Bair of Midtown Group, the project’s developer.

Breaking the project into three phases and getting funding for one part first is an option officials are considering for getting it built quicker, Bair said.

“It really makes it fit better with today’s capital markets and where lenders are ” it’s more palatable,” Bair said. “We’re still seeing loans getting done in the $20 to $30 million range, but not in the $100 million.”

Gateway Development started accepting applications for West End homes in January of 2008. Several locals camped out for hours in order to get a crack at buying one of the project’s 72 affordable homes. But once it stalled, the developer decided to offer refunds to anyone that put a deposit on a home.

The deposits were $2,500 for a work force spot and between $15,000-$40,000 for the market-rate product.

“All the deposits have been returned at this point,” said Michelle Horack of Gateway Development.

In addition to a refund, the buyers were offered a chance to pay to reserve a condo for when the developer gets financing for the project. Reservations are $500 for work force homes and $5,000 for market rate condos.

Most people that were under contract for a work force condo decided not to pay to reserve a home. Midtown had 56 contracts for work force spots and only 18 decided to put money down for a reservation, Horack said.

Only three people have paid the $5,000 to reserve one of the market rate condominiums, Horack said.

The reservations are not a contract, but give people first crack at buying a condo when construction starts, Horack said.

If the project is broken up, the building along Highway 6 that would contain most of the affordable units would be built first, said Don Marcotte of the Midtown Group.

“That makes the most sense to us and it’s the easiest one to build,” Marcotte said. “It had the most interest.”

Part of the parking structure underneath the building would also be built in the first phase, Marcotte said.

The second part of the project would be constructing the building next to the Eagle River Preserve, which will house retail and both work force and market rate units. The building farthest to the west would be last to get built, Marcotte said.

“We’re still excited about the project, we’re just working through these difficult financing times,” he said. “We’ve had a lot more favorable financial discussions this first quarter than we did all last year.”

Staff Writer Chris Outcalt can be reached at 970-748-2931 or coutcalt@vaildaily.com.

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