First Miller Ranch homes ready
After 15 years renting in the valley, Bety Fernandez in November will move from a trailer at the mobile home park in Edwards to a three-bedroom, single-family home at Miller Ranch.
Fernandez, 44, is a Mexican national who owns a cleaning company. Her husband and 7-year-old son have lived in the mobile home park for 10 years.
“This program is very good and has made it possible,” Fernandez said at a barbecue held Saturday for the first 100 homeowners in the Edwards development. “We never wanted to move to Gypsum or Eagle because our jobs are here.”
So far, ASW Realty Partners, the developers of the 282-home development, has sold 100 homes, mostly through a lottery system that gives priority to qualifying Eagle County workers.
Owners of eight single-family homes and duplexes – construction of which began in March – can move in Oct. 28. About 20 townhomes will be ready in November, said said LuAnn Welch, ASW vice president of sales and marketing. The development is expect to be finished in 2005.
“We wrote our first selling agreement in February, and now, we’re ready to close,” Welch told the future neighbors. “It’s amazing to me we get an opportunity to build a neighborhood. But you get a chance to build a community.”
The new neighborhood consists of lofts, condominiums, row houses, duplexes and single-family, detached homes. They range in size from 820 to 1,511 square feet and the prices range from $120,000 to $260,000.
“We’re introducing buyers to each other,” County Commissioner Tom Stone said at the barbecue. “These homes are nothing without the people in them.
“If you think you’ve waited long,” Stone told the new homeowners, “we’ve been working on this for five years.”
Miller Ranch is a development within the larger Berry Creek development in Edwards. The public-private development joins privately held ASW Realty Partners with Eagle County, the Eagle County School District and Colorado Mountain College in a plan to build a community that provides affordable housing, education, open space and recreation in a neighborhood setting. County commissioners also have agreed to advance money to build a community center and a day-care facility at the project.
“This will be an awesome place to live,” Stone said. “You’ll have the soccer fields, the pond and the new Colorado Mountain College campus, just steps away.”
When she attended the first lottery earlier this year, Beth Reilly said there were 10 children the age of her two-year-old son, David.
“This will be a great place for families,” said Reilly, who expects to move to her new three-bedroom, single-family house in November. “Plus, we need the space.”
Reilly, her husband and two children are expanding from a 700-square-foot house in Red Cliff to a 1,400-square-foot home at Miller Ranch.
The homes at the Miller Ranch affordable housing project will appreciate as much as wages grow annually in Eagle County. Last year, Eagle County commissioners approved a floating deed restriction cap between 3 and 6 percent that will change according to the average increase of wages in the county.
“The interesting thing about these homes is that they are deed restricted, but they aren’t income restrictive like in other areas, such as the Bay Area in San Francisco,” Welch said. “So when your income goes up, you can move up as well.”
Although the town of Vail accepted a $1 million offer from Eagle County to step out of the Miller Ranch project, the agreement says half of the homes will remain available for employees within the town of Vail.
That deal also left Eagle County and ASW Realty Partners as the developers of the project in Edwards.
“I’m very excited because many of my friends will be moving their families into a home that they own in this community,” said County Commissioner Arn Menconi. “This signifies professionals having an opportunity to lay roots in an area where they otherwise wouldn’t have an opportunity to own a home.”
Veronica Whitney can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.