Gypsum approves Spring Creek Village plan, developers eye 2018 construction launch
January 14, 2018
GYPSUM — The town of Gypsum grew by 461 dwellings, on paper, and 70 acres, effective Monday, Jan. 15, with town council approval of the Spring Creek Village and River Dance RV Resort proposals last week.
Spring Creek Village includes 282 apartments in 12 condo buildings, 76 townhomes in 19 four-plex units and 15 single-family homes in the former Stratton Flats neighborhood on the east side of town. The River Dance RV Resort is an existing project located west of town. Last week the town council annexed the 70-acre park site and greenlighted an expansion that increases the park from its current 40-pad configuration to between 210 and 270 pads.
"We only had one person speak during public comment (for the Tuesday night Gypsum Town Council meeting)," said Gypsum Town Manager Jeff Shroll. "He said please hurry and get this done, and that's all he said."
Spring Creek Village
Gerry Flynn, of Polar Star Properties, said with the Gypsum Town Council's approval of the Spring Creek Village proposal, the company is prepared to completed the purchase of the 47-acre parcel. The land deal is expected to happen in the next couple of months, and actual construction at the site is eyed for 2018.
As part of its development plan, Polar Star will be signing agreements with Habitat for Humanity and a local contractor to develop parts of the site. Flynn noted that the nine-building, 36-unit Habitat neighborhood located at the northern side of the property and the 15 single-family homes located immediately adjacent to the existing Stratton Flats neighborhood will comprise the first development phase at Spring Creek Village.
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"We are waiting until we close on the overall land purchase and then we will close on the Habitat portion, and hopefully that will be in February," Flynn said.
Likewise, Flynn said he has a contract ready with a local builder to construct the single-family homes.
"He is ready to go as soon as he can in the spring," he said.
It's a big turn around for the project. Last winter, the Gypsum Town Council rejected an initial proposal for Spring Creek Village when residents of the existing homes at Stratton Flats protested that they had bought into a plan that exclusively featured for-sale housing. The single-family home component was added to the plan, featuring 15 lots immediately adjacent to the existing neighborhood. The plan completes Stratton Circle by looping back to Sunny Avenue, the main entry road to the development. Then, moving to the east from the single-family home neighborhood, the proposal features a dog park and community garden area transitioning into the multifamily buildings and the various amenities planned for the project.
Flynn noted some of the current residents continue to voice concerns about the plan but stated Polar Star is making progress working with the homeowners.
"It is in the homeowners' best interest to work with us," he noted.
Flynn said completing construction of Sunny Avenue to the property border is another project proposed as part of the first phase of development. He envisions construction of the first four multifamily buildings — featuring 100 apartments — coming in Phase 2. Phase 3 will include 138 apartments in six buildings, and Phase 4 will include 44 apartments in two buildings.
As Polar Star anticipates bringing this large number of rental units into the market, Flynn said the company is well positioned to make sure Spring Creek Village is a success.
Polar Star has been in the rental business for more than 20 years, but to date, most of its projects have been located in the midvalley or upvalley areas of Eagle County. Flynn said the pent-up demand for rental units closer to Vail and Beaver Creek is significant and well documented.
"The waiting lists upvalley can run two years deep," he said. "If you have an apartment to fill, you can usually fill it within two or three calls to your waiting list."
He noted because of its location further from Vail and Beaver Creek, Spring Creek Village won't see as high a number of resort workers and the accompanying demand to house them. However, he believes job growth in the lower valley is producing the need for the Gypsum project.
"There is a migration downvalley; some of it is climate, some of it is for a sense of community," Flynn said.
Flynn noted there is an increasing number of large employers downvalley, as well — everywhere from the Eagle County Regional Airport to Costco to the school district. Those operations need employees, and those employees need places to live.
And, he added, Spring Creek Village is reaching out to ECO Transit to study bus routes so residents who need to commute upvalley can take advantage of local mass transit.
Looking forward to the perks
With parks, paths, pickleball and more, the Spring Creek Village plan will bring a number of new recreation options to the Gypsum community.
"The Spring Creek Village project is the most high amenitized project the town has ever approved," Shroll said.
The amenities list proposed by the developers is lengthy, and Flynn said the most significant amenities will happen during the third phase of development.
"That could happen as soon as later next summer," he said.
A small park area — including community gardens and a dog park — is proposed between existing single-family lots on Stratton Circle and the apartment neighborhood. Walking paths will be constructed to provide access throughout the development.
Center Park will feature a youth soccer field, playground, pickleball courts, volleyball and community clubhouse where on-site management will be housed. Center Park is seen as a venue that can host larger town events.
On the north side of Sunny Avenue, two additional parks are proposed. North Park, which is currently a detention pond, includes a recently constructed playground and picnic area. Additional parking in the area will be constructed by the developer.
Across the street from North Park will be East Park, which will be surrounded by newly constructed townhomes and include a community garden, basketball court and picnic and barbecue areas, as well as overflow parking.
River Dance RV
In contrast to Spring Creek Village, Shroll said the town expects that River Dance RV Resort will live up to its name. Namely, it will be a place where visitors land, not long-term residents.
"It is truly more for the Interstate 70 traveling public," Shroll said. "It is not a housing project."
In addition to the park expansion, the River Dance plan includes improvements such as an independent domestic water service and wastewater treatment; open space along the Eagle River, including a site for rafting take-out; a central building with offices, convenience/retail shop, food and beverage services with limited seating, video game room, community socializing space and restrooms; a swimming pool and splash plaza; a deck and patio space with furnishings and a fire pit; an open-air pavilion; and various recreational amenities.
With the annexation and project plan approved, River Dance officials said they will proceed with the state permitting processes for its water service and wastewater treatment operations. Those efforts must be completed before the expansion can proceed.