Interest in Gypsum worker housing jumps |

Interest in Gypsum worker housing jumps

Chris Outcalt
Gypsum, CO Colorado
Dominique Taylor/Daily file photoThis home was built at Stratton Flats in Gypsum, Colorado in mid-October. The modular homes are pre-made in a factory, shipped in pieces when they're purchased and assembled at the worker housing complex.

GYPSUM, Colorado” Getting some homes up at Stratton Flats in Gypsum, Colorado has sparked some interest in the county’s newest workforce housing neighborhood, said sales manager Andy Forstl.

“In this economy, it’s a do or die type situation,” Forstl said. “It was pretty slow here, but once the homes came up, traffic spiked.”

Two homes are completed and a four-plex is in the works at the Gypsum development.

“Getting them up was a major thing,” Forstl said. “It’s hard to buy something you can’t see or touch.”

Eight single-family homes and townhomes have been sold, money has been put down on 14 condominiums and six people working through the pre-approval process, said Forstl.

More and more people have stopped by to see the finished product, Forstl said.

“There are a lot of families driving by on the weekends with cars full of kids,” he said. “People who are living in a two-bed Avon or Edwards condo.”

The development is a partnership between the town of Gypsum, Meritage Development and Eagle County, which invested $4.5 million in the project. The finished product will be a mix of 339 deed-restricted and free market condos, townhomes and single-family homes.

A third of the homes will be under the county’s deed-restriction, which has appreciation caps and residential requirements, a third will be under the town of Gypsum’s, which do not have appreciation caps, but have residential and income requirements, and the rest will be free market.

The Vail Valley is likely to see two years of tough economic times, said Don Cohen executive director of the Economic Council of Eagle County.

But because Stratton Flats requires less up-front cost than most area developments, it’s in better position to handle the poor economy, Cohen said.

“Some kinds of developments you have so much infrastructure that has to go in, the pre-sale is really important,” Cohen said.

That’s not the case with the Gypsum development, Cohen said.

The modular homes are pre-made in a factory, then shipped in pieces when they’re purchased. The homes are assembled on site.

“There’s no speculative buying,” Cohen said.

Critics of the project have said the county’s investment is too risky, but Cohen said he hasn’t seen any signs of the project being in trouble.

“I think Stratton is in much better shape,” he said.

Forstl said they’re trying to adapt the development to the tough economy by offering a lease-to-own product to those that might not have enough for a down payment.

Deed-restricted homes require a $3,000 down payment. Buyers need a $5,000 down payment for the free market homes.

“Getting a loan is a lot harder than it was two years ago,” Forstl said. “We’re having so many people that are really close to getting a loan, and two years ago they would have been able to.”

Forstl said the program would allow a buyer to lease a house if they didn’t have enough for a downpayment. Ten percent of the monthly lease would go towards the downpayment, Forstl said.

“We’ll put them in a house and lease it to them until they can get their downpayment together,” he said. “We’re one of the only places for deed-restricted (housing) and we had to adapt.”

Staff Writer Chris Outcalt can be reached at 970-748-2931 or

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