More than a dozen workforce housing developments on the map for the Vail Valley: Here’s where they’re located and when they will be built
EAGLE COUNTY — It’s always been difficult — and relatively expensive — to find housing in the Eagle River Valley. But the housing crunch in the valley could be as acute as it’s ever been.
A 2016 workforce housing study commissioned by Eagle County indicated a right-now deficit of about 4,500 units. There’s no way to get right-now action for that many units, but there has been progress.
The town of Vail in 2016 adopted a 10-year housing plan with the ambitious goal of adding 1,000 deed-restricted units to the town’s inventory by 2027. Those units won’t all come from new construction, but will also reflect sales of existing units. Still, the town has 112 for-sure units coming on line over the next couple of years, starting with the 32-unit Chamonix townhome project in West Vail. The town in the next couple of years will see 65 deed-restricted apartments at Solar Vail and another 15 apartments at the just-approved Mountain View Residences in Vail Village.
Elsewhere in the county, there are units being built in Gypsum and planned in Edwards and Eagle. Those units are a mix of both deed restricted and available on the free market.
Housing will always be one of the biggest challenges to living in the Eagle River Valley, but after years of relative quiet, there’s some real action, either on construction sites or drawing boards.
Here’s a look at some of the projects currently being built or planned in the valley.
Location: 2310 Chamonix Road, just to the north and east of the West Vail fire station.
Owner: Town of Vail.
Developer: Triumph Mountain Properties.
The plan: 32 deed-restricted townhomes.
Why it’s a big deal: The town bought the property in 2002. After sitting for several years, town officials a few years ago started planning the project. What evolved from the planning process was a 32-unit townhome development. Home prices aren’t entry-level, but the idea is to create a neighborhood for people who plan to spend years in town.
A lottery held in May determined buyers for the 32 units, but now that six of the buyers drawn have opted out ahead of a final payment due to the town, the Vail Town Council has agreed to allow the remaining contract holders, as well as buyers on the original wait list, the opportunity to select from the available units in the same selection order as the original lottery held in April.
The six townhomes currently available include four three-bedroom, three-bathroom, two-car garage properties; and two two-bedroom, two-bathroom, two-car garage properties. The homes are priced at $599,000 and $499,000, respectively.
The townhomes are being built in stages, with completion of the first three townhomes available for move-in during mid-January. Delivery dates will vary, with all homes completed by early April.
What’s next? This new selection process will take place after the holidays, with additional details to be announced. In the event there are available units remaining, a second step will take place in which a new lottery will be held for new participants. For more information, contact George Ruther in the Community Development Department at 970-376-2675 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Location: 501 North Frontage Road, just east of Red Sandstone Elementary School.
Owner: Sonnenalp Properties.
The plan: 65 deed-restricted apartments, replacing the current 24-unit structure. The town of Vail has agreed to buy deed restrictions on all the units, at a cost of $4.225 million.
Why it’s a big deal: The town’s agreement to purchase deed restrictions.
That means the units can only be rented to people who work, on average, 30 hours per week at a business in Vail or elsewhere in Eagle County.
Most of the units will be reserved for Sonnenalp employees, but about 16 units will be available to either individuals or businesses that want to lease them.
While the town bought the deed restrictions — as part of the Vail Housing 2027 plan to build or buy deed restrictions on 1,000 units in the next decade — the town doesn’t have any other liability on this project.
What’s next? The project needs to run through the town’s normal approval process. Construction is expected to begin in the spring of 2018.
Location: 3700 North Frontage Road, just north of the East Vail interchange off Interstate 70.
Owner: Vail Resorts.
Developer: There isn’t one right now.
The plan: At this point, all Vail Resorts has is a rezoned parcel of land in East Vail. The 23.3-acre parcel was split, with 5.4 acres now zoned under the town’s “Housing” zoning district. The remainder is now in the “Natural Area Preservation” zoning district. The rezoning request received final approval from the Vail Town Council on Tuesday, Oct. 3.
Why it’s a big deal: Vail Resorts plans to hire a developer to submit plans for a project on the smaller of the two parcels. That project will be required to provide workforce housing for employees. The town and eventual developer will forge an agreement specifying the number of units, whether all will be rentals and other details, including building height and the portion of the property that can be built upon.
Many neighbors opposed the rezoning, arguing that building on the parcel could endanger a herd of bighorn sheep that uses the property for winter range. Supporters argued that the workforce housing shortage in Vail and the valley requires action and that wildlife mitigation plans will be part of what’s ultimately proposed for the property.
What’s next? Vail Resorts will hire a developer to create a plan and then move it through the town’s approval process.
Mountain View Residences
Location: 434 South Frontage Road, just east of the Vail Village parking structure.
Owner/developer: Peter Carlson’s Gore Creek Group.
The plan: Carlson on Tuesday, Dec. 19, earned final approval from the Vail Town Council to build a combination condo/apartment building atop an existing private parking structure.
The plan calls for 15 condos, 20 accessory units and 15 workforce housing apartments. While the apartments will be rented at market rates, it will bring 15 new rental units to Vail Village. Carlson also agreed to contribute $265,000 to the town’s housing fund.
Why it’s a big deal: There are only 48 workforce housing units in Vail Village right now.
The project has had to make two trips through the town’s approval process, thanks to improper legal notices given on the first application. During that time, Carlson has secured support from all 23 owners at Phase 1 of the Mountain View project. The nine owners of the Tyrolean Lodge condos remain opposed to the plan, citing its size, among other objections.
What’s next? Construction is expected to begin in 2018, and should take about 14 months to complete.
Marriott Residence Inn
Location: 1783 North Frontage Road. That’s just east of Vail’s City Market, on the site of the old Roost Lodge, which was torn down in 2014.
Owner/developer: Peter Dumon, the Harp Group, both based in Chicago.
The plan: The project, approved by the Vail Town Council on Feb. 21 of this year, calls for 170 hotel rooms and 102 apartments. Nearly 100 of the apartments will be deed restricted. They’ll lease at market rates but can only be occupied by people who work an average of 30 hours per week in either Vail or Eagle County.
Why it’s a big deal: It brings 100 private-sector apartments to Vail. The project was opposed by many neighbors, who objected to the size of the building on its 1.99-acre site.
While workforce housing advocates supported the plan, neighbors opposed it, saying the structure is simply too large for the property, the Vail Town Council voted 4-3 to create what’s called a special development district for the project to move forward.
What’s next? The town and the Harp Group continue to work on a development agreement for the project. Construction could start in the spring of 2018.
FORMER FIRE STATION
Location: 90 Benchmark Road, Avon. The building looks like a fire station because up until recently, it was.
Owner/developer: Town of Avon.
The plan: The Eagle River Fire and Protection District vacated the town of Avon’s fire station in the fall of 2017, leaving behind a dorm-style housing opportunity. The original plan was to find an artist-in-residence type program to serve the town’s goals of creating an art district in the area; however, in examining the limited window of time the town had before the start of the winter season, and the need for housing, the council decided it would be better to make the dorms available to a local business.
Why it’s a big deal: For Venture Sports, which ended up leasing the space, housing was coming in direct conflict with employee retention.
“It was vital for me,” Venture Sports owner Mike Brumbaugh said. “I had two guys, both who are incredible assets to me, and they both said, ‘If I can’t find a spot, I gotta leave.’”
What’s next? The lease goes through May 15, 2018. At that time, Avon will look at its options, which include leaving the space as employee housing or converting it into an artist-in-residence opportunity.
Location: South of U.S. Highway 6 and immediately west of the Eagle River Mobile Home park.
Owner/developer: Gore Creek Partners LLC.
The plan: The proposal calls for 120 one-, two- and three-bedroom units located in nine buildings on the 5.727-acre site. Proposed rental prices for the 6 West units will be around $1,300 per month for one-bedroom units, $1,900 per month for two-bedroom units and $2,300 for three-bedroom units.
The property proposal also includes plans for a 3,000-square-foot community building, with amenities including a fitness center, business center, cyber/coffee cafe and indoor-outdoor areas for socializing. Also planned are a dog park, small playground and bike and ski-tuning areas.
Why it’s a big deal: In their review of the plan, Eagle County staff noted there is a demonstrated community need for the project. The county’s own statistics show there is a need for 4,466 workforce housing units today and a projected need for 11,960 workforce units by 2025.
What’s next? Eagle County has approved three key actions clearing the way for 6 West — a 1041 permit, a planned unit development application and a zoning change. The development now has to present its final plan and then will be approved to begin construction.
Location: South of Eagle on Brush Creek Road.
Owner/developer: Abrika Properties LLC
The plan: 837 homes approved several years ago.
Why it’s a big deal: It’s Eagle’s first big development since Eagle Ranch was developed.
What’s next? They’ll submit an application in January for their first phase.
Location: Sylvan Circle at the Sylvan Lake Road roundabout in Eagle.
Owner/developer: Jonathan Warner.
The plan: 42 units approved on five acres.
Why it’s a big deal: It continues Eagle’s effort toward creating affordable and/or workforce housing.
What’s next? Construction could start during 2018.
Location: Brush Creek Road on the south side of Eagle.
Owner/developer: John Purchase.
The plan: Purchase got his approval for 36 units, which could increase by a few.
Why it’s a big deal: Purchase wants to build duplexes on single-family sites. The price point is slated to be about $500,000 for around 2,000 square feet of space with unfinished basements.
What’s next? Construction could start in 2018.
Location: Wall Street, across Sixth Street from Eagle Town Park.
Owner/developer: Joe Frasco and Les Samuelson
The plan: An eight-unit townhouse development.
Why it’s a big deal: It continues Eagle’s effort to create development near its downtown core.
What’s next? The project was approved, and construction could being soon.
Spring Creek Village
Location: South of U.S. Highway 6 between Valley Road and Jules Drive in Gypsum.
Owner/developer: Polar Star Development.
The plan: Formerly known as Stratton Flats, Spring Creek Village includes 282 apartments in 12 condo buildings, 76 townhomes in 19 four-plex units and 15 single-family homes. Amenities proposed include two playgrounds, a soccer field, a basketball court, community gardens, pickleball courts, a dog park, volleyball courts, trails, barbecue and picnic areas and a clubhouse facility. Additionally, there are two perimeter parking areas for residents’ recreational and off-road vehicles.
Why it’s a big deal: Residents of Spring Creek Village have objected to the plan, noting they bought into a single-family home neighborhood. The Gypsum Town Council rejected an initial proposal for the development but a reworked plan submitted six months later was unanimously approved. The developers say the project will meet a pressing need in the valley by offering both restricted and open-market rentals. The proposed rate structure for the restricted units would be $904 monthly for a one-bedroom unit, $1,094 monthly for a two-bedroom unit and $1,269 monthly for a three-bedroom unit.
For the market-rate units, the monthly charges would be $1,160 for a one-bedroom, $1,525 for a two-bedroom and $1,700 for a three-bedroom.
What’s next? The Gypsum Planning Commission is scheduled to review the Spring Creek Village preliminary plan and final flat applications beginning Jan. 3, 2018.
Location: South of the Eagle County Regional Airport in Gypsum.
Owner/developer: George Roberts.
The plan: The plan for the 170-acre site calls for development of 559 units, including 332 units in an age 55-plus community. Siena Lake will also include 227 units in a “mountain cottage” and high-end RV neighborhood. Planned amenities include creation of a lake at the center of the development, a private clubhouse, community center and other owner and resident amenities.
Planned public amenities include open space and a trails system, including improved motorized Bureau of Land Management public access and a town adventure park located near the site of the sledding hill south of Costco. A final component of the plan is mixed-use commercial development along Cooley Mesa Road, including as many as 32 live-work projects.
Why it’s a big deal: Siena Lake represents a totally new product in Eagle County — both with the age 55-plus community and the mountain cottage/RV neighborhood.
What’s next? The town of Gypsum has approved the concept for Siena Lake and now the development team is working on a detailed preliminary plan for the project. The next stage of review will address various development issues — such as traffic and neighborhood character — in detail.
Vail Daily staff writers Pam Boyd, John LaConte, Scott Miller and Randy Wyrick contributed to this article.
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