New apartments nearly ready in Gypsum |

New apartments nearly ready in Gypsum

Scott N. MillerVail, CO, Colorado

GYPSUM The local real estate market may be soft right now, but the way Bob Borchardt sees it, this is the perfect time to build some new apartments.Borchardts company, Summit Forest Development, is a little more than a month away from opening the Tower Plaza Suites apartments in Gypsum. Unlike virtually every other apartment complex opened in the valley over the last 20 years or so, Borchardts project is a completely private project, with no involvement from local government housing offices. Thats what I do, Borchardt said.And Borchardts no stranger to Gypsum. A builder in the valley for more than 20 years, Borchardt also built an office building across the street from the apartments about eight years ago, and has held the land hes now building on for about as long.Since theres not a lot of demand for commercial space in the valley now, Borchardt late last year started talking to town officials about perhaps re-zoning the land for some kind of residential project.The town had talked to me about doing some deed-restricted housing, but I didnt want to go there, he said.Borchardt instead proposed an apartment building and got his new zoning.While the for-sale market is somewhere between slow and stalled right now, Borchardt said this might be the perfect time to build apartments. For one thing, the valleys always-low apartment vacancy rate was less than 1 percent recently. For another, people still need places to live, whether they can qualify for a mortgage or not.Despite the valleys dearth of rental units, Borchardt said it could take a little time to get all 44 units leased. He plans to do background and credit checks on all potential renters.The people who move into the new complex will find some touches Borchardt hopes will provide a homey feel.The units have nine-foot ceilings, the ground-floor two-bedroom units all have small patios, and Borchardt said the building exceeds industry standards for noise insulation between units.The building wont have an on-site office, but a manager will live in one of the units, and the complexs main doors will be locked all the time and must be opened from the outside with a residents key. Borchardt is also limiting the number of people who can live in a unit to two per bedroom.And, tenants can bring certain kinds of pets no cats are allowed, but most dog breeds are.I always try to give people a nicer product, Borchardt said. I want people to have a nice environment to live in, and then theyll take better care of it.Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-293 or

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