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Officials preview Buffalo Ridge

Staff Reports

Local community leaders and government officials joined the developers of Avon’s newest affordable rental housing complex Friday, March 14, during an open house reception to showcase the Buffalo Ridge Apartments.The 244-unit complex, located on the north side of Interstate 70 and just east of Avon’s public works facility, features 15 buildings comprised of studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom units. Renters have already moved into the first completed building, with a second building slated to open later this month. All 15 buildings are expected to be completed and available for rent by September.”We are very excited to start bringing these rental units on line, supplying affordable, quality housing to our community’s workforce,” says Jeff Spanel, managing partner of Wintergreen Homes, Inc., a developer of affordable for-sale and for-rent housing in resort communities for 15 years.Wintergreen, along with Polar Star Development, LLC and Corum Real Estate Group, Inc., collaborated on developing the Buffalo Ridge project. Wintergreen’s successes include Avon’s EagleBend Apartments and Avon Crossing, and with Corum, the Avon-based company developed Kayak Crossing, an affordable housing complex in Eagle-Vail.”We intend to house many of Avon’s and the county’s current employees, as well as the new employees who will be working at The Home Depot and Super Wal-Mart,” says Gerry Flynn, president of Polar Star, referring to the large retail stores that are part of the Village at Avon and expected to open in May and July, respectively.Corum is responsible for on-site management. “The leasing office is open and we are experiencing significant interest in the project,” says Corum’s Jamie Fitzpatrick. “We are very pleased with our leasing progress to date.”Buffalo Ridge is being built in conjunction with the 1,790-acre Village at Avon mixed-use development. Traer Creek, LLC, the developer of the Village at Avon, contributed the land for Buffalo Ridge and remains a partner in the development. According to Flynn, the importance of the assistance received from Traer Creek, the Town of Avon and other local and state agencies cannot be stressed enough.”In my mind,” says Flynn, who has developed numerous mountain resort affordable housing projects, “Avon is a leader in supporting not only affordable housing but a mix of homes to suit our ever-growing population.”In addition to land and developer fee deferrals, the financing features: $11.1 million in Private Activity Bonds from Colorado; 6320 sponsorship by Avon, as well as bond issuance; a $495,000 grant from the Colorado Division of Housing; a $600,000 grant from EagleBend Affordable Housing Corp.; $4.5 million in Low Income Housing Tax Credits; and tap fee waivers, deferrals or reductions from Traer Creek Metro District, Eagle-Vail Metropolitan District and Eagle River Water & Sanitation District.Bond financing ($26 million) was arranged by Kirkpatrick Pettis of Denver, who has acted as bond underwriters on several affordable housing projects in Eagle County. Sun America provided tax credit equity and participates as a partner. HUD provided credit enhancement to the bonds in the form of loan guaranties. FirstBank provided letters of credit for the benefit of HUD and Sun America. q– Vail Trail staff report


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