Silverthorne completes it largest workforce housing development yet with construction of more rental units on the way

Silverthorne recently completed the buildout of the Smith Ranch Workforce Housing Neighborhood, which is the town’s largest investment in workforce housing yet. 

The completed part of the development consists of 214 homes. This features 50 single-family houses, 68 duplexes and 96 townhomes, which are all for-sale and deed-restricted units. No short-term rental licenses will be permitted for these 214 residences, according to the Summit County Housing Authority. 

The town has begun construction on another aspect of this development, the Smith Ranch Apartments, which will include 135 affordable housing rental units. The project consists of 79 one-bedroom units, 25 two-bedroom units and 31 three-bedroom units.

Assistant town manager Mark Ledial said that applications to live in the rental units should open in the fall.  

With the housing portions of the developments completed and underway, the town still has land associated with the development that is set aside for commercial uses. Adjacent to the Smith Ranch Apartments, the town reserved land for future commercial development, including a grocery store.

“We’ve preserved enough land for about 50,000 square feet of commercial, so that would include a 30,000-square-foot grocery store, roughly, and then 20,000 square feet of other retail uses,” Leidal said.

The town has no timeline for when construction for this parcel will begin, he said, and there have been no talks about what grocery store brand will occupy the space. 

The town noted that all units for the Smith Ranch Workforce Housing Neighborhood are already occupied, with the last family moving into their unit in October.

The 214 units in the development are eligible for people who fall into the range of 80% to 120% of the area median income. 

The single-family homes were listed in the ballpark of $435,000 and have three bedrooms and three bathrooms. 

The area median income breakdown is as follows: 15 units at 80%, 13 units at 85%, 10 units at 90%, 27 units at 95%, 36 units at 100%, 10 units at 105%, 36 units at 110%, 16 units at 115%, 51 units at 120%.

Leidal said the single-family homes fall on the higher end of the range. The townhomes fall in the middle, while the duplexes and apartment units fall on the tail end. 

The 135 rental apartments that are being built will be split into three buildings, two of which will be income-capped at 80% to 120% of the area median income and one of which will be capped at 30% to 60%.

The town began planning Smith Ranch back in 2008 when it purchased the 51 acres for about $3.5 million after a housing needs assessments demonstrated a need for more workforce housing. 

This followed a 2006 ballot measure, 5A, in which Summit County voters approved the usage of temporary sales and use tax revenues as well as a development impact fee on new construction or affordable housing.

Ledial said that these 5A funds allowed the town to make its first significant workforce housing investment. While the land was purchased in 2008, construction did not begin until 2017. 

“It’s pretty exciting, from the town’s perspective, to have it built out within the five year timeframe from when we started and to have it now be complete,” Leidal said.

Silverthorne issued a request for proposals looking for a developer and signed a development agreement with Compass Homes Development and Summit Homes Construction for the 214 units. Leidal said the developer Gorman and Co. will be doing the 135 rental apartments. 

Silverthorne set aside 21 acres for open space and 1.8 acres for a childcare center, which the Wildflower Nature School moved into in September.

Construction began on the first 60 units, known as Phase 1, during summer 2018, with the first family moving into Smith Ranch in early 2019. Prior to this construction, infrastructure work was done to square out things such as roads and sewers to be able to develop units.

The cost to the town included $3,550,877 for infrastructure, $3,569,710 for the land and $12,914,409 in subsidies. The total contribution from the town for the development of 214 units was just over $20 million. Silverthorne invested a cash subsidy of just under $1.63 million for the 135 rental units.

“Out of all the 214 units, we are subsidizing them to the tune of about $93,000 per unit,” Leidal said.

This article is from Summit Daily News, published on December 10th 2023 by Kit Geary.

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