Anonymous donor returns with $6M donation for housing authority to purchase 11 acres on Steamboat’s south side
The same anonymous donor responsible for funding the Yampa Valley Housing Authority’s purchase of the Brown Ranch this summer has returned with another contribution.
With a $6 million donation, the housing authority’s board of directors voted unanimously at a special meeting Friday morning to purchase 11 acres of property on the south side of Steamboat, one that could feature around 200 affordable or workforce housing units.
“(We’re) working with donors to find interim opportunities to deliver units that help bridge the gap between today and when the Brown Ranch is fully operational and starts delivering units,” said Jason Peasley, executive director of the housing authority.
The property is located immediately south of the commercial complex that houses Young Tracks Preschool & Child Care Center and UCHealth Urgent Care Clinic, abutting the Yampa River Core Trail. The most recent attempt to develop the parcel — known over the years as Steamboat Crossings South, City South and Valley Business Center — was in 2015 by an Australian-based developer, who submitted plans to the city for a 180-unit condominium complex. Despite being approved by the city, that project failed to move forward.
Now, the housing authority plans to use the land, which it had already been eyeing, for its next major housing development to help the area’s ongoing housing crisis.
Peasley said his organization is working with a sense of urgency, as it is understood the Brown Ranch — which will feature various housing types spanning almost 1 square mile north of U.S. Highway 40 west of Steamboat — won’t immediately solve the short-term housing issues.
“This is a boost to current development plans,” Peasley said.
Much is already known about the land since several entities had attempted to develop it in the past, according to Peasley. The housing authority is aware of multiple infrastructure-related projects that will be needed to develop the site, including a water line to be routed under U.S. 40 at a cost of about $500,000, and earthwork at the site “that’s above and beyond the normal scope” in the realm of $1 million to $1.5 million.
“We believe this is a really great site to develop,” Peasley told the board, noting it hadn’t yet been fully developed because of difficulty bridging the gap between the land cost and the large amount necessary to ready the land for development. “Not having the land cost makes a difference.”
While restrictions will be in place to ensure the site is used for affordable and workforce rental housing, board member Catherine Carson suggested it should also include for-sale units. Board member Roger Ashton agreed, and said the housing authority’s development team has already had a “robust” discussion for the possibility of including for-sale units.
Though, the point of Friday’s meeting was to line up all the necessary legal documents to purchase the property, not necessarily set any expectations of inventory or inventory type, said Cole Hewitt, chair of the housing authority board.
A general timeline, from when the housing authority decides to develop a site, is three years until people are moving in. Considering that, Peasley said a reasonable time frame for delivery of units with the newest property is late 2024.
With the sale contract signed, creating a request for proposal to find a suitable developer for the project is the next priority for the housing authority.
In the meantime, the housing authority is preparing to deliver 90 workforce housing units at Sunlight Crossing next summer, and groundbreaking on a 75-unit affordable housing development on Anglers Drive will take place in the spring.
To reach Bryce Martin, call 970-871-4206 or email bmartin@SteamboatPilot.com.
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