Michaels Organization named community development partner for Brown Ranch

The Brown Ranch is a 536-acre property west of Steamboat Springs purchased by the Yampa Valley Housing Authority in August 2021.
Dylan Anderson/Steamboat Pilot & Today

In a special board meeting Thursday, the Yampa Valley Housing Authority Board voted to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with The Michaels Organization.

The MOU sets the stage for The Michaels Organization to be YVHA’s Community Development Partner for the Brown Ranch and is a document that outlines key terms of a future agreement between the two groups.

The Michaels Organization is the nation’s largest privately-held owner of affordable housing with 50 years of experience working in more than 39 states and with $11 billion of assets under management. This partnership will expand YVHA’s capabilities to build an affordable housing neighborhood, according to a YVHA news release.

The Brown Ranch development is dependent on an annexation agreement with the City of Steamboat Springs, which would provide municipal services to the new neighborhood. The Brown Ranch Annexation Committee still is negotiating the agreement and has two more meetings scheduled on July 12 and July 26.

The Routt Board of County Commissioners and the Steamboat Springs City Council established the Yampa Valley Housing Authority in 2003 to address the ongoing issue of affordable housing. They charged the organization with planning, financing, acquiring, managing and operating housing programs for low- and moderate-income residents employed in Routt County. 

“We are excited to bring on such a respected, talented and experienced community development partner to the Brown Ranch project,” said Leah Wood, YVHA board president. “Having a respected community development partner like The Michaels Organization allows us to move effectively and efficiently to achieve our vision. The Brown Ranch residents will live and connect in a vibrant, resilient, diverse and welcoming neighborhood that provides a wide variety of housing options and services designed by and for the Yampa Valley community.”

Bruce Morgan, Michaels’ senior vice president of development, shared similar sentiments.

“The Michaels Organization is extremely excited to come to Steamboat Springs and partner with the YVHA, a forward-thinking Housing Authority, and jointly work toward the implementation of their vision for Brown Ranch,” Morgan said. 

YVHA has a record of building affordable housing projects in Steamboat Springs with community development partners at Sunlight Crossing, Alpenglow Village and at the current construction at Angler’s Way. The Brown Ranch is the largest affordable housing development that YVHA will potentially undertake. In their recommendations last year, The Urban Land Institute suggested YVHA increase its capacity by hiring a community development partner who has worked on large-scale neighborhoods.

A request to the YVHA for a copy of the MOU had not been responded to at press time.

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