Mid Valley housing project won’t start until 2024; Units at Anglers 400 could be ready by end of year
The two projects could add 300 more units before first homes at Brown Ranch are ready
The Yampa Valley Housing Authority’s Mid Valley project along U.S. Highway 40 in Steamboat Springs won’t start construction until 2024, as officials finalize the terms of the development deal.
While early plans called for 200 for-sale and rental units, housing authority Executive Director Jason Peasley said the mix of units at Mid Valley has continued to evolve. The current mix now includes 234 units — 150 for rent and 84 for sale.
Peasley said the housing authority is working through the entitlements process with the city and is ironing out a final development agreement with the Centennial-based developer Lone Tree Trust. Part of the delay is because of the “double whammy” of increased interest rates and higher construction costs, Peasley said.
“We’ve been working on getting the project to an area where we feel really happy with it, that it’s delivering the affordability and the product mix that our community needs,” Peasley said. “That’s taking longer than we would normally expect.”
The housing authority board met in executive session in January to discuss parameters of the Mid Valley development deal. The board also approved submitting an application for a $10 million grant for the project from a pot of money Colorado created for such projects using pandemic relief dollars.
Mid Valley and the Anglers 400 developments are the two housing projects the authority plans to bring on line before the first units at the Brown Ranch might be ready by the end of 2026. Together, the two developments will add more than 300 units.
The key difference between the two is the income levels they serve, with Anglers, which is expected to add 75 low-income units before the end of the year, serving lower income residents making between 30% and 80% the area median income and Mid Valley targeting middle-income folks making between 80% and 140% AMI.
AMI is a number that changes each year. Routt County’s AMI was $71,700 last year, an increase of 12% from 2021, according to the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority.
The increase led rents at the housing authority’s middle-income Sunlight Crossing development, which leased up last fall, to be higher than some people expected.
One issue through the lease up process was some locals came in just over the 80% AMI income requirements, meaning they didn’t qualify. Instead, they would have needed to pay more rent for a 120% AMI targeted unit, but some hopeful renters couldn’t take on the additional cost.
Peasley said that experience led the housing authority to alter its approach at Mid Valley, and the project will now have more “stratification.” Peasley said the housing authority intends to offer units throughout the income range, rather than just at either end of it.
“What we’ve been working on is honing in on a unit mix that’s complementary to what we provided at Sunlight, so it’s not such a leap from 80% to 120% units like Sunlight,” Peasley said.
Mid Valley will also include for-sale units, Peasley said, which is something residents have long asked for but that the housing authority has so far been unable to deliver. These units would have some type of deed restriction to ensure lasting affordability, a tactic that likely will also be utilized at Brown Ranch.
“We are taking all the value and all the lessons learned from the study that we did for Brown Ranch, and we’ll be putting that into practice at the Mid Valley project,” Peasley said. “What you see at Mid Valley is likely to be a similar or the same kind of deed-restriction regime as we would imagine at Brown Ranch.”
Snow stalling Anglers
Steamboat’s strong snow this winter has led to nearly a month of lost construction time for the 75-unit Anglers 400 development, which broke ground in March.
Despite the delay, Peasley anticipated units would still be ready for lease up before the end of the year, and there may be opportunities to make up lost ground as the project continues. The snow hasn’t directly led to cost increases, but having to shovel snow from the work areas has reduced productivity.
“I would say that (the workers) are doing a phenomenal job given the working environment that they inherited,” Peasley said. “They’ve been pushing through and I absolutely appreciate that. … It’s just a function of building in the mountains.”
Brown Ranch up next
Peasley said the housing authority doesn’t have another infill project in its pipeline behind Anglers and Mid Valley, though there is potential for another project.
One parcel that has been discussed is off of Hilltop Parkway and owned by the U.S. Forest Service. The 2018 farm bill gives the Forest Service the authority to lease land it owns long term for housing projects, but a deal isn’t expected anytime soon.
“It’s moving at a pace you might expect from the federal government,” Peasley said.
The housing authority is open to other potential infill projects within Steamboat, but nothing is at a stage where it would be brought on line before Brown Ranch units in 2026.
“We’re not entirely abandoning building infill product,” Peasley said. “But at the same point, Brown Ranch is taking up a lot of our attention and is something that we exclusively control, so it’s naturally where we put a lot of our effort.”
To reach Dylan Anderson, call 970-871-4247 or email danderson@SteamboatPilot.com.
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