Yampa Valley Housing Authority starts process to hire developer for Brown Ranch infrastructure
The goal is to have a designer, builder with community-scale experience on board this summer
The Yampa Valley Housing Authority is looking for an experienced developer to help bring the vision for the Brown Ranch crafted in a community-driven process to reality.
On Thursday, Feb. 9, the housing authority board approved a request for qualifications document that will be sent to developers in the Yampa Valley and far beyond to narrow down firms that could be a fee developer on the project.
This move follows a recommendation from the Urban Land Institute in December to bring in a partner that has more experience with community-scale development than the housing authority, which has built several apartment complexes, but not an entire community.
“For us to compliment the stuff that we’re really good at, we need to bring in partners that have skills that kind of round out the whole,” said Jason Peasley, executive director of the housing authority. “What that means is people that have experience building neighborhoods, full communities.”
The housing authority aims to deliver the first units at Brown Ranch by the end of 2026. Talks are in the works to craft an annexation agreement to bring more than 400 acres of the parcel within the city limits of Steamboat Springs.
This development partner will lead the design and construction for infrastructure like roads, sewer and water lines. This entity would also help facilitate the vertical construction at Brown Ranch.
Peasley explained that this qualifications process would be used to narrow down a shortlist of developers that would then put together a detailed proposal. The goal would be to have a developer on board sometime this summer.
While local developers will have the opportunity to get this role, because there has never been a similar sized development in the Yampa Valley before, this developer may ultimately come from beyond Routt County and maybe even from beyond Colorado.
“The types of folks that we are going to be bringing in are going to have experience outside Routt County because we haven’t built anything of this scale,” Peasley said. “We’re going to have organizations that have worked locally, and have worked around the nation, probably around the world, applying for this.”
Finding a developer that shares the values of the Brown Ranch is important, Peasley said, as the goal of the Brown Ranch is to address Steamboat’s housing struggle with homes planned by and for the community.
Having experience building major developments — Brown Ranch plans to have nearly 2,300 units — is also paramount. When chosen, this developer will be paid a fee for their work, but Peasley said ideally they would be able to help find efficiencies and avoid mistakes that will keep the project on track and hopefully reduce costs.
“They have a team that is built and scaled up to be doing this, whereas we would have to go out and buy that expertise,” Peasley said. “That’s our belief on how we can derive affordability is lowering the risk of unforeseen expenses.”
Even if the fee developer chosen isn’t local, Peasley said local contractors would still be involved in building the Brown Ranch.
“Sometimes there’s things you just don’t go out of town for,” Peasley said.
To reach Dylan Anderson, call 970-871-4247 or email danderson@SteamboatPilot.com.
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