Steamboat Pilot & Today — The Yampa Valley Housing Authority is a big step closer to delivering the first new low-income apartment units in Steamboat Springs in more than 15 years.
The Housing Authority and development partner Overland Property Group recently learned their 48-unit affordable housing project in west Steamboat will be backed by nearly $11 million in low-income housing tax credits from the Colorado Housing Finance Authority.
“We’re just over-the-top excited,” Housing Authority Executive Director Jason Peasley said. “That’s obviously the biggest hurdle to getting this thing done, is securing the funding for it.”
The tax credits will be sold to investors to enable the Housing Authority to bring more equity to its partnership with Overland.
The housing project, tentatively called The Reserves at Steamboat, was one of 31 in the state vying for tax credits from the CHFA in a competitive application process.
Peasley said letters of support from local businesses and community members and a $400,000 financial pledge from the city of Steamboat Springs and Routt County helped the housing project earn the financial support from the state and rise above other projects.
The apartments in Steamboat will be built on land owned by the Housing Authority on Elk River Road, and the units will be available to households earning 40 to 60 percent of the area’s median income.
The project also will allow the Housing Authority to get out from under the debt it has been saddled with on the Elk River property.
“When we did get the approval, they said we had a great project, and the community support was overwhelming and really helped us,” Peasley said. “It’s rare you’ll get approved the first time around. I think we had a really strong team and a really compelling story around the need for affordable housing here in Steamboat.”
That need has been a topic of discussion at recent city council and county commissioner meetings, as well as among the local business community.
The local rental market was so tight during the winter, two of the city’s biggest lodging operations rented rooms in defunct hotels to house their seasonal employees.
The Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association is also concerned about the local housing station.
“With the economic recovery, people are getting priced out of the market,” Chamber CEO Jim Clark said. “We can’t provide employees to any of our businesses if the employees don’t have a place to live.”
Clark welcomed the news that the housing project in west Steamboat is moving forward and said it was a “big step” toward overcoming local housing shortages.
Overland and the Housing Authority are hoping to break ground on their housing project as soon as next spring.
The city has approved the conceptual design for the apartment project, but not all the entitlements are in place yet.
Peasley told Steamboat Today in May that rental rates at The Reserves would vary on a scale based on renters’ household income.
As of May 2015, monthly rent for the two-bedroom units would have ranged from $710 to $1,065, and three-bedroom units would have rented from $820 on the low end to $1,230 at the top of the scale.
Peasley said the last low-income apartment project built in the city was Mountain Village Apartments.
Those units were completed in the late 1990s.
“It’s long overdue for us to be developing this supply of apartments,” Peasley said.