In 2005 the Town purchased a land parcel for what was then named the “Entryway Project,” (now home to the Recreation Center and Rodeo Place affordable housing). The location was deemed perfect for employee housing as it had outstanding views and excellent solar orientation, and would be within walking distance to parks and recreation and conveniently located along public transportation routes.
The Town held public meetings to determine demand, size, and price-range of the homes—collaborating closely with Snowmass Village residents, employees, and Town Council. From the public information they received, the project was designed with small to medium-sized homes to house young families. The Town anticipated that many of these homes would be sold to first-time homeowners.
“All parties voiced strongly that the project should not only be affordable for buyers, but also efficient, sustainable, and low-maintenance,” said Joe Coffey, Town of Snowmass Village housing director.
The project was ultimately built in four phases between 2006 and 2012, and—like so many housing project across the country—was impacted by the recession. In 2010, there was a substantial decline in the demand for new employee housing, and construction halted with three single-family homes and four duplex units remaining to finish the project. Council directed the Housing Department to solicit new home buyers with a market demand summary.
“The recession caused home prices to plummet down-valley, so assessing whether there remained sufficient demand and desire to live in Snowmass Village was key to moving the project forward,” said Robert Kauffman, owner of Kauffman Construction, Inc. and owners representative on the project. “The process took about one year, but once we determined there were enough qualified local buyers, all parties could put their energy into finishing the project.”
The Rodeo Place project ultimately benefitted from the economic climate in the long run as construction costs were renegotiated at each phase and the process became more streamlined amongst the Town, Kauffman, Coburn Development, Rudd Construction, and various contractors. Due to increased coordination and “recession pricing,” the last three phases of the project came in under budget.
The Town’s affordable housing stock now includes units ranging from studio apartments to 4/5 bedroom homes—housing approximately 700 people who work in Snowmass Village and/or Pitkin County.
“Without affordable housing, Snowmass Village would truly be more of a resort instead of a resort community,” Coffey said. “Rodeo Place put a lot of families in their first homes. It is incredibly rewarding to keep people here as they move through different life phases. There are a lot of kids in that neighborhood and it looks like a wonderful place to grow up.”