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Mountain News: Burlingame makes Aspen dream affordable



ASPEN, Colo. – Aspen’s newest installment of affordable housing is now taking shape. It’s out on the edge of town, at a place previously called Burlingame Ranch, which is what the 84 condominiums are also called. In time, there will be more than three times as many housing units, mostly condos, but a few single-family homes. Prices in the units so far have ranged from $100,000 to $500,000.

“What was once an empty field... is now a vibrant neighborhood with children playing outside and their parents visiting one another over beers after work,” reports Carolyn Sackariason of The Aspen Times. “Trikes, bikes and barbecue grills sit on patios and decks. People stroll the streets, waving at their neighbors and stopping for conversation.”

The design is what architects call “livable neighborhoods,” with several clusters of multi-family buildings positioned around community green space. Housing is arranged so that families and singles live together. Residents come from a broad range of the Aspen workforce.

“The people who live here are the people who run Aspen,” said Kristi Kavanaugh-Bradley, who is group sales director at St. Regis, a condo-hotel.

Sackariason found people “living the Aspen Dream, with million-dollar views, a close-knit community and an opportunity to be homeowners in one of the nation’s most sought-after places.”

In Aspen, and increasingly other ski towns, affordable housing is not just for beginners. Future offerings at Burlingame will be geared toward those who make $50,000 to $100,000 a year.

Aspen Mayor Mick Ireland said that public officials realized in the early 1990s that their original idea — affordable housing would allow locals to save money and then buy into the free market — wasn’t realistic. Instead, the affordable housing program has allowed people to move from affordable unit to unit, as their families and salaries grow.

But given current funding, the rest of Burlingame will have to wait. A real-estate transfer tax and a sales tax together generated $11 million last year. But the average per-unit subsidy, including land costs and infrastructure, was $62,500. Aspen residents this fall may be asked to approve up to $93 million in bonds to fund several projects, including the remaining two phases of the Burlingame project.


Chill lift, but hot beds needed

TELLURIDE, Colo. – Lift lines are almost non-existent at Telluride, the slopes rarely cluttered, the powder skiing phenomenal for those willing to do a bit of hiking.

So why would the ski area operator install a $2.2 million fix-grip quad to add even more ski terrain?