October, 2023 Update
The Town of Estes Park is partnering with the Estes Park Housing Authority to move this project forward. More discussions are forthcoming.
July, 2023 Update
The Town of Estes Park’s effort to build workforce housing on the Town-owned Fish Hatchery property is taking a new direction. Despite good faith efforts to reach an agreement to build this housing, the Town and its prospective development partners, AmericaWest Housing Solutions and Consolidated Housing Solutions, have not been able to reach agreement on terms. Challenging economic circumstances, which have changed dramatically since the development agreement process began two years ago, have made it difficult to keep proposed rental rates affordable while also ensuring that apartments are occupied by members of the local workforce. Accordingly, negotiations have concluded without agreement.
Since negotiations began, interest rates have more than doubled and construction costs have increased approximately 40 percent. Even with additional financial contributions, including a $2 million allocation from the County’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, the prospective development partners are still unable to reach an agreement that would honor the Estes Park Town Board’s commitment to building housing on the property intended to serve the local workforce.
While this turn of events will inevitably delay construction and there is much to consider with respect to next steps, the Town and Estes Park Housing Authority (EPHA) plan to continue evaluating the Fish Hatchery property’s development potential for publicly-owned workforce and/or attainable housing. An advantage of taking a step back and pivoting to a new approach is that the Town and EPHA will have more flexibility and control over both the design elements of the project and, ultimately, affordability of the rental rates for the housing units. The recently passed 6E ballot measure provides a dedicated and ongoing revenue source that can help finance construction of a project on the Fish Hatchery site. These funds, coupled with other potential grant opportunities from the state focused on workforce housing, present an opportunity to build housing at the Fish Hatchery property that is more aligned with the Town’s priority to provide more affordable housing for Estes Park’s workforce.
For more information, please contact Deputy Town Administrator Jason Damweber at firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about the project history and a previous effort to develop housing on this site.