Nearly a decade in the making, Frisco’s Peak One neighborhood finally reached completion this winter. The workforce-housing neighborhood sold out long before the final home was built, with all 69 units pre-sold in 2014.
“There’s obviously a huge demand for these homes,” Brynn Grey marketing and operations director Kate Clement said. “People are still — to this day — calling about availability.”
The development was formed through a public-private partnership between the town, developer Brynn Grey Partners, LTD and the Summit County Housing Authority. Local architect Matt Stais and Boulder-based Wolff Lyon architects created a design, while local engineer Jim Lenzotti assisted with water and civil engineering.
“My office was brought in to help make the design more appropriate for locals in Summit County,” Stais said. “My focus was also in sustainability.”
The project broke ground in June of 2010, with each home constructed to meet GreenStar energy certification. A park, small garden beds, walkways and a gazebo were also incorporated into the design.
Clement said the neighborhood houses several local families, with 16 kids on one street.
“It’s so great to come home and go sledding with the neighbors,” Clement, a mother of two, said. “It turns into a little playground after school.”
The two-, three- and four-bedroom homes also house young professionals, some of whom are purchasing their first property. She said empty nesters looking to move to the mountains also sought out the neighborhood. Some of the occupants include Summit Medical Center employees, local police and small business owners in Frisco.
“A neighborhood that’s occupied full time that radiates a lot of local energy,” she said. “We’ve created not just a sense of place but a sense of community.”
PRICING FOR LOCALS
In order to create a neighborhood occupied by locals, both income restrictions and working restrictions were incorporated. For example, to purchase a home, one member of the household is required to work in the county at least 30 hours per week.
Each home has a set three-percent per year maximum appreciation, to keep a home affordable throughout its lifetime. Six houses are set at 80 percent of Summit County’s annual median income (AMI), 35 are set at 100 percent, 17 are set at 120 percent and four at 160 percent. For eight of the homes, there is no income restriction, just the requirement that the owner works in the county. Down payments were also made available through the Summit County Housing Authority.
“People who move to Summit County strive to live here because the price of homes is well over $800,000 for a single-family home,” Clement said.
The market price of a three-bedroom home range from $700,000 to $800,000, she estimated. But in the Peak One neighborhood, it sells for nearly half the price, at $400,000. Peak One prices range from $200,000 to the mid $500,000s.
“For a dual-income family, it’s reasonable and reachable,” she said. “It really sets an example for what workforce housing can be in the mountains.”
THE COST OF AFFORDABILITY
Of course, income-restricted housing is no cheaper than any other form of development and requires public support to be financially viable. In the case of Peak One, Frisco contributed more than 12 acres of undeveloped land to make the project come to fruition.
“What we really did is we purchased the land and donated it toward the project,” town manager Bill Efting said. “We also worked with water taps for the residents.”
Frisco’s former community development director, Jocelyn Mills, helped oversee the project from start to finish. She joined the town shortly after the Peak One parcel was purchased from the U.S. Forest Service in 1998.
While Frisco had originally thought to use the land for a Nordic Center, studies showed that its current location at the peninsula would be a better fit. The idea for a workforce-housing development came forward several years later, when the town saw rising housing costs.
“We were recognizing housing was a big component of that — people fulfilling service jobs, doctors and we wanted them living full-time in Frisco,” Mills said.
Frisco put out an RFP for the property to be developed, forming the public-private partnership leading to a decade of development. While Frisco has some other affordable housing projects, this one provided needed spaces for single-family homes.
“It’s probably as successful as the council envisioned,” Mills said. “It certainly promotes the culture and character of Frisco.”