Final choice anticipated by mid-summer
By Mark Reaman
Progress continues to be made on the potential development of 17 acres at the Brush Creek and Highway 135 intersection. The owners of the property have narrowed potential developers down to two and they will be asked this week to prepare proposals on how to develop affordable housing and other public benefits on the property.
The property is jointly owned by Gunnison County, the towns of Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte, and Crested Butte Mountain Resort. The owners had put out a request for qualifications (RFQ) from developers and received five responses. One of them dropped out and last week the ownership group interviewed the remaining four. They selected Gatesco Inc. and Larimer Associates to continue in the process.
Gunnison County manager Matthew Birnie said Gatesco develops and manages multi-family housing, primarily in Texas. Larimer develops and manages commercial and multi-family properties primarily in Colorado, California, and New Mexico. The principals of both firms own houses in the north end of the valley and Gatesco has a small office on Elk Avenue. Both have put together teams with substantial local involvement (contractors, engineers, architects, etc.).
“They were invited to develop a proposal for the property,” explained Birnie. “We are finalizing the RFP [request for proposals] document now, and we will likely want to see the submissions from the companies toward the end of June. We are essentially looking for enough information for us to evaluate their plans and have them prepared to enter into the county land-use process.”
One hurdle is the water supply and what drainage the water will originate from and go bacak into. At a joint meeting with the Crested Butte Town Council last month, Birnie said while there were some issues to tackle, nothing was seen that would stop the project.
“There are obviously some complexities,” explained Birnie at the time. “The property is in the East River Sanitation District so sewer can be extended there. Water is more challenging and we are looking at that. The topography is nice. It is a big project and it will be complex. There are a lot of mitigation issues to deal with like traffic and views of the property. But it is a good opportunity for a nice development out there. I don’t see anything that is insurmountable out there.”
The official RFP will be sent out this week. The applicants will develop their proposals and the ownership group of “participating parties” will then choose a development team to negotiate with. Birnie said the hope is for the owners to pick a developer by mid-July.