Construction picks up as 2016 summer building season approaches

“The buzz is that we are seeing the potential of our business district”

By Alissa Johnson

Construction jobs are likely to be plentiful this summer. The 2016 building season is shaping up to be another busy one, with activity picking up across the north end of the valley as summer approaches. Crested Butte looks to be nearly as busy as last year, and both Mt. Crested Butte and Crested Butte South are hoping to be busier than last year.

According to Bob Gillie, building and zoning director for Crested Butte, “We got up to 98 permits last year and my gut is that we’ll be a little short of that this year. I don’t have science to base that on except what we see going through BOZAR [the Board of Zoning and Architectural Review] and what have you.”

So far this year, the town has issued 17 permits, the same number as last year at this time, but without some of the large projects that came through last summer. Anthracite Place, the new Green Drake building on Elk, and a large remodel at Second and Elk all began in 2015.

“We’re expecting a busy year but probably not quite as big as last year in terms of valuation,” Gillie explained. “The valuation last year was closing in on $4 million for those 17 [permits]; this year it’s $1.2 million.”

While there has been talk about one large project, it’s too early to tell if it will become a reality. As a result, Gillie expects this year’s projects to consist of more residential projects and remodels.

On the mountain, there is some hope that new construction is on the rise. According to Carlos Velado, community development director, “If all the projects we are discussing come to fruition then we are expecting seven to eight new builds this summer. That would be up over the past few years quite significantly. [This year] we may equal the number for the past three years combined.”

Last year, Mt. Crested Butte issued three new construction permits. And so far, three new construction projects are going through permitting this year: a single-family dwelling at the Bridges on Columbine Hill, a single-family home on Anthracite, and a rebuild of Crested Mountain North, which burned down last spring.

Velado reported, “a lot of chatter right now but nothing at this point concrete. We are anticipating a busier summer building season this year.”

Down-valley in Crested Butte South, building activity is also on the rise. Association manager Dom Eymere expects the season to meet or exceed last year’s activity, when there were 10 single-family projects, two duplexes and three commercial projects.

In 2016, five new residential building permits and one commercial building permit have been issued—the latter for a project that includes three residential units, one office and one retail space.

The Crested Butte South design review committee is examining three additional single-family residences this week, and Eymere anticipates another four or five for the May meeting. He’s also seeing a lot of interest in commercial projects.

“We have been in discussion with several developers on larger-scale commercial projects, but don’t have any concrete plans as of yet. The buzz is that we are seeing the potential of our business district recognized on both a local and a regional level,” Eymere said.

To that end, the Crested Butte South property owners association board of directors is reviewing and rewriting its commercial area master plan. A subcommittee made up of board members, residential and business owners is spearheading the initial process, which will ultimately go through public comment and the county review processes.

According to Eymere, the committee is looking at the addition of “attainable housing” policies and multi-family dwellings to the commercial district, as well as amending some of the subdivision’s core standards for projects to provide clarity for potential developers.

The goal, Eymere said, is to “make sure we’re not the next industrial zone and are more of a business district. [The subcommittee will be] steering that in the right direction and making sure everybody shares the same vision.”

Eymere hopes the process will be completed by the end of the year or early 2017.


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