Western Colorado University proposing housing development

200 new units near Paintbrush

[  By Mark Reaman  ]

Western Colorado University is pursuing a major block of student and workforce housing that would ideally be ready for occupancy in the fall of 2023. The proposal includes 320 new student beds in 80 units along with 60 apartments for WCU faculty and staff and another 60 workforce housing units for the community in general. For the 200 units, there would be 274 parking spaces. Initial estimates are that the projects would cost about $83 million.

Associated with Servitas Property Management of Dallas, Texas that has 20 years experience in developing such major housing developments around the country, the so-called Signal Peak Ranch located adjacent to the new Paintbrush affordable housing project would start taking reservations for the housing this coming November. WCU chose to partner with Servitas last summer after putting out a request for proposals. 

“Workforce housing has long been a need in our community, and now we’re seeing it more and more on a state and national level,” noted WCU communications officer Chris Rourke. “This project shows that Western leaders are very much concerned about helping to find solutions and being a good community partner.”

The buildings would be constructed north of the University’s maintenance facility on nine acres with sustainable principles in mind and the development team is looking at how best to include solar panels. The units are intended to be pet friendly and have several amenities including fire pits, bike and ski repair stations and picnic areas.

WCU vice president of administration Julie Baca said that while the project does not need City of Gunnison or county approval, both have been kept in the loop and have shared their thoughts on how best to proceed with the development.

“Timing will depend on when we execute our contracts and when they can get started,” Baca explained. “I do believe we can have a substantial number of units constructed in 18 months with a spring start. Historically, on campus we would complete major projects in 12 months, but that is no longer possible with the impacts of COVID on labor and supply.”

Servitas would run the development and at the end of a 50-year lease, the buildings would be given to WCU.

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