Massive Roam project gets initial OK, hopes to start construction this summer
WINTER PARK — The massive Roam development that ultimately plans to bring over 1,000 residential units and 70,000 square feet of commercial space to Winter Park will begin construction on its first phase this summer, but it will lead to the displacement of up to 40 residents.
Phase one of the development includes infrastructure, such as roads, several kinds of housing, such as single-family detached homes, townhomes, condominiums and custom lots, as well as mixed-use buildings with commercial space.
“The focus has been what will be the first neighborhood,” Jeff Vogel, principal on Roam, told the Winter Park Town Council on Tuesday. “The focus for filing one has really been the area to the north and the central section on the west side of the Fraser River, part of the reason for that is infrastructure and connectivity to the town core, so this is a really important piece.”
Roam’s first phase will stretch across 165 acres from Rendezvous Way to the existing location of Grand Adventures and Beaver Village Lodge on the east side of Highway 40. Developers plan to start construction sometime in May or June, depending on the weather, according to principal Chip Besse.
The main focus for the first phase is infrastructure, including extending Ski Idlewild and Vasquez Roads, as well as constructing two new roads within the planned neighborhood.
However, in order for this to happen, developers will have to demolish two existing residential buildings.
Beaver Village Lodges, which are located near the familiar, peaked building of Beaver Village Lodge off Highway 40 near the entrance to the town, consists of two buildings and 22 units that house around 35 to 40 residents. Those residents are mostly frontline and seasonal workers, according to Mark Johnson, general manager of Beaver Village Management.
Residents were notified in December that they would need to vacate the building by April 30 so that construction can begin.
Johnson said the property had been for sale since around 2008 and it was well-known that the Beaver Village Lodges would be taken down by the buyer.
“(The residents) knew this was coming; there are no surprises here,” Johnson said. “I think that it’s always been very transparent.”
He also noted that the residents have a month-to-month lease that only requires a 30-day notice to terminate.
However, he emphasized the lack of alternate housing in Grand County for the people who currently live in the Beaver Village Lodges. Johnson said many residents are planning to leave the county because they don’t have other housing options.
“We’re going to be losing a portion of our workforce because they have nowhere to go, they can’t afford it,” Johnson said. “It has nothing to do with Roam or the development, but we are so far behind the eight ball with housing.”
Grand Adventures, a snowmobiling outfitter, and Mad Adventures, an ATV outfitters, will also be moving. Owner Ryan Barwick said the businesses plan to relocate to Hideaway Station and that the Roam developers had worked with him throughout the process to limit any impacts to his businesses.
As for the fate of the Beaver Village Lodge building, Vogel said the developers are still considering what to do with the building.
“We’re continuing to evaluate the lodge and what we’re going to do with that,” Vogel said. “We’re not necessarily committed to taking it down because there’s some other things we’re looking at. (Developer Bob Fanch) is a big fan of adaptive reuse of buildings.”
Since it is still early in the planning phase, Besse said the number of units for each style of housing included in phase one, as well as the timeline for when they get up, will depend on when the infrastructure is completed. However, the first phase has plans for 120 lots, including 16 custom home sites.
Besse also explained that price points for the units won’t be available until after they have been designed, but that the price would reflect the quality of the units.
While none of the units in phase one will be designated as affordable housing, Roam will eventually give the town three acres of land to build workforce housing under the final development agreement with the town of Winter Park. The development is said to also contribute to the affordable housing fund through a .5 percent real estate transfer assessment each time a unit is sold.
Roam is also working with the town to construct roads that can be integrated into a future roundabout that Winter Park is considering on Highway 40 at the current entrance to the Beaver Village Lodge and Grand Adventures properties.
The Winter Park Town Council approved the preliminary plat for the first phase at a Tuesday evening meeting with some conditions regarding the details of construction and easements on the property.
Roam will have to meet all of the conditions set by the town before they can bring the final plat for the development and begin construction.
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