Rodeo Apartments developer out as Granby invests in workforce housing parcel

Granby may be nixing its contracts with the prospective developer for the Rodeo Apartments, but the town still has big plans for the 30-acre parcel slated for workforce housing.

On Tuesday, following an executive session, Mayor Josh Hardy announced that the town has received little response from Mark Unicome, developer of Rodeo Apartments, causing the town to explore other options. Last October, Granby began withdrawing from its agreements with Unicome after the developer failed to close on the properties.

In 2003, Granby Ranch gave the property nestled between the Silver Sage subdivision and Flying Heels Rodeo grounds to the town on the condition it could only be used for attainable, affordable or workforce housing.

Unicome first submitted plans for the Rodeo Apartments in 2018, and the town signed a contract agreeing to sell Lot 1 of the subdivision on March 26, 2019 for $1.2 million with the developer agreeing two days later.

The anticipated closing date for the sale was June 5, 2019, but the developer never closed. In October of 2020, the town gave Unicome a 60-day deadline to finish the deal, which never happened.

Over the phone Wednesday, Town Manager Ted Cherry said staff was finalizing the town’s withdrawal from those agreements.

In the meantime, Granby’s trustees have decided to move forward with a couple projects that should make an affordable housing project more appealing to a new developer.

The big purchase the town made Tuesday was a 1.9 acre commercial lot adjacent to the town’s affordable housing plat. For $350,000, the town purchased direct access to US Highway 40.

Providing highway access was the main reason for buying the lot, but the rest could be used as part of the future development or be resold to recoup the purchase. That will be a future decision for the town board.

The other big investment Tuesday was the sewer line that would serve the proposed 310 units. There’s a sag in the line that would not allow the sewer to properly flow once it sees that amount of use.

The town board approved spending up to $47,822 for the engineering costs using American Recovery Act funds and other possible sources of funding.

While a developer would typically take these kind of fixes on, the town board felt that investing in these upgrades would help make building affordable housing more appealing to a developer down the line.

“We realize that affordable housing is not the easiest thing to build because it’s expensive to build,” Cherry said. “The board really felt that moving forward with these items can have some drop in place components to the project.”

As for the future of the lots formerly known as the Rodeo Apartments, Cherry said some housing initiatives would be coming to the town board in the next few months. Specifically, the town wants to identify what mix of use should be on that property. Instead of just apartments, it might be a mix of apartments, condos, single family homes or even senior living.

The annexation of that property has a strict area median income requirement of 80% to 120%, meaning someone living on the lot could not make less than 80% of the AMI or more than 120%. The town’s also exploring whether those requirements could be adjusted, along with allowing both rental and sale units.

“The board is really excited to move forward with something and definitely realizes it’s a huge issue not only in Granby, but in Grand County as a whole,” Cherry said. “I don’t think anybody believes this is going to solve everybody’s problems, but making a dent in the situation is certainly something we want to see happen.”

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