Controversial Burlingame development in Aspen inches forward |

Controversial Burlingame development in Aspen inches forward

ASPEN – Plans for the second phase of Aspen’s largest and most controversial housing development are inching along, and elected officials are considering a delayed schedule that includes asking for a multi-million dollar bond next year and an increased budget for initial design work.

The Aspen City Council will discuss tonight the future development of Burlingame Ranch, which when completed, could include between 236 and 258 units. The 84 homeowners who live there now will be asked to vote in July on how much density they desire at the development, located off Highway 82 across from Buttermilk.

City officials have been in negotiations with the homeowners association board since January over the proposal to increase the unit count at Burlingame. The city’s latest offer is to build 258 units, according to Mayor Mick Ireland.

The majority of Aspen voters last fall approved developing up to 300 units at Burlingame rather than the originally envisioned 236. To increase the density, however, the city must first get unanimous approval from the phase one homeowners.

While board representatives have said in the past that most homeowners are against increasing the density, city officials are offering numerous concessions to homeowners in exchange for their blessing to build an additional 22 units. Officials want more units built there in an effort to reduce costs and maximize land that’s ready for development.

Once the homeowners vote, the city’s development team will finalize the design and drawings of the next phase. Conceptual and schematic design could be complete by the end of 2009, and will cost an estimated $1.5 million. The original estimate was $1,176,320, so another $323,680 will have to be appropriated, according to a memo written by Chris Everson, the city’s affordable housing project manager.

Because of additional costs added on during phase one, as well as criticism over the city’s management of the development, several recommendations were made on how to improve future oversight by the government.

The new approach for phase two will likely be what’s called an Integrated Project Delivery (IPD), which entails hiring a program manager, a design team, a contractor and a commissioning agent, according to Everson.

Both the project’s design and construction bid were supposed to be done by August so the council could have a bid in hand to make a decision on whether to approve a multi-million dollar ballot question this November that would ask city voters to approve funding the construction. But those plans have been put off a year.

“Given the current economic climate, the forecasted climate at a November bond election, and the need to finalize unit counts for the final Burlingame development and conduct a vote of Burlingame homeowners prior to giving a green light to architectural work, council has determined that any possible bond election would be pushed out to November 2010,” Everson wrote in his memo.

Having a schematic design and a budget by the end of the year should be enough information to give to potential partners who have shown interest in buying into Burlingame to house their own employees, according to Everson. Those partners include Pitkin County, the Aspen School District, Aspen Valley Hospital, the Music Associates of Aspen, the Aspen Skiing Co. and the Aspen Art Museum.

In 2010, city officials would complete the IPD process, get a bid for construction and go to voters for approval in November.

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