Even before she moved furniture into her new apartment at The Reserves at Steamboat Friday afternoon, Gabriela Valdez set up her kitchen. A trio of decorative plates painted with images of roosters hangs over the kitchen sink.
“I’m so happy,” Valdez said. “This is amazing.”
Valdez and her family are among the first five households to move into the income-restricted affordable apartments on Elk River Road on the west side of Steamboat Springs. On Friday, Emelanio Castro was helping Valdez move furniture she acquired from the Ptarmigan Inn into the apartment.
The Reserves is a collaboration between the city of Steamboat Springs through their funding of the Yampa Valley Housing Authority, as well as $400,000 in cash support from the city and Routt County.
YVHA owned the building site just north of U.S. Highway 40, but the breakthrough that allowed construction of the 48 two and three-bedroom apartment came in the form of federal income tax credits awarded to the project by the Colorado Housing Finance Authority.
The process of leasing the apartments to people who earn 40, 50 and 60 percent of median income here began in February and is unfolding slowly as Ross Management goes through the compliance process — verifying income for example — with each of the households whose completed applications were accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis. The rent on a three-bedroom varies with household income between $700 and $1,000 a month.
YVHA Executive Director Jason Peasley said this week that households who have been informed they are in line for an appointment should not become anxious because they haven’t yet received confirmation of a move-in date. They can confirm their status through Ross.
Peasley gave a tour Friday of an unoccupied three-bedroom apartment with its woodgrain vinyl flooring in the living room, knotty alder cabinets and nine-foot ceilings. In the hallway there is a laundry closet, and among the carpeted bedrooms, the master has a small walk-in closet. All of the apartments have private patios or decks. Pets are allowed.
When a mini trackhoe working on landscaping rolled by outside, it was evident the apartments are well insulated. That’s due to 2X6 framing, R22 insulation and quality windows, Peasley said. The ceilings are even soundproofed to a degree by drywall installed on a redundant channel that minimizes vibration.
The project includes a community building, with a kitchen, small fitness room and indoor mail cluster box, as well as a “tot lot” to help foster a sense of community. There’s also a concrete pad poured in anticipation of a basketball hoop, and a plot for a community garden has also been identified, Peasley said.
City and county officials will join Housing Authority board members April 27 for a tour of the project.
Enterprise Community Investment Inc. purchased the tax credits for $13 million — $2 million more than anticipated — on behalf of American Express, making it YVHA’s equity partner in the housing project.
Overland Property group of Kansas was selected as the developer of the project. Enterprise, in turn, selected Ross Management to manage The Reserves. Ross has a long track record of managing similar projects on the Front Range.
“This has been such a positive experience, I wish we had another in process,” Peasley said. “It’s fun to see locals moving in.”
One of the keys to building an additional affordable apartment project, he said, is finding a patient property owner willing to wait for the Housing Authority to work through the process of acquiring a new round of federal tax credits to create the equity the housing authority needs to move forward.