Affordable housing group seeks to buy out contract

RALF wants to move forward with West End housing project

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— The Regional Affordable Living Foundation wants to buy out the developer who owns the contract on the land for the West End Village project in order to bring the entire property under its control.

With a little luck and a lot of money, that could allow RALF to offer more affordable housing.

RALF Executive Director Rob Dick received $250,000, split evenly between the city and county on Tuesday and told the City Council of his plans to buy out investor Steve Cavanagh, who initially teamed with RALF to create the project.

RALF still plans to offer at least 50 percent of the 137 units in the project to people making 120 percent of the area median income or less, but could be able to offer more affordable housing with the help of a generous investor, Dick said.

"We will make every effort to accommodate as many people as we can," he said.

Dick said there are 75 people who have already expressed interest in buying a home in West End Village, which is off of Downhill Drive.

RALF still needs to make sure those people qualify for the affordable homes.

The city and county had already pledged $250,000, which was budgeted over two years, to help affordable housing in West of Steamboat, and had made Dick a pledge this year that the money would go toward the West End Village project. The city and county financing is contingent on a few factors. First of all, RALF will have to eventually give the money back to the governmental entities after selling the lots.

Secondly, the nonprofit group will have to secure a "credible contractor" to do the project. Lastly, RALF will have to find the rest of the money elsewhere.

Dick said Cavanagh has been a good partner, but RALF can accomplish more of its goals if it goes ahead without him. RALF will have to pay Cavanagh to buy out the contract, which could cost the group $100,000.

Cavanagh would not comment on the potential transaction.

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