Lottery a chance for housing

Eligible residents choose among West End Village units

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— Krista Andress of Steamboat Springs won a lottery Thursday, but she won't receive a windfall of money.

Instead, she and her husband won the chance to budget for a mortgage and homeowners association fees.

A lottery was held at Cen--tennial Hall to decide the order in which 14 qualified residents get to choose one of 10 deed-restricted affordable housing units being built in West End Village.

Andress' name was drawn second, so she reserved one of the two three-bedroom units being built. That means her children each will have a bedroom, and mom and dad can start building equity in their home, which should be completed by late summer.

"I'm totally psyched," said Andress, a certified nursing assistant who has been renting in Steamboat since last July. "I think it's great."

Although the units are deem--ed affordable, Andress said she and her husband need to figure out whether their family can afford one. The units are priced between $240,000 and $285,000. Finding a home they can afford in Steamboat has been difficult, she said.

"It's a roller-coaster ride emotionally," Andress said. "I was elated when I found out we were number two."

The townhome units are being built in West End Village north of U.S. Highway 40 on the west end of Steamboat.

To have been eligible for the lottery, buyers must be employed in Routt County, and use the townhome as a primary residence. Eligible buyers also cannot have a net worth of more than $250,000 and must fit income restrictions.

The West End Townhomes project is one of the first in the area in which a private developer has volunteered to build and sell units deemed affordable housing. Half of the 20 units in the development are deed-restricted. Construction on the 10 market-priced units will begin at the end of summer.

For JSM builders Jeremy MacGray and his partners J. Brian Heit and Andrew George, this means selling the townhomes at close to what it costs to build them.

"He voluntarily agreed to deed restrict 50 percent of the property," said Yampa Valley Housing Authority board president Kathi Meyer. "We're pleased that a private developer has the business plan that this will work with him."

MacGray has said he chose to build the affordable units because they were appropriate for the West End area, and he wanted to give something back to the community that helped him get his start in the business.

Andress and her husband will start building equity in their home, but it likely will not be at market rate.

To keep the units affordable over time, the deed-restrictions limit appreciation to 5 percent a year. That's about half the rate typically seen in Steamboat during the past five years.

"In five years, when these sell for lower than market, that's when this project is successful," said Norbert Turek of Elk River Realty, who is working with the developer to sell the units.

-- To reach Matt Stensland, call 871-4210

or e-mail mstensland@steamboatpilot.com

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