Converting Town Center Property Into Affordable Housing For Artists A Possibility For Carbondale

Converting Town Center Property Into Affordable Housing For Artists A Possibility For Carbondale

An effort to develop affordable housing for Carbondale’s creative sector was busy brushing the canvas last week.

In collaboration with Space to Create Colorado, Carbondale Creative District and Carbondale Arts, the city looks to develop three buildings on a 1.4-acre property donated to the city in 2021. Space to Create Colorado is a first-in-the-nation, state-led initiative focusing on affordable housing for people in the creative sector in rural areas. 

The 14 parcels in downtown, called the Town Center Property, would turn into a mix of commercial and affordable housing units for those who meet 80-150% of area median income (AMI) for Carbondale.

In deciding how to possibly develop the property, Carbondale hosted a community open house on Sept. 20 at the Third Street Center Calaway Room. Another open house is slated for 5:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the same location.

During the open house, project team members met with community members to obtain their input on initial sketches for development.

Project Team Member Elise Wolf said “there is a definite missing minimum” when it comes to the AMI standards affecting Carbondale.

“People who make too much money to live in affordable housing but do not make enough to buy in the free market — which captures a lot of people in the area — will be the ones who can benefit from this,” she said.

Keven Schorzman, Carbondale public work director, said the city will work with developers at Artspace Projects, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit developer for affordable spaces for artists and creative workers. Artspace began a feasibility study in Carbondale in 2017. 

The two entities will work in unison through development, building and future management in a private-public partnership. Carbondale will also look at multiple grant programs for funding. The total amount for the project is not yet available. 

“We are just starting to get the community’s feedback into what should be there [at the Town Center Property], what should it look like, what are the mix of different uses,” said Schorzman. 

Once developed, the units in all three buildings could be both for sale and rent but nothing will be known until a final design is approved. Carbondale is encouraging the public to attend these open houses to give their input on what they would like to see done regarding development. 

Schorzman said that a final design should be approved by the end of the year or early 2024.


Westley Crouch | The Aspen Times | September 27, 2023

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