Construction continues at Fading West’s factory off Gregg Drive as The Farm enters development phase 2.
“As of today we are about 75% complete,” Fading West CEO Charlie Chupp said July 13.
Chupp said that the factory’s target finish date is Oct. 15 and that production should start in mid-November.
The factory’s first project will be a 77-unit apartment building as part of The Farm phase 2.
“We have worked closely for over a year with the town of Buena Vista on our apartment project. They have been very supportive and excited about the addition of much needed rental units in town,” said Chupp.
“They’ve turned in their site plan for the 77-unit apartments. It was always part of their phase 2 plan, so it’s something we anticipated,” said town administrator Phillip Puckett.
Puckett said his team is currently reviewing Fading West’s site plan, after which the process will move on to the building permit.
“That’s one of the reasons we supported that development upfront is the vision is a place the community can live. We’re excited to see the apartments come through the process. It’s going to be a huge addition to our housing inventory,” Puckett said.
Chupp worked for 20 years in commercial manufacturing for his grandfather’s business in Florida. During that time he oversaw the company’s transition from supermarket equipment to manufacturing and construction of franchise food service locations. Clients included Starbucks and Einstein Bros.
“We put together kind of these turn-key store packages for them. So we would build all the cabinetry, do all the metalwork, graphics, big canopy structures, consolidate all of their equipment, even down to all the small wares, forks and knives. We would ship it all out together at one time. Our installation crew would meet it and we would put together these small stores in about 4 or 5 days,” he said in an interview last month on KHEN Salida.
Units in phase 1 at The Farm were manufactured in factories in Nebraska. Transport not only added to costs, but limited dimensions. Chupp explained in the interview that Colorado law allows for 18-foot-wide modular transport, whereas Nebraska’s limit is 16.
As Fading West continues to develop its mission to bring affordable housing to Buena Vista and other Rocky Mountain towns, Chupp has observed some of the same trends as local government. For one, the housing crisis is only deepening under market forces.
“We thought, ‘Oh, man if we add 218 units of housing, certainly that has to level the demand and supply balance and certainly the market will adjust.’ But what we didn’t foresee was just the massive influx of people coming in who want to be part of these communities in the Rockies, coming out of the Front Range. COVID is really pushing a lot of remote work that we’re seeing,” Chupp said.
Chupp went on to say that appreciation of units developed in phase 1 at The Farm are between 25 and 30% per year.
“Phase 1 resale prices have skyrocketed. This is great for our owners but doesn’t accomplish our mission of creating long-term, attainable housing,” he said.
More than half of phase 2 units are planned to be sold with deed restrictions for this reason. Chupp also said that a number of phase 2 units would serve as temporary housing for factory staff, until the apartment project is finished.
“We expect to have units ready for renters by the end of March 2022,” Chupp said.
The factory is expected to bring roughly 100 permanent jobs to Buena Vista.
84% of phase 1 units are primary, full-time residences and none are licensed for short-term rental. The first five units of phase 2 are well underway, adjacent to the northeast corner of phase 1.
Chupp said that in addition to attractive architecture, community is a primary focus.
This informed the layout of The Farm, which has car-ports and private spaces in the rear of units that all face common green spaces and come with front porches.
“One of my friends who’s in charge of selling all the units out at the site says that community is the thing no one thinks they need until they experience it. And then they’re like, ‘Oh, this is way better than what I thought it was.’
“And so that’s a hugely rewarding piece of all of this.”