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Welcome home: Winter Park Resort completes its workforce housing complex

winter park conifer commons employee housing
Posted at 1:44 PM, Jan 11, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-12 20:28:04-05

WINTER PARK, Colo. — Construction of a workforce housing complex at Winter Park Resort is complete and residents have started to move in, the resort announced on Thursday afternoon.

The complex, called Conifer Commons, is located off of U.S. Highway 40 and Winter Park Drive near the resort's main entrance and yards away from the resort's Cabriolet lift. The resort relocated a parking area so the complex could be built on resort property close to the slopes and public transportation. The complex has more than 330 beds in a mix of studio and single-room units. Each of the two buildings has communal kitchens, living spaces and bathrooms.

Winter Park Resort completes its workforce housing complex

Conifer Commons is one local solution to the increasing need for housing for seasonal and yearround workers — a problem that is affecting people around the country. This issue has escalated in recent years alongside increasing home prices and a labor shortage post-COVID-19 pandemic. Locals were getting pushed out of where they worked.

Sky Foulkes, Winter Park Resort president, said the resort is one of the largest employers in the area and wanted to ensure its workers had access to affordable housing.

"After all, Winter Park Resort is as much about our people and quality of life, as it is about our unspoiled forest and slopes," Foulkes said.

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This process began with research and conversations with employees, the town, partners and construction companies. The need for workforce housing quickly grew into a priority that was moved ahead of the resort's plans to expand its offerings for guests.

The modular construction — which is an environmentally friendly option that leads to less waste than traditional construction — began in June 2022. In October 2022, crews celebrated setting down the foundation for the buildings. Nashua Builders built the project in Idaho and then shipped the components to Colorado, where they were assembled. Because of its design, the work was faster and more controlled, so wintry weather did not interrupt the process.

Construction continues on Winter Park Resort housing for employees

Project leaders said Conifer Commons is one of the largest modular projects in the United States. Its construction finished in December 2023, resulting in two buildings comprised of 96 modular components stacked side by side and on top of each other. It took just 60 days for crews to put up both four-story buildings.

The total project cost was approximately $60 million, the resort said.

The resort is now exploring using solar panels on the buildings.

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Winter Park will subsidize rent to help keep the housing affordable for employees.

Conifer Commons was a joint effort between Winter Park Resort, Alterra Mountain Company, which is Winter Park Resort’s parent company, the Town of Winter Park, Winter Park Recreation Association, Winter Park Water and Sanitation, and Saunders Construction.

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