As construction in Silver Creek Village gets underway, its affordable housing does too |

As construction in Silver Creek Village gets underway, its affordable housing does too

This rendering shows a Habitat for Humanity home planned for the Silver Creek Village. Habitat for Humanity of Summit and Wasatch Counties is planning 26 units in the 1,300-unit development, including two single-family homes and 24 attached townhomes. Mountainlands Community Housing Trust has plans for 18 single-family homes, 64 condominiums and 40 apartments, with the single-family homes and condos to break ground shortly. The entire development is slated for 330 affordable-housing units.
Courtesy of Think Architecture

Twenty years after it was first proposed, Silver Creek Village is abuzz with construction crews.

And notably for the area, some of those crews are working on affordable housing.

Matt Lowe, the project’s master developer, said the 1,300-unit development just southeast of the U.S. 40/Interstate 80 interchange will center most of the density around a village core, have open space near the perimeter and trails, parks and green space throughout. And more than a quarter of that density will be used for affordable housing.

Plans call for 50,000 square feet of commercial space and about two-thirds of the total area to be dedicated for open space.

Lowe said he hopes to create a project with a village feel where residents can walk to a small grocery store near a village green, ride their bikes on the trail network or take their kids to a splash pad he said will be installed next year.

Since Lowe’s company, Village Development Group, is acting as the master developer, it is subcontracting with home builders to create different neighborhoods. Some of the first to come on line are projects from Garbett homes, which has already started construction on some of their homes, planned to be “Zero Energy Ready Homes.” They have 60 homes platted, Lowe said, and just purchased land for an additional 150 units.

The development is working with area affordable-housing groups, as well.

Of the first 290 units being built, 35 percent are required to be affordable, Lowe said, as well as 25 percent of all the units created thereafter. That adds up to an affordable housing obligation of 330 units.

Earlier this month, Habitat for Humanity of Summit and Wasatch Counties broke ground on the first two of its planned 26 units. Those two are to be single-family residences and are set aside for families earning between 30 and 60 percent of the area’s median income, or around $33,000 — $66,000 for a family of four.

One such family has already been selected, Melanie Seus, the nonprofit’s development director, said. Sweat equity is a requirement for participation in the program, with each adult required to complete 200 hours of work on their home.

Those two homes will also be “Zero Energy Ready,” a U.S. Department of Energy program with stringent standards for energy efficiency. That’s a first for Habitat homes in the state of Utah.

The nonprofit anticipates those homes will be completed within a year, according to a news release.

Mountainlands Community Housing Trust has its own projects in the area, with 18 single-family homes planned, in addition to 64 condominiums and 40 apartments. It has been in talks to build as many as 283 of the total affordable-housing units.

Scott Loomis, the housing trust’s executive director, said building permits for the first six of the single-family homes and the 64-unit condo project should be secured within a couple of weeks.

While the 64 condos and the planned 40-unit apartment project count toward the development’s overall affordable housing goal, the 18 single-family homes do not. They are being built on land Mountainlands purchased from the developer, Loomis said.

Those homes are part of a program called “Self Help” in which participants’ labor counts as their down payment. They will be sold at market price, but participants will receive loan assistance through a U.S. Department of Agriculture rural development program that features interests rates as low as 1% spread over 33 or 38 years.

That yields a mortgage payment that is often lower than paying rent, according to Mountainlands’ website.

To qualify, participants must be able to contribute a minimum of 30 hours per week to build the home during the six- to 10-month process and to earn between roughly $55,000 and $75,000 for a family of four.

The homes will be two stories tall and approximately 1,500 square feet on a 3,000-square-foot lot.

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