A Bower Brothers Construction dump truck hauls dirt at the Frazier East development site in March. Crews moved about 140,000 yards of dirt in three months in anticipation of construction work starting later this year. A new apartment complex is expected to be the first building project in the area, followed by affordable housing and commercial developments.

Photo by Hans Hallgren

A Bower Brothers Construction dump truck hauls dirt at the Frazier East development site in March. Crews moved about 140,000 yards of dirt in three months in anticipation of construction work starting later this year. A new apartment complex is expected to be the first building project in the area, followed by affordable housing and commercial developments.

59 acres of houses, apartments, duplexes and commercial real estate

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9 Cents/Courtesy

A concept layout for the one-bedroom, one-bath units at The Bluffs at Craig apartments.

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City officials said Frazier East developers 9 Cent LLC, out of Las Vegas, are paying for all site development to this point at their own risk. The city's annexation agreement for the property states the developers cannot build anything until they have an agreement with the state to build a new intersection off Colorado Highway 13. No agreement has been reached as of now, but 9 Cent officials said they are not worried about the project's future.

By the numbers

Frazier East annexation, 59 acres south of the Pine Ridge subdivision

• About 96 apartment units built this year

• As many as 412 duplexes and townhomes built as lots sell

• About 12 single-family homes to be built at a later date

• 180,100 square feet of available commercial real estate

Although the national housing market has been reduced to rubble in many American cities, Craig has room to grow, said Blair Hadley, 9 Cents LLC co-manager.

He's not worried about convincing people to move to Craig or about natural gas companies shutting down and moving their workers elsewhere.

When it comes to affordable housing and apartments, Moffat County has a built-in market - the people who already live here.

The Bluffs at Craig apartments is expected to be the first of an eight-phase process at the Frazier East annexation on Colorado Highway 13, south of the Pine Ridge subdivision.

The Craig City Council first approved the annexation agreement in June 2008 for the roughly 59 acres included in the project, which overlooks the Yampa River south of town.

At the time, the issue stirred strong feelings of opposition from Pine Ridge residents who lived nearby.

They said the extra traffic from 96 apartments, as many as 412 duplexes, 12 new single-family homes and 180,100 square feet of commercial real estate would hurt the neighborhood.

They also worried their property values could be lowered if apartments and cheaper housing were built nearby.

In the end, the council voted, 6-0, to approve the annexation on one condition: 9 Cents get approval from the Colorado Department of Transportation to build a new access off Colo. 13 to help with traffic concerns.

Hadley and 9 Cents received their go-ahead from CDOT at the end of May, clearing the way for building to begin.

Nancy Shanks, CDOT Western Slope public relations director, said the developers must start construction within a year but could apply for an extension, which they have not yet done.

In March, while Bower Brothers Construction still was moving dirt at the site, Hadley talked about what he and the other developers planned.

First are The Bluffs at Craig apartments, expected to be the beginning an eight-phase development plan.

"The apartments are being built for the citizens already in Craig," Hadley said. "It never had anything to do with the natural gas companies or a big, attractive housing market. We can just see that people want new apartments. There aren't enough."

He and his partners next plan to build as many as 412 affordable twin homes, which will be built as people buy them.

About 180,100 square feet of commercial space also will be available along Colo. 13.

Hadley said people representing a broad range of developments - including a church, a convenience store, a motel and a restaurant - have called for details.

For more information on the project, see its newly launched Web site at http://thebluffsatcraig.com.

The site states apartments will be available by September, with duplexes priced from $149,900 to $189,000 up for purchase by December.

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