Ketchum Mayor Neil Bradshaw will again rely on a well-known partner as he pursues development of affordable housing in town—developer Greg Dunfield of Seattle-based GMD Development.

    The City Council on Monday approved a contract with GMD Development to pursue an affordable housing project at the current City Hall site on East Avenue and Fifth Street.

    GMD will have to work quickly—an application for tax-credit financing essential for the project’s development is due to the Idaho Housing and Finance Association in early August. An award of tax credits would be announced in the fall.

    GMD was the only firm to respond to the city’s request for qualifications, issued on June 4. Bradshaw’s proposed fiscal 2020 budget has $2.2 million available from Ketchum’s in-lieu housing fund. That money would support a tax-credit development or acquisition of property for housing, according to the budget proposal.

    Dunfield and GMD have a long history with Bradshaw and the Ketchum Community Development Corp.

    The company developed the 32-unit Northwood Place project in Ketchum in 2009, which received 9 percent tax credits from IHFA to finance the development. The total project budget was $9.4 million.

    Since then, additional partnerships between KCDC and GMD have not been successful.

    They sought tax credits for a proposed development on Ketchum Urban Renewal Agency-owned property on Washington Avenue called Washington Place in 2011 and 2012, but neither succeeded. In 2018, the KCDC and GMD sought tax credits for Northwood II, a proposed affordable housing development next to Northwood Place on the dirt lot north of the Wood River YMCA. That proposal was not awarded tax credits by IHFA.

    GMD has had plenty of other successes, though. In the last three years, the company has constructed a 136-unit project in Bozeman, Mont., a 49-unit project in Juneau, Alaska, a 32-unit project in Big Fork, Mont., and a 170-unit project in Seattle. It has another six projects under construction or under contract, according to its submittal to the city of Ketchum.

 The new proposal is for East Avenue property, which the city has owned since the late 1970s. It presents a challenge, however, because voters would have to approve the bond measure, which requires a two-thirds majority, to fund construction for the new fire station. Otherwise, the city would have to find a temporary home for the Ketchum Fire Department in order to demolish the existing City Hall for an affordable housing development.

    Still, the council and Bradshaw see a window of opportunity for tax-credit applications because Blaine County was designated a “non-metropolitan difficult development area” this year by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

    “The money is available in our state right now and we need to take advantage of this,” Councilman Michael David said Monday.

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