Unfortunately, decades of decreasing population have not resulted in a surplus of affordable housing. The demand is incredibly high in Green River, where currently there are no affordable housing developments under construction nor have there been since the 1970’s. Individuals impacted most by the shortage tend to be low and moderate income workers such as teachers, public safety officials, and young adults who want to move back home. In a recent survey of employers in the community, 70% of respondents have employees that are struggling to find housing that is of sufficient quality for their families.
Developing new housing has proven challenging; expenses would typically place the price of a new rental unit beyond the affordability of most existing or prospective residents. Funding from the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) was explored, but potential investors indicated that the size of the community and project is too small to warrant a tax credit funded project. Additionally, for-profit developers from outside of the community have been impossible to attract as there is little profit to be made in fair market housing, much less affordable housing. Therefore, Epicenter, along with the City and other partners, established a development solution that makes sense for Green River and could likely be duplicated in nearby communities.
In late 2019, the City of Green River issued a Request for Proposals for a 4 acre lot in acknowledgement of the need for more accessible, affordable housing in town. Epicenter’s proposal for the development of Canal Commons was selected by the City: 10 affordable single-family homes, with both rental and owner-occupied options. Because the City originally received the land as a donation, Epicenter proposed a trade of in-kind service equal to the land’s value; assistance with city events, grant writing, design services, etc. This trade allows Epicenter to absorb the $109,000 land “cost” rather than pass that cost on to the future tenants and home-owners.
Epicenter Properties, LLC., was formed in mid-2020 as a limited-liability company specifically for Canal Commons and future Epicenter real estate developments. Epicenter, a 501(c)3, is the sole member of the LLC. This project may not have ever made it beyond the pre-development phase without support from Enterprise Community Partners through their Pre-Development Grant program and Rose Fellowship program. Epicenter was the recipient of a Rose Fellow (architect Lindsey Briceno) from 2018-2020.
Epicenter, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, is the sole member of Epicenter Properties, LLC., the owner/operator of Canal Commons.
Epicenter stewards creative initiatives that honor the past, strengthen the present, and build the future that we envision with our community. Located in Green River, Utah, Epicenter is a vibrant hub for rural investment and cultural exploration of the high desert of southeastern Utah. Beyond our region, Epicenter advocates for rural communities and contributes to the dialogue on contemporary place-based work in the United States. Epicenter is a 501(c)(3) public charity nonprofit organization.