Denver, CO

Income-based apartments on Denver’s drawing board

David Heitz

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An artist's rendition of Northfield Flatts Apartments.City of Denver

The City and County of Denver has taken first steps toward creating more affordable housing in the city.

As part of its consent calendar, the Denver City Council voted this week to create a private activity bond, or loan, in the amount of $18.3 million. The money will help pay for an income-contingent apartment building called Northfield Flats.

Located at 45th Avenue and Xenia Street, the 128-unit building will be priced for people at 30 and 40 percent of the city’s adjusted median income, or AMI. A single person can make $22,050 per year at 30 percent AMI.

Private activity bonds, or PABs, are used by cities to finance private projects for the public good, such as affordable housing. Other projects like Northfield Flats also are on the drawing board in Denver. Those include MOC Freshlo and Mercy the Rose on Colfax.

Rents at the apartments are based on income.

Montbello FreshLo Hub

“The credit allocation will allow MOC to leverage approximately $34 million in funds to build out the Montbello FreshLo Hub, a mixed-use development that will include 97 affordable housing units, from one to three bedrooms, for residents making 30 to 70 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) which in 2020 (was) $24,000 to $56,000 in annual gross income for a two-person household in Denver County,” the Montbello FreshLo Initiative announced last year.

“The Hub will also include a cultural arts wing with a black box theater, grocery store, nutrition education center and office and retail spaces. Located near two bus stops, the Montbello FreshLo Hub is a community-led initiative that will be a hub for the Montbello neighborhood.”

Mercy The Rose on Colfax

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An artist's rendition of The Rose on Colfax, currently under construction.City of Denver

The Rose on Colfax’s developer is Mercy Housing. “Mercy Housing is proud to collaborate with the City and County of Denver and Mile High Early Learning for the mixed-use development of The Rose on Colfax in Denver,” Mercy posted on its website.

“The development will combine affordable apartments with an affordable quality childcare space to offer a community inspired family focused property. The site is uniquely positioned to help influence the future development along the commercial East Colfax corridor and help stem the displacement in the neighborhood.”

Renovations at The Colburn

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Historic Colburn Apartments are getting a makeover.City of Denver

Other recent projects using PAB bonds include Mariposa Phase VII, The Colburn, The Stella, Avenida Del Sol and Rhonda’s Place.

Renovations at The Colburn, 980 Grant St., are being made to 93 apartments. The apartments rent at 30 percent AMI and 60 percent AMI. The city loan is $3.45 million.

Avenida del Sol, Stella offers mixed-income units

Avenida del Sol at 5190 N. Broadway will include 80 units ranging from 30 to 80 percent AMI. This allows families from different incomes to have housing equity. The loan is for $1.4 million.

For a single person, their income can range from below $22,050 to as high as $55,000 to qualify to live in the apartments.

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An artist's rendition of Avendia Del Sol Apartments, which will be income restricted.City of Denver

The Stella at 5190 Broadway will include 132 units also with income restrictions ranging from 30 to 80 percent AMI. The loan from the city is $3.5 million.

Ronda’s Place, Mariposa Phase VII

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An artist's rendition of Ronda's Place affordable apartments.City of Denver

Ronda’s Place, 211 S. Federal Boulevard, will include 49 units at 30 percent AMI. The loan from the city is $1.25 million.

Mariposa Phase VII is within the larger Mariposa development at 10th and Osage. The new addition will include 45 ADA-accessible units. Income restrictions will be at 50 and 60 percent AMI.

Low financing makes projects possible

Interest paid on the bonds is free from federal taxation. “Essentially a PAB lowers the financing costs for a project,” according to a city staff report.

The council will have to vote on other measures related to the bonds before Northfield Flatts construction can begin. The other developments also are in various planning and construction phases.

The projects have covenants which require the buildings be used for affordable housing for 50 years or longer.

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I have been in the news business more than 30 years, spending much of my career at some of the best local newspapers in the country. Today, I report on Denver City Hall, homelessness and other topics for NewsBreak, much like I did in my twenties covering Newport Beach, Calif. for the Daily Pilot. I consider myself a lucky guy to still be doing what I love after so many years.

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