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Affordable rental housing project on tight timeline

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Developers of an affordable rental housing project at Glenwood Meadows are intending to obtain their approvals from the city this fall and break ground by the end of the year.

The tight timeline will be necessary to ensure Steele Properties of Denver can take advantage of some $11 million in low-income tax credits recently awarded for the project, Jennifer Cloud, public relations associate for Steele Properties, told Glenwood Springs City Council members Thursday night.

A conceptual overview of the planned Glenwood Green Apartments was presented to council. A formal application will be submitted soon and referred to the city’s planning and zoning commission before it goes back to council.



The plan proposes 60 low-income rental units on about six acres south of Wulfsohn Road at the Meadows. The apartments would be made available to qualifying applicants earning between 40 percent and 60 percent of the area median income (AMI).

“We are very happy to bring this tax credit award to the city,” Cloud said of the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority credits, which were awarded in May to help finance the project.



“There are some strict timing requirements that come with that,” she said. “We will need to have our permits from the city by November and break ground by the end of the year in order to keep the tax credits.”

Part of the larger residentially zoned portion of the Meadows was approved in 2005 for 120 apartments. That plan had also earned the low-income tax credits, but the city approvals came too late and the previous developers were unable to proceed.

The latest plan calls for half as many units on a smaller section of the property, with 20 apartments each in three separate buildings. There would also be a community hall, playground structures for children and a parking area behind the apartment buildings.

The $10 million project budget does not allow for a lot of wiggle room, said Chad Asarch, principal of Steele Properties.

For that reason, a couple of variances from the city’s parking code are being requested, he said.

Instead of 2.4 parking spaces per unit, as is normally required, Glenwood Green is asking for 1.5 spaces per unit.

“Based on other similar projects we have done, that is more than sufficient for this project,” Asarch said, explaining that low-income renters typically only have one vehicle and often are regular users of public transit.

Parking and the number of vehicles per unit is also managed as part of lease agreements, he said.

The project is also seeking a variance from the city’s requirement that multi-family housing projects with 60 or more parking spaces build a portion of the parking spaces within the footprint of the buildings.

“That’s not just a cost issue for us, but a practical issue given the nature of this project,” Asarch said.

The majority of the apartments, 31, would be made available to those earning 50 percent of the AMI for Garfield County, which is currently $50,000 for a single person and $72,000 for a family of four, according to project officials.

That would allow for a one-bedroom apartment to be rented for $630 per month, $752 for a two-bedroom, and $861 for a three-bedroom, Asarch said.

Another 16 apartments would target 60 percent AMI renters, at $764, $913 and $1,046, respectively, for one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments.

The remaining 13 units would be reserved for the 40 percent AMI category. Those rents would be $496, $592 and $675, respectively.

Lease agreements allow that a renter whose household wages increase would see a proportional rent increase as well, Asarch said. “But we don’t kick people out,” he said.

The Glenwood Green proposal would be the first of what could eventually be up to 475 residential units at Glenwood Meadows, including a possible 300 rental apartments.

jstroud@postindependent.com


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