Glenwood Springs City Council grants six-month extension on Meadows apartment approvals |

Glenwood Springs City Council grants six-month extension on Meadows apartment approvals

Pete Fowler
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Kelley Cox Post Independent

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” The Glenwood Springs City Council is uneasy about a 120-unit planned apartment complex at Glenwood Meadows because income-restricted housing is not required there.

The developer, Glenwood Meadows LLC, asked for a three-year extension on 2005 approvals and zoning variances for the project. It would be a six-building apartment complex on a lot near the Municipal Operations Center. The City Council voted Thursday night to give only a six-month extension while seeking further assurances from the developer that income-restricted housing is still part of the plan.

“At this point we have no way of providing any sort of assurance there would be an affordable housing component to this project,” said Mayor Bruce Christensen.

Glenwood Meadows LLC is essentially the same as Aspen’s Dunrene Group that developed Glenwood Meadows.

“My concern is that there appears to be no requirement that the affordable aspects of this go forward,” said Councilor Russ Arensman. “We’re taking a risk and a gamble on that.”

A letter from the Balcomb and Green law firm on behalf of the Dunrene Group says, “Glenwood Meadows remains confident that both a quality development partner and the prospect for application of state funding will become available as the current economic and financial crises begin to settle.”

Arensman had motioned for approving the three-year extension before agreeing to the six-month term as the discussion progressed. Councilor Shelley Kaup also agreed with the three-year extension before voting for six months.

“I think the project addresses a critical need for housing in the community,” she said. “I think in these current economic conditions it’s warranted for us to grant this extension.”

In 2005, the developer was looking to obtain public financing for income-restricted tenants. It obtained a Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHAFA) award as the primary financing for the apartments. But, by the time the approvals were obtained, the CHAFA award lapsed and a subsequent award for $8.9 million in requested tax credits wasn’t given. Glenwood Springs had deferred around $800,000 in development fees and construction of a park on the property.

Robert Macgregor, of the Dunrene Group, has said the group spent almost 21⁄2 years and $1 million before the project failed in 2007.

Community development director Andrew McGregor recommended approving the three-year extension, in part due to tough economic times and the desperate need for housing in Glenwood Springs. Preserving the approvals and variances could make the project more appealing rather than letting them disappear.

“Obviously we’re in a different financial time now,” McGregor said, adding later, “We desperately need this type of housing project in the community. The latest data shows that our vacancy rate has softened to a whopping 2.7 percent.”

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