Highly-affordable development for older adults might be coming to Glenwood Springs

Glenwood Springs will be seeing highly-affordable housing for people over the age of 55, if everything goes well.

The Colorado Housing Finance Authority (CHFA) awarded Glenwood Springs a roughly $1.4 million credit to build the Benedict, a housing development that would be built by Archdiocesan Housing at 2800 Midland Ave.

“We are the statewide allocator of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program, which is this kind of tax credit,” said Jerilynn Francis, chief communications and community partnerships officer for CHFA. “It is competitively awarded. Every state in the nation gets a certain amount, and we in Colorado are the organization that works those.”

Justin Raddatz, vice president of development for Archdiocesan Housing, Inc. under Catholic Charities Housing, said in an email that the company has owned and operated affordable housing in the Roaring Fork Valley since the 1990s. 

Archdiocesan Housing is working in partnership with the CHFA, Garfield County Housing Authority, the City of Glenwood Springs and is supplemented by a contribution from Fritz and Fabi Benedict, Raddatz said in the email. 

“The need for additional affordable housing, especially for older adults, is significant and growing; we want to be a part of the solution,” he said in an email. “We anticipate breaking ground in the second quarter of 2024 with a 12-14 month construction timeline.”

Archdiocesan Housing chose to develop housing in Glenwood because the Greater Roaring Fork Housing study conducted in 2019 highlighted the urgent need for housing in Glenwood, especially for households with incomes at or below 80% of AMI, which includes vulnerable older adults with fixed incomes who are disproportionately affected by rising housing and living costs, he said in the email.

The development is slated to be built next to senior living Ascent Living Communities, formally owned by Renew Senior Communities. 

With the development still in the first step of the approval process with the city, the Benedict is slated to be a 34-unit housing development, specifically for people older than 55 years old. 

With the housing credit from CFHA, the select numbers of units will be set at different levels of Area Median Income (AMI). They are planning seven units at 30% AMI, four at 40% AMI, 17 at 70% AMI and 6 at 80% AMI.

The Garfield County Housing Authority will provide project-based vouchers for seven units and the project leverages a $3.2 million Benedict Fund contribution made to the developer for the use of creating affordable housing in the Roaring Fork Valley, the CHFA award description states.

Federal and state housing tax credits are awarded by State Housing and Finance Authorities (HFAs) to for-profit and nonprofit developers of affordable rental housing. 

When affordable housing is being developed, there are all the same project costs that a market-rate apartment would have, like labor, construction and the time it takes to develop the particular property. But they will lease it at a below market rate, meaning they’ll have less income than a market-rate development, Francis said. 

The tax credit is used to draw in private sector equity; the 9% credit, on average, will help draw in enough equity to cover roughly 70% of a development, including projected construction costs. That’s what makes it financially feasible for developers, such as the Benedict, to be able to afford to build rental housing and then lease it at a below-market rate for a long period of time, she added.

The development project has not turned in their application yet.

“This will be considered a Major Site/Architectural Plan Review as it has more than 24 proposed residential units per their CHFA Low-Income Housing Tax Credit application,” said Glenwood Economic and Community Development Director Hannah Klausman in an email, “which will require a pre-application meeting, neighborhood meeting, application, public hearing with Planning and Zoning Commission and public hearing with City Council.”

Each year, CHFA creates criteria that developers apply for and show how their development meets that criteria. CHFA gets input from a statewide engagement process to create the criteria.

“Ultimately, those guidelines are reviewed and approved by our board of directors and also the governor,” Francis said.

Some of the things they look for when evaluating applications include how they align with the local market, the level of readiness in the development process, overall financial feasibility or viability of the project and the experience and track record of the developer team that’s bringing the project forward, she said. 

They also evaluate the overall cost, site suitability, environmental sustainability and whether they are distributed in diverse parts of the state.

They have three priorities for development which are serving homeless people, special needs and/or smaller communities of 180,000 people or less. 

She said that the Benedict strongly aligned with CHFA’s Qualified Allocation Plan for a newly-constructed project.

Post Independent city and business reporter Cassandra Ballard can be reached at or 970-384-9131.

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