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New life for Glenwood Meadows apartment project?

John Gardner
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

, ColoradoGLENWOOD SPRINGS – A new partner in the Glenwood Meadows apartment project is hoping to get the affordable housing development back on track.

Glenwood Meadows LLC, which developed and still owns the project, has teamed up with Denver-based Steele Properties LLC, which will ultimately purchase the project and will oversee the development through completion, according to Glenwood Meadows LLC owner Robert Macgregor.

Developers discussed with Glenwood City Council Thursday, possible amendments to two certain aspects of the Glenwood Meadows Apartments – which was approved in Nov. 2005 – in hopes that the amendments will help in securing a Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA) tax credit.



Specifically, developers discussed two major changes including reducing the number of parking spaces required per unit, and for the project to be completed in two phases.

The first phase would include the necessary access road, utility and site infrastructure, and 60 of the 120 total units approved for the project. The second phase would include the remainder of the site infrastructure, the remaining 60 units, and a park, according to a project narrative from the company to Glenwood Community Development Director Andrew McGregor.



Developers assert that allowing the project to be completed in two phases will make it more appealing to prospective investors and lenders, and could possibly make the project more viable to receive a low-income housing tax credit through the housing authority.

Glenwood Meadows LLC initially received the low-income tax credit for the project. However, final zoning requirements did not occur within the specified time frame in which to use the credits. Developers re-applied a couple of years ago, but were denied the tax credits again.

“They did not want to give the tax credits a couple of years ago, because they were not satisfied with the development team given the failure to proceed the first time,” said Chad Asarch with Steele Properties LLC.

Asarch said that the housing authority also expressed concern with the cost and size of the project. So, in order to make the project more viable for the tax credit, they want to cut the scope in half.

“The 60 units would give us an indication of the demand before you had to put 120 units on the market,” according to Hud Karshmer with Steele Properties LLC.

Councilor Russ Arensman expressed some concern that if the city agreed to spilt the project, there would be no guarantee that the second phase would ever get built. He also expressed to developers that another project in town proposed by Archdiocesan Housing Inc., is currently looking to build affordable housing at another location in town. That organization is also looking to secure tax-credits through the housing authority, as well. That could cause a problem for one of the developments.

“You are not going to get both,” Asarch said. “I can’t say what CHFA is going to do. But from my experience, it would be highly unlikely for CHFA to give both projects awards in the same tax-credit period.”

City council did direct staff to write a letter of support for the Archdiocesan project to CHFA, at Thursday’s meeting.

Developers also wanted to discuss the option of reducing the number of required parking spaces from 2.5 per unit to around one to 1.5 per unit to cut overall costs and provide more “green” or open space.

According to McGregor, the original project was not contemplated as a phased development and these requests “warrant reconsideration” by the planning commission and city council.

McGregor indicated that the requests discussed Thursday did not require “formal action” because the project is still in conceptual review at this point. Developers asked for the discussion to assist them in developing a formal application for the requests.

Last September, Council approved a three-year extension to Glenwood Meadows LLC, to secure financing and a new partner to move the project forward. The extension allowed developers to retain associated zoning and design variances for the planned 120-unit complex.

According to the company website, Steele Properties LLC has successfully completed over $100 million in acquisitions, sales and redevelopment activity involving over 20 properties and 2,000 units, with a specific focus on affordable housing complexes.

The company is also not new to Glenwood Springs, according to Karshmer. He said that Steele Properties developed, and currently owns and manages the Manor 1 and Manor 2 complex, an affordable housing complex for seniors and disabled people, in Glenwood Springs.

jgardner@postindependent.com


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