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City Selects Development Partners to Build Affordable Housing on East Colfax

155 income-restricted rental units to be developed at two separate sites along future Bus Rapid Transit corridor

Denver Economic Development & Opportunity (DEDO) has selected two nonprofit development partners that combined are projected to build 155 income-restricted rental units on the East Colfax corridor. The selection results from a request for proposals, issued in late 2018, to identify developers to deliver projects that meet the housing and community needs at city-owned parcels located at 8315 E. Colfax Ave., 1500 Valentia St. (adjacent to the 8315 E. Colfax parcel), and 7900 E. Colfax Ave.

DEDO has issued contingent awards to Mercy Housing Mountain Plains and Brothers Redevelopment, Inc. to develop needed housing, including supportive housing for Denver’s most vulnerable residents. Both sites were acquired by the city in 2017, with a vision for the development of new affordable housing and other uses benefitting the community. The sites are located within a quarter mile of future Bus Rapid Transit stops.

“We’re thrilled to work alongside two mission-driven nonprofit development partners to bring much-needed affordable homes and early childhood education to East Colfax,” said Britta Fisher, Chief Housing Officer of DEDO. “Through these land acquisitions and city-led development approach, we’re striving to ensure that hard-working residents and our most vulnerable can benefit from the public and private investments taking shape along East Colfax and make a home here.”

In the solicitation for the adjacent 8315 E. Colfax and 1500 Valentia properties, DEDO sought to identify a qualified development partner(s) to purchase the property and construct a successful mixed-use development including affordable rental housing and community-serving commercial uses. DEDO has selected Mercy Housing Mountain Plains to develop an estimated 83 income-restricted apartments. Additionally, Mercy Housing intends to lease the ground floor commercial space to a provider of affordable high-quality early childhood education services.

The 83 apartments will provide housing for a range of income levels of up to 80 percent of the area median income (up to $52,000 for a single-person household or $74,250 for a family of four). Initial projections call for 17 units to be affordable to residents earning up to 30 percent of the area median income (up to $19,500 for a single-person household or $27,850 for a family of four). Units will range from one to four bedrooms.

Under the award, DEDO will sell the parcels for $10 to Mercy Housing Mountain Plains, contingent upon approval by Denver City Council, in exchange for a 99-year affordability period. Mercy Housing intends to pursue state Affordable Housing Tax Credits and 4 percent federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits in 2020, with a targeted opening of the project in 2022.

“Mercy Housing is thrilled to be developing in Denver as there is substantial need for affordable housing. It’s exciting to see the City of Denver and our partners combine their efforts to provide quality affordable housing for families and early childhood education in a way that’s mutually beneficial for residents and the community. We look forward to working on this needed project for the East Colfax Community,” said Dee Walsh, EVP, Chief Officer of Strategic Development at Mercy Housing.

The 7900 E. Colfax Ave. RFP sought to identify a qualified development partner(s) to purchase the property and construct a successful supportive housing project that serves residents who previously experienced homelessness. DEDO has selected Brothers Redevelopment, Inc. (BRI) to develop supportive housing units for 72 families. With extensive experience in developing and managing affordable housing, BRI is teaming up with Brain Injury Alliance of Colorado (BIAC), an experienced service provider, to provide supportive housing and on-site services to families, with a focus on people with brain injuries who are experiencing homelessness. The development will include one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. BRI will have an office on the ground floor, providing various housing and neighborhood services to the community.

Under the award, DEDO will sell the parcel for $10 to BRI, contingent upon approval by Denver City Council, in exchange for a 99-year affordability period. BRI intends to pursue 9 percent federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits in 2020, with a targeted opening of the project in 2022.

“As a long-established and trusted affordable housing provider, Brothers Redevelopment is honored to be selected as developer for this site and help some of our city’s most vulnerable residents find safety and stability through housing,” said Jeff Martinez, President of Brothers Redevelopment. “We’re excited to work with Brain Injury Alliance of Colorado to build the first-of-its-kind community in the state to serve individuals with acquired brain injury. A brain injury can impact a person’s performance in school or work and lead to lifelong physical and cognitive disabilities, and place them at risk for homelessness.”   

In addition to providing land for the future housing sites, DEDO intends to provide gap financing to each partner following the awarding of tax credits. Gap financing greater than $500,000 will be subject to Denver City Council approval.

Denver City Council approved a rezoning of these three parcels last year, allowing for a greater density of up to five stories.

More information on these project proposals will be presented by the developer teams and DEDO at the East Colfax Registered Neighborhood Organization meeting, July 16, 2019, at 6:30 p.m. at Counterpath, 7935 E. 14th Ave.