Denver is close to rezoning a portion of land belonging to the Church of All Saints in the Harvey Park neighborhood to allow construction of an income-restricted housing complex for seniors.
The Archdiocese of Denver submitted applications for rezoning in May after Catholic Charities, a faith-based nonprofit organization, approached it about an idea to put a 75-unit apartment complex on unused space on land owned by All Saints at 2559 S. Federal Blvd.
The rezoning would allow the construction of a building of up to five stories.
“There’s a huge push, for good reason, to get some faith-based groups to activate the land they have for higher and better uses,” Justin Raddatz, vice president of development for Catholic Charities, told BusinessDen. “The Catholic Church, being one of the biggest landowners, it’s about how do we blend the social services within the church with housing.”
The Denver City Council is slated to vote on the zoning change Aug. 30.
The cost of rent at the complex would depend on the income of the tenants. The units would be reserved for people whose income falls within 30 to 60 percent of the area median income, or AMI.
According to the Colorado Housing Finance Authority, maximum rent for a one-bedroom apartment in “affordable housing” in Denver is $589 per month for people making 30 percent of the AMI and $1,179 per month for people making 60 percent.
The Archdiocese will own the land and lease it to Catholic Charities to develop the project. Catholic Charities already owns 270 affordable housing units for seniors within three blocks of All Saints, Raddatz said.
There is a caveat to the development, however.
Catholic Charities has applied for tax credits through the Colorado Housing Finance Authority. Officials there confirmed with BusinessDen the project has applied for $594,982 of federal tax credits and $743,727 in state tax credits.
The tax credits are competitive, and Raddatz said if Catholic Charities gets them, it will move forward with a development plan. If it doesn’t, he said, it will try for them again next year.
“There’s a need for some estimated 8,000 (affordable) units just in the city of Denver, and we can’t build those fast enough, especially when seniors are falling out of their affordable housing,” Raddatz said.
There will be an affordable housing covenant on the property for 75 years, Raddatz said, to ensure the seniors are not displaced due to rising housing costs. People admitted would need to be 62 years or older, but Raddatz said the organization could lower the age to 55.
Raddatz said the apartment complex could employ an activities coordinator along with an exercise room, a common laundry facility and rooms for quiet and noisy activities.
Catholic Charities is working with architecture firm Crushing Terrell to design the apartment complex.