Government & Politics  January 31, 2024

Fort Collins affordable-housing project wins state Prop 123 funds

FORT COLLINS – Village on Eastbrook, a development planned by Housing Catalyst, the city of Fort Collins’ housing authority, was named Wednesday as one of the first 16 recipients that will share $25.34 million in land-banking funds through the voter-approved Proposition 123.

Housing Catalyst will receive $1.61 million to develop the project, according to the offices of Gov. Jared Polis, the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, and the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority.

The funding is intended to support Colorado communities as they acquire and preserve land for affordable housing.

Located at 3221 Eastbrook Drive, Village on Eastbrook will bring 73 new housing units with affordable rents to Fort Collins, according to Housing Catalyst. The three-story apartment complex will include 44 one-bedroom apartments and 29 two-bedroom apartments along with community space and a playground.

Housing Catalyst envisions the project as a “Community for All Ages” incorporating senior- and family-friendly amenities. The development team plans to work with local partners such as the Partnership for Age Friendly Communities and the Institute for the Built Environment’s Lifelong Homes Program to make the property accessible for people of all ages and abilities.

Village on Eastbrook will provide homes with affordable rents for a range of income levels. Average income for the community will not exceed 60% of Area Median Income, Housing Catalyst said Wednesday.

The development offered a unique opportunity to provide expedited affordable housing in Fort Collins. A local developer approached Housing Catalyst with an offer to sell a 2.9-acre parcel of vacant land with all architectural plans, permits and approvals for a fully entitled apartment  complex.

Proposition 123 funding will allow Housing Catalyst to move forward with developing the property. In all development projects, the housing authority said, it strives to be a good neighbor through thoughtful construction planning, communication and transparency.

“We need more housing now, and these funds will support a critical first step to create those housing opportunities for Coloradans around the state,” said Polis in a prepared statement. “The recipients announced today will help create 1,380 housing units, helping Coloradans live where they want to live — close to their jobs, schools, the places they love.”

Availability of land is considered one of the most significant barriers to developing  affordable housing. Established by Proposition 123, which was passed by Colorado voters in November 2022, the Land Banking program provides grants to local and tribal governments and forgivable loans to nonprofits with a demonstrated history of providing affordable housing, to support the acquisition and preservation of land for affordable for-sale and rental housing development.

Some of the funds could help create housing for at-risk young adults and people transitioning out of homelessness.

“A strong economy includes both good-paying jobs and housing for every income level,” said Eve Lieberman, OEDIT executive director. “Growing Colorado’s supply of housing will take a coordinated effort by state and local partners. The Proposition 123 Land Banking Program offers one way we can support rural and urban communities across the state as they preserve land for affordable housing development.”

Other recipients of the funds include:

  • Archway Investment Corp.: Gates Family Housing, Denver, $2 million.
  • Blue Spruce Habitat for Humanity: Affordable Homeownership, Jefferson County, $50,000
  • Chaffee Housing Authority: Alpine West, Buena Vista, $1.32 million.
  • City of Grand Junction: Salt Flats, $2.2 million.
  • City of Salida: Salida Eastside Senior Living Apartments, $750,000.
  • Denver Cultural Property Trust: Five Points Historic Cultural District Affordable Homes, $1.975 million.
  • Elevation Community Land Trust: Rural Southern Colorado Homeownership Portfolio, Las Animas County, $750,000.
  • Habitat for Humanity of Grand County: Habitat Morris Project, Granby, $1.6 million.
  • Housing Authority of the City of Aurora: Walden 35 Phase II, $1.45 million.
  • Huerfano County Economic Development: Northlands Subdivision of the Huajatolla Hills, Walsenburg, $225,000.
  • Langston Hughes Affordable Housing: Aurora Family Apartments, Aurora, $5 million.
  • SAFER Colorado: Centennial, $700,000.
  • Town of Frisco: 101 W. Main St., $5 million.
  • Town of Rangely: Sagewood West Affordable Housing, $240,000.
  • We Fortify: Dignified Housing Village for At-Risk Young Adults, Colorado Springs, $470,000.

“CHFA is honored to serve as program administrator for the Proposition 123 Affordable Housing Financing Fund, including the Land Banking program,” said Cris White, executive director and chief executive officer of CHFA. “High demand for the Land Banking funds underscores the great need for affordable housing in communities across the state. These 16 awardees represent a geographically diverse mix of nonprofits and local governments working hard to produce more affordable housing for Coloradans.”

CHFA received 113 letters of intent representing more than $255 million in funding requests. A total of 26 projects were invited to submit applications for the first round of Land Banking funds. Projects were evaluated by OEDIT and CHFA based on priorities outlined in the statute, including high-density housing, mixed-income housing, and environmental sustainability. The selection process also considered accessibility to transit and walkable access to community services, readiness to proceed, financial feasibility, geographic distribution, and total number of units proposed, all priorities outlined by Polis’ executive order to address Colorado’s housing supply.The Land Banking program is part of the Affordable Housing Financing Fund, established by Proposition 123, managed by OEDIT and administered by CHFA. The Affordable Housing Financing Fund also includes the Equity and Concessionary Debt programs. Total funding for the Affordable Housing Financing Fund is projected to grow to approximately $187 million next year, with future program details available later this year.

Housing Catalyst is among first in state to receive funding from Proposition 123.

Dallas Heltzell
With BizWest since 2012 and in Colorado since 1979, Dallas worked at the Longmont Times-Call, Colorado Springs Gazette, Denver Post and Public News Service. A Missouri native and Mizzou School of Journalism grad, Dallas started as a sports writer and outdoor columnist at the St. Charles (Mo.) Banner-News, then went to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch before fleeing the heat and humidity for the Rockies. He especially loves covering our mountain communities.
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