By Gannon Rothman
Development for a five-story apartment complex is in the works in the West Colfax neighborhood, at least on paper. The property located at 1465-1497 Knox Court, owned by GAO Homes Partners, is currently occupied by 10 rental rowhomes.
The proposed development will continue to be income-restrictive, with 67 units for families making up to 50% of the area median income; the units are a mix of one- to three-bedroom residences, with most being two- to three-bedroom units. A structured onsite parking garage is also planned with potential office space for Girls Inc. on the first floor.
The project, Menola Homes, will cost nearly $35.6 million. The site was recently rezoned to keep it consistent with the rest of the Colfax Main Street district, where five stories is the maximum height for the building.
Denver-based developer The Burgwyn Company is seeking a low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) allocation of just over $1 million from the Colorado Housing Finance Authority (CHFA) to provide funding for the project, as well utilizing HUD funds. Once credits are awarded the development team will start the plan application to the city.
LIHTC provides developers with a tax incentive to construct low-income households or affordable rental housing by offering a 10-year tax credit for projects. The project is dependent upon the LIHTC award when the application process starts soon.
LIHTCs are typically awarded in early November, with a development plan starting next January, according to Alisha Hammett, a planner with Shopworks Architecture, which is designing the building. Residents who do become displaced during construction will have the opportunity to relocate to other properties owned by the developer or anywhere that accepts a housing voucher. They will have first right of return into the new building once completed, should they choose and qualify.
Hammett said they anticipate the entitlement process to take six to nine months and construction to take 18 to 24 months.
“Best case scenario the building will open (near the middle of the year in 2026),” Hammett said. “This development proposal wasn’t based on a market study,” she added. “The city of Denver is in a housing crisis and has been for some time. This location is well-served by transit (both bus and light rail), has a public park, library, elementary school, after-school programs and grocery all within walking distance of the site, ensuring affordable living not just affordable housing.”
Hammett said that the qualities of the location makes it a competitive site to win the LIHTC award according to the Colorado Housing Finance Authority’s (CHFA) qualified allocation plan. In recent years, Denver’s effort of channeling growth in certain areas has been adopted through Blueprint Denver, a plan to reimagine the city’s growth for the next few decades.
The Menola Homes project is focusing on the plan in West Colfax that has seen an increase in population growth in recent years by staying consistent with Blueprint Denver and the West Colfax Plan. The property is deed restricted by HUD through December 2027, making it necessary to deliver an income-restricted development, Hammett said. Should a LIHTC be awarded, the site will continue to be deed restricted for a minimum of 40 years with the new building.