Glenwood extends approvals for Meadows apartment project
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” The Glenwood Springs City Council is uneasy about a planned 120-unit apartment complex at Glenwood Meadows because affordable housing is not required there.
The developer, Glenwood Meadows LLC, asked for a three-year extension on 2005 approvals and zoning variances for the project ” a six-building apartment complex on a lot near the Municipal Operations Center and the Meadows shopping complex.
The City Council voted Thursday to give only a six-month extension while it seeks further assurances from the developer that affordable, or “income-restricted” housing will be part of the plan.
“At this point, we have no way of providing any sort of assurance there would be an affordable housing component to this project,” said Mayor Bruce Christensen.
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“My concern is that there appears to be no requirement that the affordable aspects of this go forward,” agreed Councilman Russ Arensman. “We’re taking a risk and a gamble on that.”
Developer Glenwood Meadows LLC essentially mirrors Aspen’s Dunrene Group, which developed Glenwood Meadows shopping center.
A letter from the Balcomb and Green law firm on behalf of the Dunrene Group said: “Glenwood Meadows remains confident that both a quality development partner and the prospect for application of state funding will become available as the current economic and financial crises begin to settle.”
Arensman made a motion to approve the three-year extension before agreeing to the six-month term instead, as the discussion progressed. Councilwoman Shelley Kaup also agreed to the three-year extension before voting for six months.
“I think the project addresses a critical need for housing in the community,” she said. “I think in these current economic conditions, it’s warranted for us to grant this extension.”
In 2005, the developer was looking to obtain public financing for income-restricted tenants. It obtained a Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHAFA) award as the primary financing for the apartments. But, by the time the approvals were obtained, the CHAFA award lapsed and a subsequent request for $8.9 million in tax credits was not awarded. Glenwood Springs had deferred around $800,000 in development fees and construction of a park on the property.
Robert Macgregor, of the Dunrene Group, has said the group spent almost 2 1⁄2 years and $1 million before the project faltered in 2007.
Andrew McGregor, the city’s community development director, recommended approving the three-year extension to preserve the approvals and variances, citing tough economic times and the desperate need for housing in Glenwood Springs.
“Obviously, we’re in a different financial time now,” McGregor said, adding later, “We desperately need this type of housing project in the community. The latest data shows that our vacancy rate has softened to a whopping 2.7 percent.”
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