Is there new hope for Glenwood Meadows? | AspenTimes.com

Is there new hope for Glenwood Meadows?

John Gardner
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – The Glenwood Meadows Apartment project last week received, by a 4-2 City Council vote, a three-year extension to secure financing and a new partner to move the project forward.

The extension allows Glenwood Meadows LLC to retain associated zoning and design variances for the planned 120-unit apartment complex, which received approval in November 2005. However, developers have struggled to secure financing since then.

Glenwood Meadows LLC owner Robert Macgregor told council that he is not looking for a handout, but simply asking to protect the work that has already been done.

“All we are here to do is to preserve the physical viability of the project while we find time to attract other partners,” Macgregor said.

And he’s hopeful that something may be on the horizon.

A Denver-based company contacted him last week, Macgregor told council. The firm has received federal stimulus funds for another housing project in Colorado. That is exciting news for Macgregor.

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“I was very interested to hear that stimulus funds had reached the housing market,” he said.

Macgregor didn’t disclose the company’s name, but he confirmed that the interested party is looking at the development package, which could breathe new life into the stalled project.

“It would bring us closer to fruition,” he said.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Treasury awarded the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA) a combined total of $45.1 million in stimulus funds at the end of July, according to the CHFA website. The funds are part of the Tax Credit Assistance Program and the Tax Credit Exchange Program, both of which were established through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to help fund affordable housing projects like the Glenwood Meadows Apartments.

The Housing and Finance Authority estimated that the funds will help finance the construction of 1,800 affordable rental units and create nearly 750 new jobs statewide. The authority began issuing the funds in August.

Glenwood Meadows LLC lost a Colorado Housing and Finance Authority Award as the primary financing for the project in 2005, and was again turned down for financing from CHFA in 2006 for $8.9 million in tax credits.

The project is designed as an affordable rental housing complex, with the income range between 40 and 80 percent of area median income.

Council decided that granting the extension was more appropriate given the current economic climate and considering all the work that has already gone into approving the project. Macgregor told council that his company has already spent close to $1 million in planning the project.

Councilman Russ Arensman supported the extension, saying that affordable rental housing is still very much needed in Glenwood.

“I think that what we are doing by approving the extension is keeping the possibility of this project alive, and I think that it’s much needed,” said councilman Russ Arensman.

However, both Glenwood Mayor Bruce Christensen and Mayor Pro-Tem David Sturges did not support the extension and voted against it.

Christensen took issue with some of the variances approved for the project, specifically, the approval of an additional, fourth level and variances to the parking requirements which would not require parking within the complex.

“I have concerns with concentrating this many people in this tight of space,” Christensen said. “Which is what we are doing if we approve this.”

Councilor Leo McKinney was absent from the meeting.

jgardner@postindependent.com

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