Westwood affordable housing project inches forward

The Morrison Road apartment building will have 80 homes.

Cranes sway in the wind, April 17, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Cranes sway in the wind, April 17, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

staff photos

With the approval of $15 million worth of bonds, on Monday the Denver City Council advanced an affordable housing project in Westwood with 80 homes.

The apartment building is called Avenida del Sol, or Avenue of the Sun. It will rise three stories at the corner of Morrison Road and Tennessee Avenue and contain one-, two- and three-bedroom rental homes priced for people making no more than 80 percent of the area median income, or about $52,000 for a household of one. The majority of the homes — 75 percent — will be priced for people making between 0 and 60 percent of the area median income.

Construction will likely start at the end of July, said Kimball Crangle, Colorado market president for Gorman & Company, the Avenida del Sol’s developer. She believes the project will take 18 months to build despite the COVID-19 pandemic altering business as usual.

“We have still seen strong subcontractor interest for the project and expect that social distancing measures to continue, but we’ve been able to adapt with our other projects in a way that’s in keeping with our schedules,” Krangle said, adding that the city is about to need affordable housing even more than it already does because of the economic fallout.

Denver legislators OK’d the bonds, which are meant to attract private investment in projects for the public benefit, for use by the developer. Basically, the city government is playing middle man by borrowing money at tax-exempt rates and passing it onto Gorman to lower construction costs.

The Internal Revenue Service only allows so many of these types of bonds per state. City Council members must take another vote later this spring or summer before Gorman can use the money.

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