Zack Gibson felt skeptical when he saw the listing. A condo, in Denver, in a complex not yet under construction?
After convincing his wife to move to Florida for retirement, he decided to come back to Colorado, where the two used to live. He kept looking at other options, but found himself going back to look at the future homes at a place slated to be called Central Park Urban Living Condos.
Months later, it’s no longer a listing. It’s his future home.
“Ultimately, it was the only way I was going to redeem myself with my wife, to be able to get her to Denver,” Gibson said on Tuesday. “And it’s been a great process, a process I’ve never gone through before, but everybody that we have worked with has been excellent.”
Gibson joined Deputy Mayor and Public Safety Director Murphy Robinson, Department of Housing Stability Executive Director Britta Fisher, Councilmember Chris Herndon and others on Wednesday for a ribbon-cutting for the 132-unit complex, located at 36th Avenue and Central Park Boulevard in northeast Denver.
All the units are under contract to be sold to households earning 60 percent to 80 percent of the area median income. In Denver, that means an individual can’t make more than $55,950, while a household of three can’t make more than $71,950.
Northeast Denver Housing Center developed the project with land donated by Brookfield Properties. The complex sits close to RTD’s Central Park Station, another selling point lauded by the city and its partners.
“This is affordable condominium living,” said Leland Ferguson of Brookfield. “You have to look really hard to try to find this type of option anywhere else in the city.”
The project cost $35.9 million, with the city’s Affordable Housing Fund kicking in $2.6 million. It includes 51 one-bedroom units and 81 two-bedroom units. The units come with 9-foot ceilings and big windows, and some even have balconies.
The city’s celebration comes as closing prices for homes in the metro area just keep skyrocketing.
It’s fueling fears homeownership in Denver is growing out of reach for many. The least-expensive property in the city to change hands last month was $147,900, comparable to the price range for these new affordable condos, which range in price from $139,500 to $169,500. The median closing price for a home in the metro area last month was $545,000, a record.
Herndon, who represents the area where the new condos opened, said the condo sales show the continued need for housing for all levels in the city. He welcomed the new residents to his district. The include, according to Northeast Denver Housing Center Executive Director Gete Mekonnen, a paralegal, tax examiner, biomedical technician, chemist, a flight attendant, a shopkeeper and a bus operator.
Mekonnen said 22 percent of people living there are 25 years old or younger.
“They needed the opportunity, and that’s what this development provides,” Mekonnen said.
One of the first things Gibson did when he toured his potential new home was look at the central air unit. He used to work in the HVAC industry, so it’s kind of his thing. He marveled at what he saw, calling it “top-notch stuff.” He got excited about the sprinkler system and the smoke dampers in the air ducts.
He said he will be closing on his unit in Tower A next week. He’s pretty stoked about it.
“Tower A rules,” he said, prompting laughter during the celebration.