City lawmakers on Wednesday tentatively approved providing a loan to help pay for a 49-unit affordable condo complex in the Five Points neighborhood, which would develop an eight-story complex atop a narrow triangular plot.
Both Lead Housing Development Officer Adam Lyons and Councilmember Paul Kashmann called the Chestnut Place Condos an exciting project for the city.
It’s not hard to see why: Affordable for-sale complexes in Denver are relatively rare. The most recent example of a city-backed affordable condo complex opened in Central Park this summer. Department of Housing Stability spokesperson Derek Woodbury said since 2019, the city has hosted five ground-breaking ceremonies for 327 collective units that were city-funded, for sale affordable condos.
By contrast, between 2019 and 2020 alone, the city broke ground on nearly 1,000 affordable, city-funded rental units.
“We are investing in them, but we are investing more on the rental side,” Woodbury said. “The example today is a great example of the homeownership model.”
What city lawmakers tentatively okayed on Wednesday was a $2.45 million performance loan from the city’s Department of Housing Stability for developer Shanahan Development, who requested the amount through its entity, 3501 Chestnut St LLC. The loan is just a portion of the overall project’s cost, which is estimated to be $17.7 million.
Each unit will cost $362,122. The majority of the money to pay for the project will come from a construction loan.
The complex would sit on two parcels at 3501 and 3563 Chestnut Pl., at the intersection of 36th Street and Chestnut Place in Five Points, which is inside the RiNo Art District boundaries and along the South Platte River. The triangle-shaped parcel grows narrower at the point where Chestnut Place and Arkins Court meet, prompting Councilmember Amanda Sawyer to wonder how exactly a building could go up on this space, which she likened to “a piece of a pie.”
Lyons said the building will be triangular, and added that the odd shape has presented some challenges for its design, requiring several redesigns to ensure it would accommodate the 49 units. But the building will still have about 50,000 square feet of living space, with units ranging from about 650 square feet to a little over 1,000 square feet. City documents show an existing property on the site will require asbestos and lead-based paint mitigation.
The units would be available for someone who makes up to $55,950 or less a year, or up to $71,950 for a three-person household. In order to build the complex, the project will be part of a land trust with Elevation Community Land Trust to make sure this affordability remains for 99 years. The condo complex will include 14 one-bedroom, 27 two-bedroom and 8 three-bedroom units. Commercial space will be available on the ground floor.
Construction on the site is set to start in February 2022.
The full Denver City Council will now consider the loan agreement.