Changes are still coming to Sun Valley.
Two new apartment complexes constructed and operated by the Denver Housing Authority, GreenHaus and Thrive, are nearing completion in the westside neighborhood and leasing is expected to begin by the end of this year.
GreenHaus is located near Decatur Street and 13th Avenue, while Thrive is south near Bryant and Holden. The two buildings will house 264 units of one to five bedrooms, with 70 units being priced at market rate. Thrive will have 43 units geared towards those making 60 to 80 percent of the area median income and GreenHaus will have 26 units for those making 40 to 60 percent AMI.
Annie Hancock, Director of Resident Services and Community Connections, said units between 40% to 80% AMI are workforce housing for the “missing middle,” such as teachers, construction workers and nurses.
Hancock said the remaining 125 units are for residents who were displaced by DHA’s redevelopment of the neighborhood, which began in 2018.
In a $240 million, multi-year project, DHA’s goal was to replace 333 units of the old red brick building housing Sun Valley Homes and add over 950 new homes to house over 2,500 residents.
Sun Valley is home to Empower Field and bordered by Interstate 25, Federal Boulevard and 6th and 20th avenues. It once had a population of about 1,500 people, most of whom lived in Sun Valley Homes, but since the redevelopment began the neighborhood has been filled with cranes and empty spaces.
Nearby residents and community leaders have had mixed feelings over the redevelopment because of the displacement but they’ve expressed hopes that residents will be able to return to the new buildings.
GreenHaus and Thrive are phase two of DHA’s redevelopment. The units remaining for the displaced residents are “deeply affordable,” meaning they’re available for those making less than 30 percent AMI. A family of three bringing in a 30 percent AMI salary makes around $31,800.
So far, two buildings have been completed and fully leased, Gateway North and South. Combined, those buildings house 187 units, with 34 being rented at market value and the remaining priced for those making below 60 percent AMI. Hancock said 70 units were used to relocate former residents.
Hancock said six townhomes were also completed as part of the Gateway project. Three of the homes were sold at an affordable rate to promote ownership and the other three were sold at market value.
DHA intends to construct three additional complexes; Sol, Joli and Flo.
Sol and Joli will have 297 units and will house a food and business incubator. Flo will be for residents 55 and older.
Besides housing, DHA is also working on the infrastructure of the neighborhood, with the 13th Avenue realignment project. Hancock said the project will bring a grid back to the neighborhood, creating new connections to the outside as well as new ways of movement inside.
She added that 13th Avenue from Decatur Street to the bridge over the Platte River will be reconstructed. The intersection of Holden Place and Decatur will also be revamped. Bryant Street will be extended and will be the new north/south connector in the neighborhood.
Ultimately, DHA’s goal is to create a mixed-income neighborhood that suits Sun Valley residents’ needs, specifically residents who have lived in the neighborhood for decades. Hancock said through community meetings and outreach, DHA is trying to address all of the prior residents’ needs, whether that be through Decatur Fresh, which helps solves food scarcity issues in the neighborhood, to the upcoming food and business incubator, which will give residents a subsidized kiosk space to learn how to open and grow their businesses, expanding neighborhood efforts already in place.
“We’re always learning from our developments… and if there’s any potential community concern [we ask] how can we address these in our next buildings,” Hancock said. “As we work through the additional housing, infrastructure, the new streets, the new roadways and sidewalks and open space, we’ll continue engaging with the community to take a holistic approach to building this neighborhood. It’s been community driven and has had a lot of input from our residents, stakeholders and partners.”