Colorado Blvd.-area affordable housing just broke ground in Virginia Village, and more change is coming
The long-awaited Krisana Apartments in Virginia Village will house 151 units for those who earn up to 60% of the area median income — about $70,000 for a family of four.
What used to be old, dilapidated buildings housing the Colorado Department of Transportation in Virginia Village will now host a park, a supermarket and affordable housing.
Kentro Group and Lexton McDermott broke ground on the old CDOT headquarters a few blocks north of I-25 and Colorado on Wednesday to make way for a housing project that’s been in the works since 2018.
“This was a joint venture that was formed approximately five years ago. That’s how long it’s taken us to get to this point,” said Arthur McDermott, co-founder of Lexton McDermott.
The site at 4343 E. Arkansas Avenue is about 13 acres and at the center of the project will be affordable housing.
“It’s been a long time in the making,” said Jimmy Balafas, principal of the Kentro development group. “I want to introduce the Krisana Apartments…. I’m hoping that the 151 units that we have here today provides someone from anywhere in the world a place where they can start their dream. We believe with this housing gap that’s happening, we can help and this project will help a lot of people.”
The Krisana Apartments will house 151 units.
That’s 21 studios, 71 one-bedrooms and 59 two-bedrooms all for those who earn up to 60% of the area median income, which is about $70,320 for a family of four. The apartments will include subterranean parking, a work-out facility and a community courtyard.
Building the affordable housing was part of the agreement Kentro brokered with the city to purchase the land and build the development. The city also required the developers to curb traffic with investments in things that might include transit passes for residents (there’s a bus stop directly in front of the development) and bike share. Rezoning the property was the project’s first hurdle which required the partnership with the city and some community engagement with residents in the mainly single-family neighborhood who disapproved of the project because of density concerns.
“We as a city have set some high expectations for this site,” said Councilmember Robin Kniech.
“We know that 151 units doesn’t meet the entire need…But every household in our city has value to us and when [residents] have that stability, each of those households, this matters to them and that stability is critical to them.”
The next issue was receiving low-income tax credits from the state. The credits are competitive and Kentro applied for the credits through the state twice but were denied.
“It’s a limited resource and it’s hard to come by. It’s a very competitive process, but it’s one that’s worth it,” said Jaime Gomez, the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority Chief Operating Officer. CHFA issues the tax credits.
The affordable housing is the first and small part in this large redevelopment. With 13 acres, the plans include a 1.6 acre park, market-rate housing, retail space and, the big anchor, a brand new King Soopers.
BusinessDen first reported that the King Soopers would sit on 8.7-acres of the property with the bulk of it being used for parking. It’ll be replacing another King Soopers in the Belcaro Center strip mall at 825 S. Colorado Blvd.
“Our Belcaro King Soopers has been a beloved neighborhood staple for more than 50 years and we are looking forward to continuing to serve our customers with the same fresh, affordable and delicious food they have come to expect from their neighborhood store in a larger, modernized format,” said King Soopers spokeswoman Jessica Trowbridge.
Also first reported by BusinessDen, Kentro group is currently working on purchasing the Belcaro Center. That contract is in the beginning stages and if purchased housing and retail may come to the space but that’s subject to change.
Besides the affordable housing on Arkansas, Kentro group also developed affordable housing on the other CDOT property at 5660 E Atlantic Pl. on the other side of Virginia Village near Esters Neighborhood Pub.
The Lynwood Senior Apartments features 62 units reserved for income-restricted seniors. Kentro said it’s likely to be fully leased by the end of April.
Folks have to wait just a little bit more for the housing on Arkansas. The site is set to be completed in the fall of 2024.
The name is an ode to the Krisana Park section of Virginia Village.
The area is bordered by South Dahlia Street, East Louisiana Avenue, South Filbert Way and East Florida Avenue. The parcel was once an alfalfa field owned by Denver developer H.B. Wolff and his son Brad Wolff. The Wolffs built several homes on the field inspired by California’s Eichler homes.
They’re mid-century modern homes characterized by their low-pitched roofs with wide eaves, small windows facing the street and large windows and sliding glass doors facing backyard patios.
Balafas said the Krisana Apartments, once built, will also respect the architect of the neighborhood. It’s just another way for them to fit in.
“We’re paying homage to the area,” Balafas said.