■ Project at Colfax & Pearl to provide 98 affordable apartments & 7,400 square feet of retail
BY RORY SEEBER
The Colorado Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) plans to break ground this month for its “Renaissance Uptown Lofts” development on the northwest corner of Colfax & Pearl.
The project was presented at the July 14 & 21 Colfax Business Improvement District monthly and quarterly meetings.
Designers Humphries-Poli Architects have to some degree modeled the five-story, mixed-use structure after CCH’s other housing developments, the Renaissance Off-Broadway Lofts at 2135 Stout and its Renaissance Riverfront Lofts, 3440 Park Ave. West.
The architects have also strived to have the street-level Colfax storefronts “reflect the 1930’s East Colfax retail design” of the original 1923 structure, which must be razed. Originally CCH wanted to restore and retain the original Colfax facade of the building, but city requirements resulted in a need to set the building back 13' from the street.
Initially the Denver Water Department said that the retail frontage must be elevated to prevent flooding. However, CCH engineers conducted an independent drainage study of the area that showed that a raised slab elevation was not needed. The study was reviewed and approved by the city.
The designers intend to reuse as much of the original frontage materials as possible (such as tiling) and will recreate others using modern products. Many of the original pilasters will need to be replicated, and other storefront elements that have been lost over the years will be added. The replicated, first-story facade will extend 15' along the sides of the building.
The upper four levels of the project will be “substantially more modern,” according to David Klimut, director of housing development for CCH. They will feature reddish, glazed steel panels on the east and west ends of the Colfax side, separated by gray, “Hardie board” cement siding.
On Pearl, painted siding and stucco will be used to provide the feeling of entering a residential neighborhood.
The $17 million development will have 98 units averaging 600 sf: 90 one-bedroom apartments and four each two-bedroom and studio apartments. All units will have full kitchens, bathrooms, closets, air-conditioning, CAT-5 cabling, and appliances, while some will have “Juliet” balconies.
About 40% of the residences will go to individuals participating in CCH’s “Housing First” program, which works with the chronically homeless by first providing them with free, permanent housing and support services.
COURTESY OF THE COLORADO COALITION FOR THE HOMELESS
CONSTRUCTION IS SET TO BEGIN ON THE ‘RENAISSANCE UPTOWN LOFTS’ on the northwest corner of Colfax & Pearl this month. The project by the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless will include 98 affordable apartments & street-level retail.
Rent for the remaining units will depend on tenants’ income and will be based on the Area Median Income (AMI).
According to CCH housing development director William Windsor, the AMI unit mix at Uptown Lofts will be approximately: 41 units for people earning no more than 30% of the AMI; 31 units at 40% AMI; 17 units at 50%; and 8 units at 60% AMI. (One unit is designated for a Resident Manager.)
The current 100% AMI is $53,200 for an individual, $60,800 for a two-person household, and $68,400 for a three-person household.
The maximum 60% qualifying income will therefore be $31,920 for an individual, $36,480 for a two-person household, and $41,040 for a three-person household. There will be no market-rate rents and some of the residents... both CCH clients and from the general public... will qualify for Section 8 assistance.
Rents will likely range from $400-$700 month and prospective residents will need to undergo a background check and have their incomes verified. Tenants will have to sign a one-year lease.
The project will have an on-site case management office, fully staffed during normal business hours, where residents who are CCH clients can meet with a case manager. The on-site office will also be a gateway to all other programs that CCH runs off-site and, if needed, additional support staff will come to the Colfax site to assist a client.
“The on-site case management office will provide services exclusively for the residents of Renaissance Uptown Lofts,” Windsor said.
The building will have on-site laundry facilities, video surveillance systems, secure access, elevator service, and a computer room. There will be a community room with a common kitchen. A 4,500 sf, second-story deck will be provided for tenant use only.
At street level on Colfax there will be room for up to five retail tenants in 7,388 sf of glass-fronted space, including one that will be “restaurant-ready” and include kitchen venting and a grease trap. No tenants have been announced.
The site’s Main Street 3 zoning requires one parking space for every 500 sf of retail space, thus requiring the project to provide at least 13.5 parking spaces for its retail component.
MS-3 projects built as “housing that is affordable for persons with 40% Area Median Income and below” and “other special needs housing,” as this one will be, are required to provide only one parking space per four units.
CCH will provide 41 spaces... 18 for the retail and 23 for residents... in a ground-level garage behind the structure. Access to the retail parking will be off Pearl or the alley, with access to the residential parking from the alley only.
The retail spaces and apartment building will have separate entrances.
The Renaissance Uptown Lofts will be built in accordance with Green Communities guidelines established by the Enterprise Foundation.
When the project was first presented to the public in June 2008, CCH president John Parvensky agreed to work with the community to form an advisory council and create a “good neighbor” agreement to work on issues related to the project.
The 18-member “Uptown Lofts Advisory Group” was established and its first meeting was held in October. According to Windsor, “Since then there has not been any significant change to the project,” so the group has not met again. It is likely to gather this month or next.
The contractor will be Alliance Construction Solutions, which built the Hilton Gardens Hotel near the Colorado Convention Center. The current billboard at the site will be removed. Construction is expected to take 14 months, weather permitting.
For information, visit coloradocoalition.org, call 303-293-2217, or email Klimut at firstname.lastname@example.org