Affordable housing project is denied state tax credits

Summit Housing Group of Montana had hoped to build affordable housing units in Broomfield — similar to the Centennial Park Apartments, which it owns in Longmont. (

Lewis Geyer / Staff Photographer)

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Academy Place, an affordable housing project that Summit Housing Group of Missoula, Montana hoped to bring to Broomfield, was denied the tax credits it needed to move forward, but developers are not giving up hope.

Summit Housing president Rusty Snow said the company extended the contract that will give them the ability to submit the project again next year. Academy Place was slated to be near 120th Avenue and Emerald Street.

Low Income Housing Tax Credits are awarded annually through the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority, or CHFA.

"That was the recommendation from CHFA," Snow said. "They did like the project, and definitely encouraged us to resubmit next year."

Academy Place is a project that, if it comes to fruition, will be 100 percent affordable for people and families at or below 60 percent of the Broomfield area median income. The development will remain affordable for a minimum of 45 years.

The project will need the credits — along with cooperation from the city, the developer and a nonprofit service partner — which is Broomfield FISH.

FISH Executive Director Dayna Scott was shocked and saddened by the news.

"What shocks me most is that if you look at the capture rate, they were only going to capture 9.6 percent of the units we actually need, which is a pretty significant size of the problem we’re seeing in affordable housing," she said. "It was going to be a drop in the bucket."

It was going to be a good mix of units, Scott said, with rental rates that ranged from $450 to $1,350 depending on whether the units had one, two or three bedrooms.

Twenty-two percent of units would be rented to families at 50 percent average median income, or below. Broomfield’s average median income is $89,900 for a family of four.

Twenty-two percent of the units would be for those who make 40 percent AMI; 10 percent of the units would be targeted toward individuals and families at 30 percent AMI, and 46 percent of the units would be for those making 60 percent AMI.

FISH, as the nonprofit partner, agreed to provide services for the 30 percent units. Summit Housing was to give FISH clients priority to live in 40 percent AMI units. When Summit Housing had a vacancy, they would have coordinated with FISH to fill it.

"We were really looking forward to using that model of working with a housing group to offer wrap-around service," Scott said. "We wanted to test the water and see how that model looks in terms of helping people become more self sufficient."

In April, Broomfield agreed to waive fees so that the 49-unit affordable housing project could move forward.

Snow, consultant Sam Long and Broomfield Housing Manager Cheryl St. Clair presented the project to CHFA Sept. 10. Several weeks later, the agency announced award recipients and gave positive feedback in a follow-up phone call with Summit, Snow said.

For now, they plan to follow that advice prior to the next submittal process in June.

Almost half of the projects awarded credits by CHFA had been previously submitted, Snow said.

"I do think there’s some positivity to draw from that," he said, adding that Summit has been successful on a first try for another Colorado project.

This year, 33 applications were submitted requesting $35.9 million for the 9 percent federal credits. CHFA awarded credits to 15 projects, which equals 814 affordable rental housing units, for a little more than $17 million.

St. Clair said Academy Place is the first project submitted to CHFA for the competitive tax credits since Broomfield Greens, 12451 Sheridan Blvd., was awarded an allocation in 2003.

Tasha Weaver, CHFA’s tax credits manager, said the process is lengthy — including interviews with the voting committee and final approval from the executive director.

It is more of a subjective process, she said, and while there are threshold points, the decisions are not made entirely on a scoring system. The agency tries to disperse the credit across the state. This year municipalities include projects in Nederland, Fort Collins and two in Denver.

Weaver said serving different populations, from families and senior citizens to the homeless, are taken into consideration. At the project level, CHFA also considers market conditions, how quickly a developer could move forward with construction, and the overall financial feasibility for at least the first 15 years.

Committee members look at developer’s experience and track record, the project’s proximity to existing tax credit projects, both completed or under construction, and how close it is to shopping, schools and other amenities.

"The biggest challenge is we’re seeing so many strong projects and we have to say ‘no,’ unfortunately, to a number of really strong projects," Weaver said.

The amount the state awards each year is based on a per-capita formula and is published every year by the Department of Treasury, Weaver said. Any unused credits can carry forward.

Earlier this year, in recognition of the severe housing crisis facing the nation, Congress approved a temporary increase to the amount of 9 percent federal low income housing tax credits available for states to allocate, according to a CHFA news release.

In Colorado, that increase has resulted in $2.1 million more cap available for allocation in 2018. This increase helped CHFA support two additional developments, or 181 more affordable rental housing units, this year compared to 2017. This temporary increase will be available each year through 2021.

Jennifer Rios: 303-473-1361, riosj@broomfieldenterprise.com or Twitter.com/Jennifer_Rios

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