March 29, 2019
Boulder County Seeking Tax Credit Funding for Downtown Longmont Workforce Housing
Plans advancing for 73 new rental homes on Coffman Street to serve those struggling with high housing costs
Boulder County, Colo. -- In its ongoing quest to serve community members struggling with high housing costs across the region, the Boulder County Housing Authority (BCHA) has applied for state and federal funding to help finance construction of much-needed affordable rental homes in downtown Longmont. BCHA’s plans include re-developing a 1.2-acre site between 5th and 6th Streets on the east side of Coffman with 73 new homes for people seeking to remain in their community as housing costs continue to rise.
“This redevelopment is in the heart of downtown Longmont, which is an ideal site for affordable workforce housing,” said Norrie Boyd, BCHA Deputy Director and project manager for the Coffman Street proposal. “This is an opportunity to create a new, beautiful neighborhood just one block off Main Street, near shops and businesses and transportation.
The rental homes will be located across the street from Boulder County’s St. Vrain Community Hub, a one-stop source serving thousands of community members each year with a wide range of integrated services such as food and child care assistance, parenting supports, health coverage, employment assistance, and much more.
In what is a unique collaboration for housing development of any kind, BCHA has worked closely with several partners on the Coffman Street housing plan for over two years, including the Longmont Downtown Development Authority, a private developer, the City of Longmont, and Boulder County’s Building Services Division. The Coffman Street redevelopment will be a part of a vibrant, mixed-use building featuring 10,000 square feet of office space and a 260-space parking garage for use by the public, residents, county employees, and the private developer.
“The Boulder County Housing Authority creates beautiful much-needed communities that keep housing affordable for all,” said Longmont Downtown Development Authority Executive Director Kimberlee McKee. “We are excited to partner with BCHA on this new neighborhood of workforce housing options that will become home to new residents and employees who will enjoy everything that downtown Longmont has to offer.”
Residents of the new community will be within walking distance of a wide range of Longmont services and amenities, including a large city park, cafés and restaurants, markets, a public library, bus stops, and an elementary school. The new homes will be extremely energy-efficient, with walk-out patios on the ground level and Juliet balconies above. There will be interior courtyards with seating, integrated play features for children, and a community room with a kitchen and gathering space.
Each year, the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority accepts applications for funding support for affordable housing development in the form of tax credits that investors purchase. Proceeds from those purchases are then used for construction and other capital needs. If BCHA’s funding application is approved for the Coffman Street redevelopment this year, BCHA could begin work at the Coffman site by summer 2020, with move-ins possible as early as 2021.
BCHA is also seeking four percent federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) for the Coffman Street redevelopment. The use of these tax credits allows BCHA to offer the homes to families with earnings ranging from less than 30 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) up to 60 percent AMI. As examples, for a three-person household, 30 percent AMI equals an income of just under $30,000 per year. At 60% AMI, a three-person household earns just under $60,000. Residents who qualify for the new workforce homes will be able to rent them at well below market rate.
The Coffman Street re-development represents another big step forward toward the Boulder County Regional Housing Plan’s goal of tripling the number of affordable homes available to a wide range of residents across the county over the next 15 years. The Partnership, which is made up of jurisdictions from across Boulder County, came together in 2016 to find and pursue solutions to the growing housing affordability crisis. One out of every six Boulder County residents now lives in a household spending over half its income on rent or mortgage, and one of the results is employers are increasingly finding it difficult to attract and retain talented workers. Housing costs in Longmont continue to rise rapidly, with the median sale price for a single-family home now approaching $430,000 (Zillow data).
“The Boulder County Regional Housing Partnership has come together around a vision for what we know our community can look like in the years ahead,” said Frank Alexander, Director of the Boulder County Department of Housing and Human Services, which includes BCHA. “We see a community in which our teachers, first responders, child care providers, aging parents, and our own children can live. The housing affordability crisis we face is solvable, and the five-party collaboration that is the Coffman Street redevelopment project is a great example of some of the Regional Plan’s solutions.”
As it has with its other housing developments, BCHA will reach out to the local community to help name the new neighborhood of homes in downtown Longmont. Recent examples include “Tungsten Village” in Nederland and “Willoughby Corner” in Lafayette, both of which were offered and chosen by residents in those communities.
Additional information about the Coffman Street redevelopment proposal is available at https://bit.ly/coffmanhousing.