By Jeff Todd
DENVER, Colo. (CBS4) – The federal government says Denver and the Denver Housing Authority have a unique plan to revitalize one neighborhood so they’re putting $30 million of taxpayer money to start the process.
The city and DHA have been studying what to do with Sun Valley, a small rectangle south of Mile High Stadium and bordered by the South Platte River, Highway 6, and Federal Boulevard.
The area right now is densely populated low-income housing and light industrial. The plan is reliant on market-rate residents living with low-income neighbors.
“Concentrating poverty into one area is not the answer to helping people help themselves move up and move on,” said Rick Garcia, the Regional Administrator for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. “This is one of HUDs centerpiece projects, to transform traditional public housing into mixed income. The $30 million is some of the baseline capital they need to demonstrate they can bring in other private investment over time.”
“Our current plan calls for about 750 units of which more than one-third will be subsidized, another third will be affordable and another third market rate,” said Ismael Guerrero, the Denver Housing Authority Executive Director. “It’s Denver’s next best neighborhood and it comes at a great time when there’s an affordable housing crunch.”
The first apartment complex will be shovel-ready in 2017 with a completion around 2019. The overall plan is for more than $200 million to be spent in the 410-acre neighborhood.
Xcel Energy plans to decommission part of a steam plant and is willing to hand over the land along the river. DHA says they plan to develop more housing and a park on that land. The full buildout also includes expansion to the Sun Valley Youth Center.
“The location and the amenities that will be there will allow us to attract market-rate renters and homeowners as well. The riverfront, great transportation, close to downtown, close to the Auraria Campus; those are all things that families of all incomes want to be able to take advantage of,” Guerrero said.
The long-term plan includes development along Old Colfax and on Mile High Stadium property.
The Broncos organization said in a statement, “Our organization fully supports the enhancement of the area around the stadium, including the Sun Valley neighborhood. While we’ve had discussions with the Metropolitan Football Stadium District and the city about the future development surrounding the stadium, those conversations have been very preliminary and have not included any cost estimates.”
Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he’s been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.