Fort Collins affordable housing buildings get serious makeover

Village on Shields
A newly renovated building

Housing Catalyst is undertaking a major rehabilitation of three affordable housing communities that comprise the Village on Shields in Fort Collins.

In all, 22 buildings with 285 units will receive an extensive makeover, and a long-shuttered community building will be brought back to life as part of the multimillion-dollar project.

The renovations are being funded in part by an $18.2 million Freddie Mac tax exempt loan provided by New York-based Hunt Mortgage Group. Support also was provided by RBC Capital Markets, JPMorgan Chase, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, city of Fort Collins, Colorado Division of Housing, Villages Ltd. and Housing Catalyst, formerly Fort Collins Housing Authority.

The three communities that comprise the Village on Shields – the Windmill, Cunningham and Richmond – were built through the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program between 1991 and 1995 and were purchased in 2013. They are affordable to residents who make up to 60 percent of area median income, according to Kim Iwanski, Housing Catalyst manager of communications and organizational excellence.

The properties at 3425 Windmill Drive, 1025 Cunningham Drive and 1000 W. Horsetooth Road were in need of repair inside and out; in some cases balconies had to be locked off for safety reasons, said Iwanski. Housing Catalyst purposely left units vacant as residents moved out so that it could relocate residents from each building within the community as renovations take place.

“That involves moving everybody out of the building to temporary housing and then moving them all back in. It’s a very big process since there’s a total of 285 apartments through these three communities,” Iwanski said.

The project is just getting underway, but a couple of buildings have been completed. “We’ve already had families moving back into rehabilitated properties, and they said they’re the most beautiful place they’ve ever lived,” Iwanski commented.

Scheduled to be completed in December 2018, the project includes new siding, windows, doors and balconies, as well as plumbing work and the addition of central air conditioning. Units will receive new appliances, countertops, cabinetry, fixtures, flooring and bathroom tile. Washers and dryers also are being added.

The community clubhouse and pool have been closed for many years and also are being renovated. There will be barbecue and picnic areas as well as a dog park. “We’re really excited to bring all of those communities together in a nice common space,” Iwanski said, noting the goal is to have that part of the renovation completed by Memorial Day.

Palace Construction is the contractor for the rehabilitation. Alm2s is the architect.

“All of the residents are just so excited about this. They’ve been waiting for this to be done, so we have really great community spirit. It seems to have rejuvenated the energy at the properties, which is really nice.”

In discussing Hunt Mortgage Group’s role in the project, Hunt Mortgage Director Tim Hoppin said, “There is a high demand for housing in the Fort Collins area and the deal sponsor is an experienced sponsor of affordable housing. We were pleased to play a role in this deal to help preserve much needed quality affordable housing in the local community. This is a great example of how 4 percent low-income housing tax credits and private activity bonds are utilized to ensure long-term affordability for residents in need of stable housing.”

Featured in CREJ’s Jan. 3-16, 2018, issue

Jill Jamieson-Nichols has been an Editor with the Colorado Real Estate Journal for more than 15 years, providing coverage of office, industrial, hospitality and mixed-use development news in the Denver metro area, plus all property types in Northern Colorado, Boulder County and along the Highway 36 corridor. Prior to joining CREJ, Jill was Editor of…