Growth plans for the Solar Valley neighborhood in Denver

New buildings often cost the residents, but the Denver Housing Authority is looking to convert an old piece of land, now a tank farm, to create affordable housing.

DENVER – There’s a redevelopment project in the Denver Metro Area that is demolishing and rebuilding 70-year-old homes and not pricing residents.

No, this is not an onion item.

“We felt it was time to remediate this for long-term sustainable impact in Sun Valley,” said Ryan Tobin, real estate investment officer for the Denver Housing Authority.

The demolition began Tuesday on Denver Housing Authority units that existed well beyond their prime.

“These houses were built in the 1940s,” said Tobin.

Phase one of the Sun Valley renovation is complete. High-rise units called “Gateway North” and “Gateway South” have opened. The first phase is for people with 60% of the region’s median income (AMI), meaning the same people who qualified for the demolished units will qualify for the new units.

  • One person: $ 42,000 annual income
  • Two people: $ 48,000
  • Three people: $ 54,000
  • Four people: $ 60,000
  • Five people: $ 64,800
  • Six people: $ 69,600

“What happens on the 10th and Decatur is really the first phase of seven buildings being built here to replace the existing units,” said Tobin.

For every demolished bedroom, a new one is built and more. Some of the units, along with the restricted income units, are offered for whatever rental the market demands.

There’s another part of the project that took a decade to become a reality.

This part of the project requires you to take I-25 to take the exit … wait, this is not the tree farm, this is the tank farm.

“It’s kind of a crossroads of opportunities between the old rot that was really a stigma in the neighborhood, the ‘tank farm’, and now a new housing estate that just started construction in March and will serve the 135 families out here , ”Said Tobin.

The tank farm, just off 12th Avenue and Bryant Street and along the South Platte River Trail, has three empty oil tanks. The land is to be built on eight hectares, five hectares for a park and the rest for residential units.

“Just south of us there are 333 families in our apartments who have had to look at this for years and wonder what is in these tanks and what is going on around them,” said Tobin.

“I know they’ve been empty for the past 15, if not 20 years,” said Hollie Velasquez Horvath, senior director for state affairs at Xcel Energy. “They were used as a kind of fuel tank that we kept residual fuel sources in when it was a coal incinerator.”

Xcel and the “tank farm” are on the agenda of the municipal utility commission on Wednesday. The PUC – the state’s regulator – is being asked to approve the decommissioning of the tanks and chimneys on the other side of the Platte River, although that portion of the property is not part of the Sun Valley redevelopment.

The decommissioning process takes quite a while.

“It probably started shortly before a decade-long conversation with Mayor (John) Hickenlooper,” said Velasquez Horvath.

Xcel has upgraded the “tank farm” to “industrial standards” but it is up to the Denver Housing Authority to approve it for residents. What exactly are “industry standards”?

“Elitch Gardens actually conforms to industrial standards. We can clean it up enough for you to use it for commercial purposes, but it’s not compliant for people to make a living from, ”said Velasquez Horvath.

The redevelopment of the Sun Valley is taking place in the run-up to the planned construction south of Mile High for the so-called new stadium district.

This district could have a few buildings 20 to 30 stories high. How does Sun Valley avoid the G-word: gentrification with a downtown-like development bordering on Sun Valley redevelopment?

“I think there will be a seamless connection between the jobs we envision in the football and stadium district and the living space we offer. So we see it as a balance to support the people who have historically lived here to have.” “Said Tobin.

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