More affordable housing is planned for Douglas County in the near future.
Plans to construct an affordable housing apartment building near South Jamaica Street and Inverness Parkway continued moving ahead after the Douglas County Board of Commissioners authorized the county's housing partnership to issue up to $32 million in private activity bonds to fund the project.
Diane Leavesley, executive director of the Douglas County Housing Partnership, said the Apex Meridian II apartment building is the second phase in what's been a highly sought-after housing project.
The first phase, developed by Shea Properties in 2014 and dubbed Apex Meridian, brought 156 affordable apartment units to the northern border of Douglas County near Interstate 25 and C-470.
“It has been full since the day it opened,” Leavesley said.
County documents show the first phase in the Apex Meridian project was fully leased before construction was completed.
“I just want to really make a statement about the success of that and how fast those units were taken up,” said Commissioner Roger Partridge, calling affordable housing key for the county's residents.
Leavesley said when speaking to Colorado Community Media about the county's affordable housing program in April the Apex project at one point had a waitlist of over 1,000 people, and that it could have been higher had officials not capped it.
In this next phase, the goal is to build 156 additional apartment units, all of which would be affordable housing. According to 2018 income requirements, a family of four with a total household income of up to $53,940 could be eligible to live in the Apex Meridian apartments. The requirement for a single-person household income is no more than $37,800 and up to $48,600 for a three-person household.
Leavesley said they hope construction can begin in December and that the entire project can be completed by June 2020.
The newest apartments will be located on unincorporated county land close to transportation hubs like RTD's Lincoln Station and large employers like Charles Schwab. In total, the project will cost $37 million, compared to $27 million for phase one.
The development will include a pool, clubhouse and fitness room for tenants. The bonds would fund construction, among other aspects of the project.
Rent for phase two apartments will be comparable to phase one, although both rates will go up by the time phase two opens in 2020, Leavesley said. A one-bedroom unit at Apex Meridian currently starts at just under $950. Rent is $1,127 for a two-bedroom unit and $1,290 for a three-bedroom apartment, according to the Apex website.
Those rents are significantly lower than market rent in Douglas County and the metro area as a whole.
The median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Lone Tree, the city nearest to the new apartment building, was $1,580 a month in August, according to apartmentlist.com. For a two-bedroom unit in Lone Tree, the median rent was $2,000, according to the website, which analyzes rental trends across the nation. Rents were slightly lower in other parts of Douglas County, according to the site, and quite a bit lower in Denver — $1,070 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,350 for a two-bedroom unit.
“We have housed a lot of our Douglas County workers in that project,” Leavesley said of the first phase, “and we're looking forward to doing it again.”