Durango, CO: Two housing projects in Durango were awarded grants to help lower the cost of activities before construction begins such as environmental studies, site preparation, market studies, surveys and other fees.
The Durango Crossings project was awarded $69,620 and Rivergate III project was awarded $22,000 from The La Plata Economic Development Alliance’s Housing Catalyst Fund Committee and Working Group.
“The Catalyst Fund is helping with predevelopment costs for projects that support the city’s housing goals that aim to increase below market housing development for local workforce, said Eva Henson, Durango’s Housing Innovation Manager. “We are excited the city had two qualifying projects that received funding from the first round of the Catalyst Fund.”
Durango Crossings project was the successful bidder for the City of Durango’s Request for Qualifications for city owned parcels located at 1500 Florida Road and the developer’s adjacent owned land, to create a mixed-income community on approximately 7 acres. In exchange for the city’s vacant land, the developer has committed to build at least 50% of the rental units for Durango local workforce tenants as well as a minimum of 50% of the for-sale units. The workforce units will target workers earning 70% to 120% Area Median Income (AMI). Total number of units has not been determined at this time.
Rivergate III project is part of the original Rivergate area that was planned and approved in 2003 for residential and commercial development. Rivergate III would consist of Lots 4 and 5 and plans to create residential units and a small amount of commercial space. The site is approximately 3.7 acres and could accommodate multi-family residential units such as townhomes, condominiums, or apartments. The lots are currently “shovel ready” but the total number of units has not been determined at this time.
The predevelopment costs are critical to determining the viability of a project, but are often underfunded or not funded at all, said Michael French, Executive Director of the Alliance. “We are delighted that it is now a reality and at work in our community,” he said. “The first round of funding through the Catalyst Fund provided much needed capital to area workforce housing projects that will help ensure we have below market housing available to working members of our community.”
Four projects, including the two in Durango, received $187,920 in grants from the alliance. The Catalyst Fund was a key recommendation that emerged from the 3-Year Workforce Housing Investment Strategy commissioned by the alliance and published last year in partnership with a team of housing consultants. To date, the fund has raised $650,000 and the alliance anticipates that number will increase to up to $1.25 million by the end of the year.
These housing projects feature a mix of rental and for-sale products. Eligible applicants of the Catalyst Fund using state and federal subsidies must commit to providing at least 25% of available units as below-market and funding allocations will be prioritized based on a project’s readiness to proceed.
Below-market is defined as housing that can be delivered to local community members at the following prices:
- Rental housing that delivers new rental units that provide rents affordable to households earning less than 140% Area Median Income and For-Sale housing that delivers affordable housing units available to households earning less than 160% AMI. All affordability calculations will follow the annual AMI chart/and calculations for HomesFund’s loan fund and the City of Durango’s Fair Share program.
The Housing Catalyst Fund was financially seeded by a combination of grants that include the City of Durango and La Plata County. The Alliance plans to open a second round of funding by the beginning of September and award projects by November. Complete criteria and details about how to apply are available on The Alliance website and the Alliance will be hosting a Catalyst Fund Q&A Session in September.
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