Durango, CO: Council took a big step forward on the 120-unit affordable housing project Residences at Durango on Tuesday, by approving a modified finance structure for the project.
The project will convert the former 72-room Best Western Motel at 21382 US Highway 160 into affordable housing. In addition to rehabilitating the current structure, 48 new units will also be constructed.
“This is the first hotel-to-rental conversion in the state of Colorado to utilize low-income housing tax credits," Housing Innovation Program Manager Eva Henson told councilors. "We're the first. So we're learning a lot by doing this project."
The development will serve households earning 30% to 60% of the Area Median Income with a mix of studios, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom units. The projected completion of the development is early 2025. A groundbreaking celebration is scheduled for Oct. 27.
Residences at Durango is the largest tax credit project in Southwest Colorado.
Council held a study session on Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. and its regularly scheduled meeting at 5:30 p.m.
At the study session council:
- Were presented with requests for community support funding in 2024. Community support funding is used to help fund programs like the co-responder program between Durango Police and Axis Healthcare System, the La Plata County Humane Society, and United Way of Southwest Colorado.
- Received an update on the Residences at Durango affordable housing project. The project plans to renovate the former Best Western Motel located at 21382 US Highway 160 into 120 affordable housing units in Durango.
At the regular meeting council:
- Heard a presentation on the SOIL Outdoor Learning Lab. The project is an outdoor space rooted in community engagement, educational and economic opportunity, multigenerational collaboration, cultural, and ecological stewardship, and healthy living practices. Based at Riverview Elementary School, the lab's community garden provides educational plots for Durango School District 9-R students, and 50 plots are available to rent through Durango Parks and Recreation. "Few things connect a community better than food," said Councilor Dave Woodruff. "To see a project like this start as a vision and an idea be brought to completion is so great, especially one that has multigenerational impact."
- Voted to approve modifications to the financing structure regarding $4 million in federal grants to keep the Residences at Durango development on track to create 120 affordable housing units in Durango.
- Adopted an ordinance that would prohibit firearms and other deadly weapons in city buildings.
- Requested a public hearing to subdivide 1235 and 1295 Camino del Rio into three lots comprised of lot 1 for the future Durango Fire Protection District Station #2, lot 2 for the Powerhouse Science Center, and lot 3 for city parks uses.
- Convened in executive session to receive legal advice regarding possible litigation concerning a contract dispute involving JRC Consulting.
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