Boulder Housing Partners (BHP) reached a major milestone this month toward developing a long vacant, blighted parking lot at 2850 Iris Avenue into a new community of 73 affordable homes.

BHP is one of only 12 developers statewide to be awarded 9% federal and state housing tax credits by the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority, for its Diagonal Plaza development. The tax credits are worth as much as $13 million to help finance this 73-unit, two-building affordable apartment community.

The two-acre Diagonal Plaza redevelopment will consist of 40 one-bedroom apartments, 27 two-bedroom apartments, and six three-bedroom apartments for households earning between 30% and 60% of Area Median Income. For a one-bedroom apartment, this translates into monthly rents ranging from approximately $747 to $1,494. In addition, BHP will set aside five three-bedroom apartments for families experiencing homelessness, or at risk of homelessness, and will provide supportive services once they are housed.

As with all recent BHP tax credit projects, Diagonal Plaza will be an all-electric site with a goal of Net Zero Energy, a large solar array, easy access to public transportation including provision of Eco-Passes to residents, and water-wise landscaping.

“The Diagonal Plaza apartments will provide essential and beautifully designed affordable homes in this area that has long been blighted while helping the City of Boulder with its goal to transform the 28th and 30th Street corridors into mixed-use and mixed income walkable neighborhoods,” said Jeremy Durham, BHP executive director.

BHP’s Diagonal Plaza development is adjacent to a  parcel owned by Trammell Crow Residential (TCR), which will build 230 market rate apartments.  The two separate developments will share a community park, new sidewalks, access to city bike and multi-use trails and better access to high-frequency transit, grocery stores and neighborhood servicing retail stores.  TCR conveyed the two-acre property to BHP to satisfy a portion of their inclusionary housing ordinance requirement to the City of Boulder.

BHP also owns and manages the 30-unit Diagonal Court affordable apartment community south of the site, which underwent extensive renovations in 2016. Long an island of apartments cut off by the vacant parking lot, it will be integrated into the new redevelopment. BHP will offer the same service programming as provided at Diagonal Court to the new affordable residents at Diagonal Plaza, including after school and parent programming, community food share, computer lab access, wellness programs and independent living referrals to other partner service organizations.

The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program was created by Congress in 1986. Its purpose is to encourage the construction and rehabilitation of low-income rental housing by providing a federal income tax credit as an incentive to investors. Federal housing tax credits are awarded to developers of qualified projects. Developers then sell these credits to investors to raise capital (or equity) for their projects, which reduces the debt that the developer would otherwise have to borrow. Because the debt is lower, a tax credit property can in turn offer lower, more affordable rents.

This marks the first time in BHP’s 58 year history to receive two such competitive awards in a single year; the other award was a 4% state tax credit to help finance the 100-unit Rally Apartment community at 2727 29th Street.