Affordable housingAuroraHot SheetHousing

Aurora OKs first step for condo high-rise

Author: Kara Mason - July 13, 2018 - Updated: July 13, 2018

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This image, provided by the city of Aurora, shows the site of a proposed high-rise condominium project. (Courtesy of the city of Aurora)

Aurora city lawmakers backed the beginnings of a proposed high-rise condominium project this week after the developer delivered on a plan to assist low-income renters who will likely be forced to move in the process.

Any major development of for-sale condos has been a rarity in metro Denver in recent years, with builders instead throwing up one apartment complex after another. State laws were changed last year to make it harder for condo owners to band together on lawsuits against builders over construction defects, but the continued high rents that luxury apartments command still make them attractive to developers.

The re-zoning of 4.8 acres in the northwest portion of the city where the Fitz on 14th apartments are now located was tabled late last month after some Aurora City Council members voiced concerns that the proposed 17-story condo building at that location would eliminate 176 affordable rental units and drive those renters further away from public transportation.

But the developer, Elevation 5471 LLC, came back with a plan this week that council member Allison Hiltz said could be a model for developers in the future.

The plan submitted to the city said the construction — which isn’t expected to happen for four to five years — would be staggered to slow relocations.

Additionally, the developer would pay moving costs for tenants being forced to move. The developer said there are 12-18 apartment complexes nearby that have rents at or less than the Fitz, and that the management company would also help relocate tenants to other properties.

Council member Angela Lawson said Monday she was pleased with the plan because she’s been an advocate to adding some building height to Aurora, which has been growing out and not up. She, along with council members Hiltz, Crystal Murillo and Nicole Johnston, originally opposed the re-zoning.

Lawson said she couldn’t support something that would displace so many families.

But the developer’s plan turned those votes around, and the re-zoning was unanimously approved.

In a letter to the city, the developer said the plans for the site include approximately 361 to 456 for-sale, multi-family units consisting of one-, two- and three-bedroom units. That was reason enough for other council members to support the re-zoning effort.

Council member Dave Gruber said it was a sign of health for Aurora’s housing market, which has hardly seen the construction of condos in recent years.

Kara Mason

Kara Mason

Kara Mason covers southern Colorado, Aurora and statewide issues for ColoradoPolitics.com. She also writes for the Aurora Sentinel.