For more information about affordable housing opportunities in Boulder, go to boulderhousing.org.
Boulder Housing Partners has opened a new 34-unit affordable apartment building aimed primarily at working people, and it already has a waiting list.
WestView Apartments, 4600 N. Broadway, was built in connection with the TwoNineNorth apartment project near 30th and Walnut streets to comply with the city's inclusionary housing ordinance, which requires that 20 percent of any new housing development be permanently affordable.
That requirement can be met on-site or off-site or by paying a cash-in-lieu fee.
WestView originally was built as a condominium project, which would be kept permanently affordable through deed restrictions. However, the project ultimately was sold to Boulder Housing Partners to be permanently affordable rental housing.
BHP bought the property in October for $4.5 million, less than the $5.1 million cap that the city's inclusionary housing ordinance placed on the property.
The building includes one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, each with slightly different floorplans, large windows, private balconies or patios and individual storage spaces. All have energy-efficient appliances, tankless water heaters, whole house fans and plenty of natural light. The units are Energy Smart and Enterprise Green Communities rated.
Prospective tenants cannot earn more than 50 percent of the area median income, which is $32,850 for a single person and $46,900 for a family of four.
Monthly rents for the one-bedroom units start at $825, including utilities.
The rents are based on the idea that affordable housing should not cost more than a third of someone's income.
Eric and Lara Izant were among the first tenants to sign a lease at WestView and moved in this weekend. Eric Izant is a doctoral student at the University of Colorado, and Lara Izant is a medical receptionist. They had been renting in Northglenn and commuting to Boulder.
Their rent at WestView is about a third less than other, equivalent apartments they looked at in Boulder, and Eric Izant said he expects to save a lot of money by not commuting.
"We're really happy because with the commute it was an hour to and from each day," Eric Izant said as he took a break from moving Friday. "We're hoping to save quite a bit compared to before."
The project is aimed at "workforce" housing, people who work in Boulder but cannot afford to live here on their wages.
The goal of the city's inclusionary housing policy is to have 10 percent of the city's housing stock -- roughly 4,500 units -- be permanently affordable, with about three-quarters of the units being rentals and one-quarter being housing that residents own and can buy and sell, though only at a restricted affordable price.
"Neither part of the goal has been completely met, but it's a very significant outcome to have these units be available to live in," said Jeff Yegian, acting housing division manager for the city's Housing and Human Services Department. "The city is really pleased to see these attractive, affordable units come online."
The city has about 3,000 permanently affordable units, including 300 beds at the homeless shelter and various group homes, Yegian said.
There are roughly 2,000 permanently affordable rental units and about 700 deed-restricted, permanently affordable for-sale units.
The slowdown in the housing market and the damper it put on new construction over the last several years has meant less new affordable housing was built in Boulder. Now, the city has three more projects in the planning stages through the inclusionary housing program and expects to add another 70 permanently affordable units by the end of the year.
"The overall market has shifted pretty dramatically away from for-sale condominiums to rental properties," Yegian said. "We're seeing more and more doing cash-in-lieu payments or rental housing being built."
Boulder Housing Partners has leased 14 of the 34 units and has a waiting list as it reviews income eligibility for the other units.
"We could use quite a bit more of this kind of housing," BHP Executive Director Betsey Martens said.