Affordable units at Balfour at Riverfront Park



  • Balfour at Riverfront Park opening this year.
  • Senior living community will include 28 units.
  • It may be the only luxury, privately owned center offering such bargain units.
Balfour at Riverfront Park is scheduled to open later this year.

Balfour at Riverfront Park is scheduled to open later this year.

When the $74 million, Balfour at Riverfront Park opens in downtown Denver this Labor Day, it will provide luxury living for people who at least 62.

A rendering showing the pool at Balfour at Riverfront Park.

A rendering showing the pool at Balfour at Riverfront Park.

While the developer, Lousiville-based Balfour Senior Living, believe the urban senior center will be as posh, or even more upscale than any suburban senior facility, while providing high level of care for those who need it, the center will have something that few other can boast as providing ― affordable units.

Some 28, or 13.7 percent, of the 205 units are affordable for qualified residents.

A rendering of Balfour at Riverfront Park, which is being designed by A.M. Stern Architects.

A rendering of Balfour at Riverfront Park, which is being designed by A.M. Stern Architects.

Balfour recently began marketing those affordable units.

“I don’t know of any other privately owned senior centers, which are not church-owned, which provide affordable units,” said Susan Juroe, the general counsel for Balfour Senior Living.

Juroe is married to Michael K. Schonbrun, Balfour’s founder, CEO and president.

“We are proud to partner with the City and County of Denver in offering affordable units in a premier location and with our signature Balfour services,” Schonbrun said.

The affordable units component traces its history back 17 years, long before Balfour was involved with the site at 1590 Little Raven St.

The design, by iconic architectural firm Robert A.M. Stern Architects of New York, incorporates the historic Moffat railroad station on the site.

Originally, Archstone Properties, a luxury apartment builder that previously was based in Denver, in 1997 agreed to provide the affordable housing component under a planned unit development, or PUD, it signed with the city, Juroe explained.

The PUD predates the city’s inclusionary zoning, which, in any case, required affordable units for larger for-sale projects, and not rental communities.

“At build-out, Archstone was planning 400 unit and the 28 affordable units could easily be absorbed,” Juroe said.

Indeed, the 28 units would only have accounted for 7 percent of its total units.

Balfour took control of the land in 2006, a year before Archstone was bought by Tishman Speyer Properties and Lehman Brothers for $22.2 billion, a deal so big that it helped contribute to the financial crisis.

The Great Recession also delayed the construction of Balfour. Balfour was able to land financing last year, but the current plan was scaled back from the original development it planned in the mid-2000s, Juroe said.

Qualifying residents for 21 of the affordable units are those with annual household incomes at or below 100 percent of Denver’s annual published median income, which is currently $61,400 for 2014 for a two person household

Seven of the units are available to those with 50 percent of the AMI, or area median income.

It’s anticipated that those who qualify, would be charged monthly rents ranging from about $1,6000 to $3,100. Market-rate rents range for independent living units will from about $3,500 to $8,000, depending on the unit and level of service.

There also will be units for assisted living and memory care, including those with Alzheimer’s.

Those who qualify for affordable units will enjoy all the amenities of those who are paying market-rate leases.

“Our residents will enjoy numerous amenities including fine restaurant dining, limousine service, pool, spa and exercise program and over 300 planned activities/excursions per month,” Schonbrun said.

Floorplans include one bedroom, one bath apartment homes featuring full kitchens with granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and bathrooms with Carrera marble vanities and glass showers.

The affordable units provide more than just a discount in rents.

The $10,000 entry fee, already low by industry standards, is waived for those who qualify for the affordable units, Juroe said.

There is a Classic Residence by Hyatt in Palo Alto, Calif, which requires an entry fee of about $1 million, for example.

To qualify, the size of a person’s assets aren’t exclusionary, provided the earnings off of those assets don’t exceed the annual median income.

“Basically, that means your assets do not matter, as long as your assets do not generate revenues beyond what would make you qualified,” Juroe said.

“If you had $10 million in real estate in New York City, and it was in your son’s name, it wouldn’t count against you,” she said.

Under Riverfront Park’s Affordable Housing Plan, annual income re-certifications are required for each household.

Interested in buying a home in Riverfront Park? Please visit

Have a story idea or real estate tip? Contact John Rebchook at is sponsored by Universal Lending, Land Title Guarantee and 8z Real Estate. To read more articles by John Rebchook, subscribe to the Colorado Real Estate Journal.




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John Rebchook

John Rebchook has more than 30 years of experience in writing and communications. As the Real Estate Editor for the Rocky Mountain News, he wrote about residential and commercial real estate for 26 years. He has won numerous awards for business stories and columns that he wrote, both as an individual and part of teams. In addition to real estate, he also covered economic development, banking and financing, the airlines, and cable TV for the Rocky. In addition, he was one of the original freelance writers for, covering commercial real estate for the Internet publication.

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