Ruby Hill Residences opens

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Ruby Hill Residences opened in SW Denver.

Ruby Hill Residences provides 114 affordable rental units.

Ruby Hill Residences honored by Mayor Hancock.

Ruby Hill Residences

Ruby Hill Residences, designed by OZ Architecture, provides 114, much-needed affordable rental units in southwest Denver.

Ruby Hill Residences is the first new apartment community to open in a long time in a long-neglected part of southwest Denver.

On Monday, Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock, developer Henry Burgwyn and other officials celebrated the opening of the 114-unit, $20.4 million, 4-story project at 1144 S. Pecos St.

The demand for the units, restricted to low-and moderate income renters is immense, said Burgwyn, principal of the Burgwyn Co.

“All 114-units have been leased up in a month,” Burgwyn said on Monday. “I would say that is a sign of pretty high demand.”

Burgwyn, who has developed more than 1,500 units during the past 15 years or so, said he has never leased up a project so quickly.

The area is in desperate need for rental housing, he said.

“Nothing new has been built there for more than 25 years,” Burgwyn said. “And I mean nothing. Market-rate or affordable.”

Ruby Hill Residences

Developer Henry Burgwyn, Mayor Michael B. Hancock, Irv Halter, executive director of the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, and Paul Washington, executive director of the Denver Office of Economic Development, cut the ceremonial ribbon on Monday for Ruby Hill Residences.

The  building on 3.1 acres was designed by OZ Architecture.

Public finance partners for Ruby Hill Residences include the Denver Office of Economic Development Colorado Housing and Finance Authority and the Colorado Division of Housing.

“Affordable housing is one of our biggest challenges as a city,” Hancock said.

“There is great progress underway to make and keep Denver affordable through exciting new projects like Ruby Hill Residences,” Hancock continued.

“We’re proud as a city to have dedicated funds, which in turn has spurred additional public and private investment to make these 114 new homes possible for our people,” the mayor said.

The one- and two-bedroom units for available to households earning 60 percent or less of the area median income. A family of three can earn up to $43,260 to qualify.

One reason the units leased so quickly is that the Veterans Administration reserved 28 of the units for formerly homeless and disabled veterans, Burgwyn said. Also, he said he had a contract with the Denver Housing Administration for another 57 units.

“We had a waiting list for the remaining units and those people came from within a two or three block radius,” Burgwyn said.

Residents began moving into the building in early May.

Construction of Ruby Hill Residences was completed in compliance with the Enterprise Green Communities Criteria, which promote energy efficiency and environmentally responsive building practices.

The building includes rooftop photoelectric solar panels.

Features of the building include a community room with a kitchen, library, game room, conference room, and business center. Exterior amenities include a courtyard, children’s play area, and community garden.

The OED provided $875,000 in financing from federal housing funds to help support the development. The loan guarantees an affordability period of at least 40 years on all the units.

Ruby Hill Residences represents the latest affordable units to be created under the mayor’s “3×5 challenge.”

While Burgwyn started working on the community three or four years ago, “it seems like I have been working on this deal since I was in high school,” joked Burgwyn, who has been involved in Denver as either a lender or developer since the 1970s.

Hancock’s 3X5 challenge was announced in 2013.

The challenge calls for the development, rehabilitation or preservation of 3,000 affordable housing units over five years.

The city and the real estate development community have produced 1,833 units thus far. Almost 1,000 additional units are under construction.

The city is currently working to expand affordable housing resources through the creation of a new local funding source.

The goal is to provide at least $150 million in new affordable housing between 2017 and 2027.

Plenty of demand remains in the Ruby Hill area, Burgwyn said.

He said if he could wave a magic wand and bring additional affordable housing to the area, the demand exists for several hundred more units.

 Have a story idea or real estate tip? Contact John Rebchook at JRCHOOK@gmail.com. DenverRealEstateWatch.com is sponsored by 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 GlobeSt.com, covering commercial real estate for the Internet publication.

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