Early in November, Boulder City Council encouraged developers to offer diverse housing at Eastpointe. The aging apartment complex in East Boulder was owned by an ambivalent landlord who kept rental rates reasonable. In December 2014, the property was purchased by Aimco, a Denver based company that is one of the largest owners and operators of apartment communities in the US. Aimco wishes to redevelop the site, but must abide by the City Council’s goals for affordable housing.
In early September the City Council called for the plans to be reviewed during concept phase even though they could not deny the project during this phase. They are only able to offer suggestions consistent with their goals. “We can’t prevent property owners from redeveloping,” Mayor Suzanne Jones said, “but I do think we can try to have it done as sensitively as possible.”
The Eastpointe proposal seems to meet City Council’s affordable housing and increased dwelling density goals. Cash in lieu for affordable housing and an increase in dwelling count from 140 units to 233 help further the Council’s goals. The current parking would be moved underground to leave room for additional green space in the complex.
All these changes will have an impact on those living in Eastpointe as rents are expected to dramatically increase. Residents have spoken out about this increase, concerned about their ability to afford continuing to live there. Another concern is the focus on smaller units which will exclude many families.
“I’m very concerned about the loss of two-bedroom units and the lack of much idea of where those people who right now are occupying those two-bedroom units are supposed to go,” Councilwoman Lisa Morzel said to Aimco representatives. “I would ask that you consider the current residents and really look for what we’re looking for, which is housing that meets more than one person’s needs.”
Aimco Senior Vice President Patti Shwayder stated that it was not likely they would be able to provide low-income housing on the new site. Aimco claims to offer help relocating any residents to the best of their ability. “We’re not a fix-and-flipper,” she said. “We like to be a part of the community. This is great housing where it should be. We’re replacing aging and really inefficient buildings that will come down at some point … with a brand new community that will be sustainable and last for a long time.”