Despite planning processes that sometimes seemed to last forever and construction that was hindered by extreme weather this year, two major new housing projects catering to the region’s ballooning population remain on target to open by the end of the year.
Dirt has been moving on Columbine Commons assisted living and Windsor Meadows Apartments through most of the year, and the construction fences at both are slowly coming down while rental applications continue to flood in from hundreds of interested people looking to move into an already-competitive housing market.
Just a mile north of King Soopers, Windsor Meadows Apartments will soon welcome 44 families to the 6-acre workforce housing site. Equipped with one, two and three-bedroom units, singles and families are applying in droves for a slot at the apartments, which will include a multi-use clubhouse, playground, basketball courts and spaces for grilling.
Plus, the homes are being built to tight environmental standards and even include solar panels on every roof, capable of producing 178 kilowatt hours of electricity — enough to power the buildings in the development and contribute electricity back onto the grid.
Leasing is ongoing. So far, more than 70 applications have been submitted, and move-in will likely be a phasing process beginning in December with full occupancy expected by the end of January or early February, Windsor Housing Authority chairman John Moore said.
“The closer we get to finishing, the more we expect that number to go up,” he said. “Everything has just gone very smoothly.”
Workforce housing differs drastically from “the projects” or Section 8 developments, Moore said. Built especially for residents who may work lower-paying retail jobs in the community, the affordable housing development is the culmination of years of planning and a series of grants from the local, state and federal levels. Rent prices are based on average median incomes for the area — about $78,000 per household near Windsor. Rents are expected to vary from about $380 to about $700 per month.
As workers set brick siding, ran electrical wiring and crafted building interiors, Moore explained that the painstaking five years of work was finally paying off. The project remains on schedule, though with extra workers who have been racing to make up for lost time after September’s rainstorms and a late-season snowstorm, which combined set the project behind by almost a month.
“We’re really striving to keep that schedule,” Moore said. “We managed to stay on budget and on schedule even with the two challenges.”
At the intersection of 15th and Main streets, sits a more visible development, Columbine Commons.
The $11 million, 62,000-square foot assisted living facility includes a 30-bed nursing home with private rooms along with a two-story, 60-unit apartment-style complex. Together, the latest addition to Columbine Health Systems can support 90 residents with therapy services, medical assistance and long-term care.
The project remains on schedule and is slated to open Dec. 9 to residents.
“We were really lucky the weather was not a factor for us,” said Yvonne Myers, health systems director with Columbine Health Systems. The group also lucked out by purchasing lumber all at once last fall before a spike in prices hit the market.
“Sometimes things just work out well,” she added.
More than 40 people have already submitted applications, and building tours and room reservations will begin in November. Myers explained that Columbine Commons will include several things that set it apart from a typical nursing home including cook-to-order meals and a quieter environment.
The facility also is bringing more than 100 jobs to the area. Department heads already have been hired, and the process will continue throughout October and into November, Myers said.