Construction on 168 affordable housing units is underway in southeast Colorado Springs, following a ceremonial groundbreaking on Tuesday. Bentley Commons, the $64 million project, is close to 15 years in the making, as local groups have been eyeing affordable housing on the plot since 2009.
The nonprofit groups Greccio Housing, Partners in Housing, and Rocky Mountain Community Land Trust worked under one organization, GPR Properties, to bring the Bentley Commons project to life.
Lee Patke, the executive director of Greccio Housing, said that the plot of land near the intersection of Hancock Expressway and Astrozon Boulevard was originally supposed to house a series of high-end condo buildings. However, the developer at the time was only able to build two of the proposed buildings before the 2008 financial crisis forced him to abandon the project.
Patke said his organization, along with Partners in Housing and Rocky Mountain Community Land Trust were able to take on the property in 2009 and turn the existing buildings into affordable housing. He said ever since, they've had plans in place to expand their footprint and build more units on the land.
“We always had a plan to fully develop and fully realize the potential on that property,” he said. “It really has been a project 15 years in the making.”
In southeast Colorado Springs, affordable housing is in high demand. Erika Tunson, the principal of Monterey Elementary School in Harrison School District 2, said that she has seen teachers and families leave the district in recent years because of the high cost of housing.
Tunson said Bentley Commons represents an investment in her community.
“I was really excited to hear about it,” she said. “The commitment to bring [Bentley Commons] here, it just shows that we're ready to build the southeast part of the city, which should be an area we invest in, because it is one of our most diverse areas in the city…and I think that's great for our students, for our city, for our district.”
Patke said he expects the apartments to start seeing tenants in the summer of 2025.
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