Grace Commons Annex Site Review Dec 16th

 The Grace Commons Annex project will add 30 units of affordable housing and improve on the support of unhoused/at risk folks, all  in the heart of downtown Boulder.  On December 16th, Planning Board needs to hear from housing advocates supporting the project!

The Grace Commons Church (formerly First Presbyterian) is planning to redevelop their annex at 1603 Walnut St in Boulder. The current annex serves the unhoused population with the Deacon’s Closet providing clothes and toiletries, and the Lamb’s Ministry providing meals to those in need. The redeveloped building will house those current activities as well as a cafe on the ground floor, 30 units of affordable housing on two floors, and a top floor event space. 

The project will go before Planning Board for site review on December 16th, 2021.  As always, it’s important for housing supporters to have our voices heard.  When the project was presented to Planning Board for concept review in October 2020, the neighbors in the townhomes to the east, or in some cases, their lawyers, voiced their concern for the parking reduction. BHN Editor Claudia Thiem’s live tweeting of the meeting includes screenshots from some of the salty opposition emails that PB received.  Make your voice heard! Sign up to speak by 4pm on December 16th here

A comment from a neighbor

Housing

The two floors of housing will include efficiency living units, slightly larger studio apartments, and some one-bedroom units. All of the units, to be developed for the church by Boulder’s Element Properties, will be affordable, currently planned as 60 percent AMI (a little over $70,000 for a 4-person household). Importantly, the ability of the project to provide affordable housing depends on the overall project costs. A greater number of units and a reduced number of parking spaces all help keep the target AMI lower. The housing will be managed by a third party management company, and any potential resident who meets the income requirements will be welcome to apply.

The existing annex building

The project is also pursuing federal funding in the form of LIHTC (low-income housing tax credit). LIHTC tends to favor projects with a larger number of units, another reason that  smaller units yielding a higher total unit count is important to the project.  Because the project is one-hundred percent affordable, the church and Element will likely be pursuing contributions from the City’s affordable housing fund as well

Parking

Ground floor parking will include 19 parking spots.  While below grade parking was considered, it was quickly tossed aside due to the high cost for the size of the project.

Mixed Use

The ground floor will house the existing Deacon’s Closet and Lamb’s ministry, as well as a new cafe that will be open to the public. The cafe will employ folks from the job training that the church is adding to their outreach ministry. 

The event space has a considerable outdoor deck to capture views of the Flatirons. The space will be available for rent for a variety of events, from company retreats to weddings, with proceeds going back into the church’s unhoused outreach ministry, a rather creative model to fund supportive services.