Mercy Housing plans affordable housing at Northfield project in Fort Collins

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Affordable housing developer Mercy Housing Mountain Plains plans to develop up to 84 affordable housing units within the proposed Northfield development in northeast Fort Collins.

The nonprofit Mercy Housing plans to buy 6.5 acres from Northfield developer Landmark Homes. 

The project, north of Vine Drive and the Alta Vista neighborhood and west of Lemay Avenue, would be reserved for people making an average of 60% of the area median income, or AMI.

The 2020 AMI for a single person in Fort Collins is $65,900. A person earning 60% of that would make about $39,500.

Pictured is a rendering of the Northfield subdivision proposed in northeast Fort Collins.

This will be Mercy Housing’s second project in Fort Collins after Springfield Court on Taft Hill Road, which opened in 1997.

The nonprofit started by the Sisters of Mercy in Omaha 35 years ago presented its conceptual plans to city staff in January and hopes to submit its formal development application this summer. As per city requirements, it will hold a neighborhood meeting before plans are submitted. 

Mercy Housing hopes to break ground in the fall with construction averaging about 14 months. “These things don’t happen overnight even though the demand” is immediate, said Kuhl Brown, regional director of real estate development for Mercy Housing. 

Brown said Mercy Housing was looking for development sites in Fort Collins when a mutual contact said Landmark was looking for a potential developer for its affordable homes component.

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According to its conceptual review application filed with the city, Mercy Housing plans 84 apartments in seven two- and three-story walk-ups including 22 one-bedroom, 44 two-bedroom and 18 three-bedroom units. 

There will also be on-site staff, an office and leasing center, community clubhouse and playground.

Northfield’s first filing will include up to 442 homes and includes a metro district, which partially reimburses developers for public improvements by increasing property taxes in the district area. 

The affordable homes help Landmark satisfy one of the requirements of the metro district to provide a public benefit within the district, Brown said. 

Mercy Housing can be a “showcase” for the city’s ability to leverage more affordable housing with metro district approvals, he said. “It’s high on the list for council and something Landmark and Mercy (Housing) feel strongly about.”

City Council approved the Northfield metro district in February 2020.  

Residents’ taxes would reimburse some of about $30 million in planned infrastructure improvements, including a half-mile extension of future arterial street Suniga Road, constructing a storm sewer and replacing a dilapidated sanitary sewer in the area, creating a trail section and greenspace, and building an on-site pool and clubhouse, among other things. 

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Affordable housing projects in Fort Collins

New 

  • Mason Place: 60 units at 3750 S. Mason Place for people with disabilities who were experiencing homelessness. Developed by Housing Catalyst of Fort Collins. Status: Opened in January. 

Under construction

  • Harmony Cottages: 48 new units being built by Fort Collins Habitat for Humanity on the southeast corner of Harmony and Taft Hill roads. Status: Some units are done and occupied. Buildout expected in 2022
  • Lakeview on the Rise: An 80-unit low-income housing project at 6740 S. College Ave.,  just south of Trilby Road on the east side of College Avenue. Status: Partially open.
  • Volunteers of America: Located on the west side of the intersection of Drake Road and Joseph Allen Drive, this project is designed to house up to 55 lower-income seniors. Status: Closing on land near the end of February. Construction expected to start in March. 

   Affordable housing projects in the pipeline 

  • Mercy Housing: 84 multifamily units at the future southeast corner of Suniga Drive and Redwood Street. It is part of Landmark Homes’ Northfield development project. Status: Preliminary review by city staff in late January. 
  • Spark: 79 apartment units for those making between 30% and 80% of the area median income at the corner of Oak and Remington streets. A person earning 30% of the area median income would make about $19,800 per year. Someone earning 80% would make about $52,700. Joint project between Downtown Development Authority and Housing Catalyst. Status: Construction is expected to begin in the spring and be ready for occupancy in spring 2022.   
  • 3620 Kechter Road: 54 townhomes on the northwest corner of Kechter Road and Jupiter Drive east of Twin Silo Park. The project is on 5 acres owned by the city’s Land Bank and is being developed by TWG Development LLC. Status: Public hearing in January. Waiting on approval. 
  • Sun Communities: 15% of units at a 200-home manufactured home community at South College Avenue and Trilby Road will be deed-restricted for low-income residents. Status: Awaiting city approval. 

Committed

  • Montava: 15% percent, or 600 units, of Montava’s housing inventory will be affordable and attainable. Status: Overall development plan has been approved but the project is waiting on approval for its water plan in Colorado Water Court. 
  • Hartford Homes on East Mulberry Street and Greenfields Court: 15% of total units will be permanently affordable for people making less than 80% of area median income. Status: Waiting on city approval. 

In their infancy

  • Heart of the Rockies Christian Church: Early proposal for 84  houses and apartments for lower-income residents and people with disabilities. Partnership among the church, CARE Housing, Habitat for Humanity and Friends of L’Arche Fort Collins.  

Coloradoan reporter Jacy Marmaduke contributed to this report. 

Pat Ferrier is a senior reporter covering business, health care and growth issues in Northern Colorado. Contact her at patferrier@coloradoan.com. Please support her work and that of other Coloradoan journalists by purchasing a subscription today.