Construction of Colorado’s Largest Net-Zero-Ready Affordable Housing Development Underway
The Boulder County Housing Authority (BCHA) has taken another major step toward beginning construction on what will be one of the largest mixed-use and environmentally sustainable net-zero affordable housing neighborhoods ever built in Boulder County. On Tuesday, April 18, Lafayette City Council unanimously approved BCHA’s site plan for the first phase of building Willoughby Corner, which will ultimately bring 400 new rentals and for sale affordable homes to Lafayette when fully complete.
Pinkard Construction, an affordable housing general contractor celebrating 60 years in Colorado, was awarded the project in 2022 and is working closely with BCHA, Norris Design, and HB&A Architects.
“Pinkard is excited to be a part of BCHA’s mission to provide housing relief to the families, individuals, single parents, older adults, and people living with disabilities in the area,” said Tony Burke, president of Pinkard Construction. “Our preconstruction team has been working hard to make this milestone possible, leveraging everything we have learned from building more than 50 affordable housing projects in Colorado.”
Willoughby Corner’s net-zero affordable homes will serve generations of families, individuals, older adults, and the workforce earning at or below 60 percent of the Area’s Median Income. For example, for a family of three, this amounts to a maximum annual income of $67,740.
The Willoughby Corner Phase I approval is a significant milestone in a collaboration between BCHA and the City of Lafayette that began in 2017 with the city’s negotiation and purchase of 24 acres of land along east Emma Street, followed by the city and Boulder County entering into an intergovernmental agreement to dedicate the site for affordable housing. With Tuesday’s council approval, construction can begin on Willoughby Corner in May, with the first homes, 63 affordable ADA-accessible apartments for adults age 55 and over, ready for move-in as early as fall 2024. The first phase also includes 129 affordable multi-family homes and a community center.
“We are thrilled to be able to break ground,” said Boulder County Housing Authority Director Norrie Boyd. “So much planning and hard work have gotten us to this point, and the City of Lafayette has understood since day one what an opportunity this represents for making access to stable, affordable housing more equitable in the community. Our partnership with the city has been vital to making this happen, and we couldn’t be more grateful for that.”
One of the many outcomes of this engagement is that Willoughby Corner will be the largest net-zero-ready affordable housing development in Colorado when complete. The buildings utilize solar and geothermal technology and incorporate highly energy-efficient building designs and materials.
In addition to the City of Lafayette’s financial support with nearly $1.5 million in fee waivers for the first phases of the project, the $3.1M purchase of the land, and $5.3M in grants for Willoughby’s water rights, Willoughby Corner is also possible because of Boulder County Commissioners’ help with funding. Over the past several months, Commissioners have added nearly $13 million in the county and American Rescue Plan Act funds to help ensure Willoughby Corner can continue to advance through financing and approvals processes and that construction on its first phase can begin on time.
The financial closing for Willoughby Corner’s first phase loans will occur in early May, followed by a groundbreaking for the 55-and-over building. BCHA anticipates applications to be released for the first phase of homes in spring 2024. Boulder County and its partners will continue to keep community members updated about construction, the next phases of Willoughby Corner, and leasing, and encourage anyone wanting information to sign up for the interest list at www.WilloughbyCorner.org, where updates about eligibility and project timelines are also available.