The Next Step In The $1 Land Deal

In March, 2018, we brought you news of a 1.14 acre parcel of land, valued at $570,000, that was gifted by the City of Colorado Springs to a non-profit builder of low income housing, for the price of $1. We said at the time that, “some would look at this as a loss of $569,999 to the taxpayers.”

The development will be called “The Atrium at Austin Bluffs.”

That non-profit company has been working hard to acquire tax credits for the affordable housing project and is now asking for the City to issue Private Activity Bonds. As far as we can tell, the financing won’t be a negative impact on taxpayers. If any readers see that differently, please let us know.

The 54-bedroom apartment building will be built jammed onto 1.14 acres on Austin Bluffs and Templeton Gap Rd. Neighbors and businesses in that area are concerned, as the lot is too small for an apartment building and a parking lot. In addition, this is a busy street with no easy access to walk to shopping, and little public transportation.

We all want low-income residents to have access to great housing, but we don’t think this was the  best option for them. Had the property been sold for market value, could that money have been used to purchase property in an area that had more amenities and transportation options for these low-income seniors?

It feels like the City is putting a square peg in to a round hole in the name of infill. Although this ship has sailed, despite the objections of the neighbors, there should be more public process when there are future infill projects. It could be your neighborhood next. We have seen other infill projects that left the taxpayers on the hook when problems arise later. Will there be additional fallout for the taxpayers?

See the July 8thCity Council Work session video here for further explanation of the project. And to see everyone exceptthe taxpayer thanked for this project.

The vote for the Private Activity Bonds is on the “consent calendar” at the July 23rdmeeting of the Colorado Springs City Council, listed as item 4.B.J. Consent calendar means that if no member of City Council asks for it to be taken off consent, it will be voted on without discussion. If you’d like to ensure there is a discussion about this topic, you can call City Council offices at 719-385-5986, or email your City Council Member. Their individual email addresses can be found here.

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