Downtown Greeley apartment-building plan clears DDA, heads to council

GREELEY — A trimmed-down version of a major residential project has won a tax-increment financing agreement from the Greeley Downtown Development Authority, a pact expected to go before the City Council for first-reading consideration Tuesday.

The plan has “been scaled back a little bit” from the original proposal from Richmark Homes and Indianapolis-based developer Milhaus, noted Bianca Fisher, the DDA’s executive director. What once was envisioned as a seven-story building with a two-story parking “podium” topped by five floors of residential units, she said, is now being presented as a five-story apartment building with a five-story, 258-space parking structure behind it that Becky Safarik, the city’s interim community development director, said is designed to be “tucked out of sight from the street level.”

Milhaus has built mixed-use projects throughout the Midwest. This is its first project in Colorado.

Safarik said the $71 million building at 1024 Eighth Ave., for decades the site of Gallery Furniture, is to include 194 units renting at market rate, including 116 one-bedroom apartments, 39 two-bedroom units and 39 studio apartments. They will average 742 square feet, she said.

The former home of Gallery Furniture in downtown Greeley, vacant since 2018, may be the site of a five-story apartment building. Christopher Wood/BizWest

Plans call for a resident lounge and TV area, coffee bar, mall and package room with cold food storage, 24-hour fitness center, an aqua lounge with a pool table, a kitchen for residents’ use, an indoor-outdoor bar, outdoor heated pool with a sun shelf that would be open year-round, grill stations, outdoor lounge seating and one or more fire pits.

If the City Council approves the plan and the tax-increment financing proposal, 1024 8th Ave LLC — Milhaus — would complete its purchase of the property from Richmark Cos., which purchased it for $1.35 million in 2016.

After final project design and approvals, a process that would extend through June, the construction is expected to begin in August and be completed by September 2025.

At its monthly meeting Thursday, the DDA approved a $500,000 TIF incentive upon completion, with $140,000 in additional net rebates annually until 2033, when the DDA’s TIF tool expires, for a cap of $1.7 million.

Safarik said the city will consider a redevelopment agreement to offset project-development fees of up to $3.1 million, subject to final construction values and dollars expended by the developer.

“The city recently adopted an updated Downtown Strategic Plan, Downtown 2032, which promotes infill projects such as the one proposed, adding residents and supporting downtown’s existing retail, hospitality, employment, restaurants, brew pubs, entertainment, makerspace and new innovation library space,” Safarik wrote, adding that “if you have not yet seen what is coming with the new library innovation center, check it out. It’s not your parent’s library!”

That facility will open in mid-May, she said, and “we are beyond excited!”

Safarik said the new Milhaus development “will complement other new residential in the area, such as the Maddie Apartments and 55+ Resort Apartments, and add housing units to an existing area of the community where the city’s infrastructure is already in place to support important redevelopment objectives. We love to have a community with many housing and lifestyle choices; Milhaus is a welcome addition.”

The tax-increment financing “is a fantastic tool to fill the gaps on projects like these,” Fisher said. Noting that the Gallery Furniture building was vacant and decaying since the business closed in 2018, she said “the desire was there” for redevelopment but that “our development cycle has been slowed down, which is why TIF was so crucial.

“We entered a global pandemic, and Milhaus struggled to secure equity, which is why it scaled back,” Fisher said. “The markets are tumultuous and margins are razor thin. It’s certainly been a slow process, but we’ve made incredible strides. Infill is incredibly costly, but we’re absolutely thrilled about this, especially its proximity to the downtown core.”

Added Safarik, “This is a complete complement to efforts downtown, and the 2032 downtown strategic update fits beautifully into that.”

This project is just the latest redevelopment effort along the Eighth Avenue corridor. The area has seen the development of the 220-unit Apartments at Maddie at 1540 Eighth Ave. The former Garnsey & Wheeler dealership at 1100 Eighth Ave. was redeveloped into the 85-unit senior-living community 55+ Resort. Natural Grocers took over the vacant space at 1320 Eighth Ave. And the former Good Samaritan Society’s Bonell Community is being redeveloped into the 295-unit Cityline Station apartment complex at 704 22nd St.

BizWest staffer Tommy Wood contributed to this report.

Source: BizWest

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