The City of Denver has concluded “it is possible” that Forest City can meet its obligation to provide a minimum of 10 percent “affordable” for-sale housing in Stapleton by the time buildout of market rate homes is completed. However, to achieve this contractual requirement in that timeframe, the city says, “would require new approaches and additional efforts that would differ from their [Forest City’s] current practices.”
These conclusions are contained in an August 15 email from Councilwoman Robin Kniech in response to an inquiry from the Front Porch. Kniech’s email said she anticipates a “final [staff] memo describing this conclusion and affirming the City’s commitment to proposing ideas and solutions that could help Forest City to achieve the goal.” The memo would be used in an upcoming briefing to the mayor.
Councilwoman Kniech, in November 2016, told the Front Porch she believes the city’s development agreement with Forest city is “absolutely enforceable” but declined to comment further at that time pending the city’s evaluation of legal alternatives and strategies.
The communications director in the mayor’s office, Amber Miller, informed the Front Porch by email on August 18 that a staff memorandum hasn’t yet been drafted. She said the administration is “continuing to work with Forest City to ensure compliance of the affordable for-sale home requirements in Stapleton. This is very important to us. We are optimistic that the requirements can be met, and we stand dedicated to advancing affordability throughout this community and all of Denver.”
The mayor’s current response is more optimistic than in February at the Stapleton United Neighbors meeting when he said: “We don’t have very much at our disposal except to penalize Forest City if they don’t meet the goals before the development ends.”
As of the end of July 2017, 5.8 percent of for-sale units in Stapleton were affordable (421 of a total of 7,185 units). Forest City projects build-out of for-sale units to reach “around 8,800.” With a current total of 7,185 for-sale units, Forest City is at 82 percent build-out.