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KEPHART provided land planning, architectural design, graphic illustration, and construction administration for CSU’s Rendezvous Trail Apartments for our partners at Tetrad Real Estate. This article by Kelly Lyell was initially published in the Coloradoan. Click here to read the full article.

Sophie Hughes is a college graduate, just getting started in what she hopes will be a long and satisfying career in early childhood education.

She doesn’t really want to live with roommates or in the basement of someone else’s home, where her kitchen consists of a hot plate and microwave oven. And, as a classroom teacher at Colorado State University’s Early Childhood Center, she doesn’t earn enough money to qualify, let alone actually afford, to rent a place of her own in Fort Collins.

“I just don’t meet the income requirements for most places here, and the ones I do are not very appealing places to live,” she said. “The rest are completely out of my budget. I’d be paying 60, 70 to 80% of the money I’m making monthly just for housing, which is not sustainable.”

So, Hughes felt like she had won the lottery when she learned her application had been approved for one of CSU’s 57 below-market-rate units at the new Rendezvous Trail Apartments.

The first of eight buildings in the 180-unit apartment complex — built through a partnership between CSU, Timberline Church and Tetrad Real Estate — is opening in January off Timberline Road just south of the church. Hughes will move into her one-bedroom apartment in mid-February, she said.

Additional buildings in the complex will open in phases over the next several months, CSU officials said.

CSU and Timberline Church entered into the project in an effort to address Fort Collins’ growing need for affordable housing.

CSU had originally hoped to include a substantial amount of affordable housing at the site of the former Hughes Stadium, but a citizen-led ballot initiative approved by voters in April 2021 blocked that plan and forced the city of Fort Collins to rezone the 164-acre tract as “public open lands” and attempt to acquire the property from CSU for uses such as “parks, recreation, and open lands, natural areas, and wildlife rescue and restoration,” according to an informational page on the city’s website. City Council rezoned the property in May 2021 and purchased it for $12.5 million on June 30, 2023.

“We were hoping to utilize the Hughes site to address some of our affordability challenges with housing,” Anderson said, “and, as that looked less likely, we then started to look for alternatives and started having discussions with the church, and it really became apparent that we all wanted to try to solve the problem.”

Knowing increasing housing costs were a growing concern among its employees, CSU began searching for other options. Its five-acre piece of land fronting Timberline Road just south of the church wouldn’t accommodate a large-scale apartment project. But an adjacent 10-acre plot owned by the church just might. So, CSU and the church agreed to swap properties, and CSU immediately sold the larger piece of land to Tetrad so it could build the apartments there, said Brett Anderson, a special assistant to the CSU president and chancellor who shepherded through the zoning, permitting and development-approval process.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held Sept. 28, 2022, and residents will be able to move into the first completed units Jan 8, 2024.

“Once we got the approval, they’ve moved quickly, because we wanted to try to make this available to our employees as soon as we could,” Anderson said during a tour of the apartment complex last week.

About 100 CSU employees have started the online process to apply for one of the 57 rent-controlled units available to them at Rendezvous Trail, Anderson said. He expects more to apply as people begin moving in and additional units become available over the next six months.
The units CSU controls will go to qualifying employees earning 60%, 80% or 100% of the average median income for Larimer County, based on U.S. Housing and Urban Development guidelines. Three one-bedroom and three two-bedroom units are being made available to Hughes and others earning below 60% of the AMI, based on their family size. Sixteen one-bedroom, 23 two-bedroom and six three-bedroom units will be available to CSU employees earning below 80% of the AMI. Those earning 100% or less of the AMI will have access to three one-bedroom and three two-bedroom apartments.

Click here to continue reading the full article.

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This is the philosophy that drives KEPHART to create thoughtful homes and communities that positively change people’s lives.

KEPHART is a nationally recognized, award-winning architectural design and planning firm with 50 years of housing expertise. Our passion for designing well-designed places to live, work, and play has driven us to create more than 500,000 homes across the country, ranging from single and multifamily homes to workforce housing, senior living, LIHTC communities, and everything in between. We have a deep bench of talented staff to design and deliver innovative and practical solutions to meet the unique requirements of every project.