Brothers Redevelopment is moving forward with plans to purchase an empty lot at 7900 East Colfax Avenue — a former bar across from a strip club with the infamous “Nude Dancing” sign — from the city. The nonprofit builder will create a first-of-its-kind affordable-housing complex for people with brain injuries.
For the city, it’s an example of land-acquisition strategy it hopes to ramp up in the coming years to promote the construction of affordable housing at the lowest income levels. For Brothers Redevelopment, it’s a chance to implement an innovative model to provide permanent supportive housing for a vulnerable population.
The city bought the lot back in 2017 for $650,000, intending to use it for affordable housing because of its proximity to public transit and location in a marginalized area. The Housing Division of the Department of Economic Development and Opportunity (which has now been folded into the new Department of Housing Stability) selected Brothers Redevelopment through a competitive RFP process in June. Denver City Council’s committee on finance and governance reviewed the proposal to purchase the property on December 10, passing it on to the full council.
The city’s investments in affordable housing have historically focused on the higher end of the income spectrum in need. This complex will provide 72 units of housing for individuals and families below 30 percent of the Area Median Income — for a single person, that’s an annual income under $19,500.
Jeff Martinez, president of Brothers Redevelopment, says there isn’t another permanent supportive housing project specifically for people with brain injuries in the U.S. Brothers Redevelopment, a longstanding nonprofit that currently manages fourteen affordable-housing communities throughout the metro area, had been wanting to try permanent supportive housing for a while, a model in which a complex is staffed with direct service providers who help fulfill the needs of a specific population.