Dorm buildings at the former Johnson & Wales University campus in Denver will be converted into affordable housing.
Dorm buildings at the former Johnson & Wales University campus in Denver will be converted into affordable housing.

Archway Communities is converting four dormitory buildings at the former Johnson & Wales University campus in Denver into 154 affordable apartment homes.

The nonprofit purchased the dorms for $13 million from the Urban Land Conservancy (ULC), which acquired the campus in 2021 in partnership with Denver Public Schools and the Denver Housing Authority.

Archway will adapt the buildings into studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments for individuals and families earning between 30% and 60% of the area median income. Situated on the historic campus that was once home to Colorado Women's College, the new Mosaic Community Campus currently includes a central quad, community kitchens operated by the Kitchen Network, St. Elizabeth’s School, and a host of other amenities.

"We have found a great partner in Archway Communities to preserve these beautiful buildings for a community beneficial use and provide much-needed affordable housing," said Aaron Martinez, ULC vice president of operations and sustainability.

Archway closed on two of the buildings at the end of 2021 and closed on the second two buildings and its construction financing in December 2022. Our financing stack for the acquisition and adaptive reuse includes $34 million of historic and low-income housing tax credit equity from Hudson Housing Capital and Chase Community Capital, a $16 million permanent loan from Boston Capital and Western Alliance Bank, $7.5 million from the Colorado Division of Housing, and $3.9 million from the city of Denver. The land that the dorms are located on will be held in a renewable 99-year ground lease by ULC to ensure its use for community benefit in perpetuity.

Archway expects to begin delivering units for occupancy in early 2024. “We are extremely proud of our team’s effort to close financing and get construction started here,” said Julie Stern, Archway’s director of real estate. “Our partners at the Denver Housing Authority, Shopworks, Taylor Kohrs, SB Clark, Boston Capital, and Hudson Capital, were key to our ability to make this happen and ultimately to begin delivering much-needed affordable housing to the Park Hill Neighborhood.”

In a separate move, Archway also recently closed on the purchase of Montview Manor, an 88-unit property for seniors in Denver. The sales price was not disclosed.

Archway purchased the building from the Montview Building Corp., an affiliate of theMontview Presbyterian Church.

“This is a naturally occurring affordable housing community that did not have formal long-term rent restrictions,” said Archway CEO Sebastian Corradino. “In other words, it could have easily been converted to a market-rate apartment project. We are proud to have partnered with the Montview Building Corp. to ensure that this property will remain affordable to low- and moderate-income seniors for many years to come.”

Financing for the Montview Manor transaction involved a first mortgage through Impact Development, secondary financing from a Colorado Housing & Finance Authority program designed to support preservation projects, acquisition financing from the Colorado Division of Housing, and grant and loan funds through the Denver Department of Housing Stability.