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Sleeping Ute Apartments in Cortez to be sold and upgraded

Sleeping Ute Apartments in south Cortez is being sold and renovated. The housing complex will retain its affordable housing status for low-income residents. (Jim Mimiaga/The Journal)
Complex will remain low-income housing

Sleeping Ute Apartments, a low-income housing complex in Cortez, is slated for purchase and a $2.1 million renovation.

Texas-based Fishpond Development plans to purchase the 60-unit, nine-building complex for $3.5 million and upgrade units starting in October, according to company official Dave Fournier.

The apartments at 516 S. Madison St. will remain low-income, and residents will remain.

Each apartment will receive $25,000 in upgrades, which will include new LED lighting, new high-efficiency heat and hot water systems, water-saving fixtures and durable counter tops. The interiors and exteriors of the nine apartment buildings and common areas also will be renovated, and landscaping will be added.

“It will be a much nicer property for the residents. The upgrades will require less maintenance for us and them,” Fournier said during a presentation to the commissioners. “The project will enhance the neighborhood, create construction jobs and be an advantage for the city.”

Construction is expected to start in October and take six to nine months.

The improvements will be done at no cost to residents, Fournier said, and rents will not be raised. The apartments will remain as Section 8 low-income housing under the Montezuma Housing Authority.

Apartments will be renovated in phases, and each apartment will take less than a week to upgrade.

During construction, residents will be relocated to temporary housing, and their belongings put in a storage facility. There will be no costs for storage or temporary housing for residents.

Sleeping Ute Apartments provide low-income housing for qualified tenants who pay 30% of their income for rent.

As part of the transaction, Montezuma County has agreed to be a conduit for $3.5 million in tax-free bonds that will be used as part of Fish Pond’s purchase the property and renovation project.

The county is not liable for the bonds, assumes no risk and has no costs, Fournier said. He said the transaction indemnifies the county against liability, and the bonds do not show up on county financial statements.

The tax-exempt financial bonding is a pass-through arrangement with the county and Colorado Department of Local Affairs, which triggers federal tax credits for buyers of low income housing facilities. The process is made possible through the County and Municipal Revenue Bond Act.

Fish Pond Development operates affordable housing complexes in rural communities Texas and is expanding into Colorado with its first acquisition of the apartment complex in Cortez, Fournier said.

The Sleeping Ute Apartments includes nine buildings and was built in 1980. The complex was last renovated in 2005.

The project is in partnership with DOLA and Montezuma Housing Authority.