Two million dollars in federal funding secured by U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette is finally heading to its final destination after the Denver City Council on Tuesday approved using that money to help buy a hotel that will be converted into supportive housing for the homeless.
Patience has been key in the acquisition of the former Stay Inn hotel located at 12033 E. 38th Ave. in Denver’s Central Park neighborhood.
DeGette and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock first announced the congresswoman’s efforts to secure federal money to contribute to a deal for the hotel in May 2021. At that time, Denver’s housing officials projected the property could be operating as a homeless shelter for up to 200 people by the end of that year.
Despite Congress finally approving DeGette’s funding request in March 2022, talks about the hotel continued. IH Holdings, the entity that owns the property, remained in contact with the city but the hotel was still on the market and available to other buyers as of August, IH co-founder Hugo Weinberger said.
Finally, in December city officials brought forth a $9 million purchase agreement for the property and two adjacent pieces of land located at 3835 and 3805 Peoria St. The City Council approved that agreement on Tuesday night. It passed unanimously as part of the council’s consent agenda signaling broad support.
IH Holdings bought the property for $3.8 million in 2019 according to city records. City officials originally projected the purchase price would be $7.8 million in May 2021.
The four-story building has 96 bedrooms, 95 of which will be converted into supportive housing for people experiencing homelessness and one will be set aside for an on-site property manager, according to a city news release.
In a slide presentation delivered to a council committee last month, staff highlighted that supportive services would include nursing care, case management, peer support and therapy among other things.
“The solution to homelessness is housing, and we will continue to pull on every lever available to create more homes for our unhoused residents,” Hancock said in a statement Tuesday. “We’re proud to transform yet another hotel into new, supportive homes for those who are in need of it most.”
The city housing department’s five-year strategic plan includes hotel conversions as a key pillar of efforts to create 900 supportive housing units, officials said.
Last month, the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless announced it had purchased a 215-room hotel near the Interstate 25-Interstate 70 interchange to use as transitional and supportive housing. The city contributed more than $10 million to that $24 million deal.
Denver relied not on funding secured by DeGette to buy the Stay Inn, but also on federal COVID-19 relief money.
DeGette lauded the value of collaboration across levels of government when it came to finally bringing the deal to a close.
“Getting this project complete is a big deal for our community,” she said in a statement Tuesday. “By converting this now-abandoned hotel into housing for those experiencing homelessness, we are going to be able to help hundreds of people who would otherwise have nowhere else to turn.”
The property is expected to be open to its first residents by the end of 2023, city officials said.